Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.
What are Liver Spots?
Contrary to what the name these have nothing to do with your liver but more to do with senescence, which is the biological term for “process of aging”. The reason that these “age spots” were called liver spots in the past is because they were thought to be caused due to your liver malfunctioning and they are also dark in color like your liver. They are also known, in addition to being called liver spots or age spots, as solar lentigines or lentigos, which is the medical term for these spots. Most people will start to see liver spots starting at the age of forty.
They are superficial deposits of a pigment that is brownish in color and is called lipofuscin. This is a natural occurring pigment that appears both outside and inside your body. It is a result of your body’s wear and tear process and can be found all over your body, especially on the areas of your skin that are often exposed to the sun. They can measure up to one inch in diameter and looks similar to a large freckle. They occur in the top layer of your skin so they can be easily removed.
Liver Spots Causes
The brown or black blemishes, or liver spots, that appear on your skin are from your skin slowly losing its ability to regenerate. This can be caused by aging and ultraviolet radiation from the sun. There are some nutritionists that claim these liver spots can be due to potential selenium deficiency. This is a mineral that is naturally found in trace amounts in your body.
Other causes can include:
The liver spot’s brownish color could be due to hyperpigmentation of melanin. Melanin is responsible for the color of your skin. To protect your skin from exposure to the sun there is an increase of melanin production which can result in liver spots.
The reason that most people start to see liver spots at the start of their forties is the human skin cell growths starts to slow down, making the blemishes more pronounced. They can appear in younger people but over time they may fade as their skin regenerates itself.
There are some cases in which liver spots can hide the progression of melanoma, which is a life-threatening skin cancer so if you notice any sudden changes in the shape, color, or size of the liver spots you should consult your physician.
Most of the time having liver spots is not a sign of ill health and do not require any type of treatment. There have been a rare number of cases though when the spots do pose a health problem. One such instance is if the darkly colored blemishes camouflage keratosis, which is a precancerous skin condition. The reason that many people want to treat liver spots is because they consider them cosmetically unattractive and unsightly. The best treatment is to reduce the number of discolorations that may occur as you age is when you are young you should stay out of the sun, especially during the peak hours and wear sunscreen that has at least a fifteen SPF (Sun Protection Factor). You should also consume supplements and food that are abundant in antioxidants to help slow down the process of cell damage. If it is found that you have a selenium deficiency and this is the cause of liver spots you can take a supplement.
Other treatments that can be used can include:
There are a variety of bleaches for the skin on the market today that you can use to lighten the liver spots and give your skin a healthier glow. Even though they are called bleaching products they do not contain bleach but contain a mixture of bleaching chemicals like hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone. It is not recommended that you use bleaches on darker blemishes but use a stronger solution instead.
In this procedure the liver spots are frozen with liquid nitrogen at the cellular level. It is a popular form of treatment because of the low incidence of side effects that have been reported and it has also been proven to be an effective treatment.
This procedure can be used to remove liver spots from any part of your body. They work by destroying the cells that produce melanin, called melanocytes. It is a treatment that will need to be done over several sessions and will cause the spots to lighten over the next several months.
In this procedure the surface layer of your skin is sanded down with a rapidly rotating brush to remove the skin surface so a new layer of skin can grown in its place.
In this procedure an acid is apply to the liver spots, which burns the outer layer of your skin. As your skin peels new skin will form to take the place of the older skin. It can take several treatments before you see any results.
There are also several home remedies that you can try before having expensive treatments done.
- Use a mixture of equal amounts of vinegar and olive oil and apply it every day on the affected areas
- Massage the spots with apple cider vinegar to help lighten the spots
- Rub fresh natural aloe vera gel two times a day for thirty days on the spots
- Use a castor oil massage for fourteen days to help remove the spots
Liver spots on face
One of the main causes of having liver spots on your face is due to hyperpigmentation of melanin. To protect your face you should apply sunscreen and wear a broad-brimmed hat to protect your face from the sun. Liver spots on your face can occur anywhere but most often will occur on your forehead or wherever you have been exposed to the sun.
Liver spots on skin
Many times more people with skin that is fair or light-colored will see the development of liver spots. When going outside you should wear clothing that covers your skin, especially what is going to be exposed to the sun. You should also wear sunscreen with the right SPF.
Liver spots on hands
To help protect your hands from developing liver spots wear cotton gloves when you go out in the sun during the day. You can also apply papaya pulp to your hands every day, leave it on for fifteen minutes before you wash it off with cool water. Most liver spots will appear on the back of your hands and can range in color from light brown to black.
Liver Spots Pictures
Pictures collection of Liver spots on hands, face and skin…