Orlando Lentigo (liver spots)

This patient information and photograph on Lentigo (Liver Spots) is provided by John L. Meisenheimer, M.D. a board certified Dermatologist and skin care specialist based in Orlando, Florida. This information is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice or treatment of a dermatologist or other physician.


What is it?

A lentigo or solar lentigo is one of the most common growths that occur on the skin. In general terms these are often referred to as liver spots or age spots. Lentigo are most frequently seen in adults over thirty, and they occur most commonly on sun exposed skin, face, back of hands, arms, chest and lower legs. They are typically tan or brown in color, and are generally flat.

What causes it?

Lentigo are caused by chronic sun exposure. Heredity does seem to play a role as fair skinned individuals may develop them more easily. Although age is sometimes blamed for lentigo, older individuals have more cumulative sun exposure therefore are more likely to have lentigo.

Is it dangerous?

LentigoThey are harmless, but large lentigo may be difficult to tell from skin cancer by lay persons. Any lentigo that develops black spots, bleeds, itches on a regular basis becomes inflamed or irritated needs to be evaluated by a dermatologist. Lentigo are not related to skin cancer. Although treatment of lentigo are one of the most requested cosmetic procedures that I do removal is not medically necessary. 

Can it be cured?

Lentigo are easily removed, but insurance considers this cosmetic. New lentigo can form after removal, but frequent use of sunscreens may help prevent formation see sunscreen recommendations. I have several techniques that I use to remove these growths. I try to choose a technique that gives the best cosmetic result for each growth depending on its size and location. For information on non-ablative laser treatments of the hands please click here.

Will it spread?

New ones usually continue to appear throughout life.

Is it contagious?

Lentigo are not contagious and you can not “catch” them from anyone.

© John “Lucky” Meisenheimer, M.D.  2019                                   WWW.OrlandoSkinDoc.com