Liver spots also known as senile lentigines, are harmless patches of increased pigmentation that range from freckle-size to a few inches across.
Liver spots are extremely common after the age of 55 and occur most commonly on the backs of hands or the forehead. Although frequently associated with overexposure to sun, they also occur from unknown causes.
Alternative Names Of Liver Spots
Some of the alternative names for these maturity spots are sun-induced skin changes, senile lentigines; lentigos; brown spots, and skin spots-aging. Brown spots are extremely common after 55 years old. They occur most often on the backs of the hands, on the forearms, shoulder, face, and forehead. These are the areas of highest sun exposure. They are harmless and painless but may affect the cosmetic appearance.
Causes Of Liver Spots
The spots are brought out by exposure to the sun. The color is due to pigments within the epidermis (top skin layer) cells.
Many people have a hereditary predisposition to develop liver spots. Free radicals are unstable atoms in the body that start a domino type effect leading to damage of cellular components such as DNA. Over time this can lead to many conditions attributable to cellular damage such as skin conditions including liver spots.
Is it dangerous?
They are harmless, but large liver spots may be difficult to tell from skin cancer by lay persons. Any liver spots that develops black spots, bleeds, itches on a regular basis becomes inflamed or irritated needs to be evaluated by a dermatologist. Liver spots 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.
Treatment Of Liver Spots
You can use a cream containing an ingredient called hydroquinone, which works by penetrating the skin tissue to “dissolve” the melanin. Within six to eight weeks, your skin should be back to normal However, you must ensure you use a safe level of hydroquinone – the recommended amount in a cream is a mere two per cent. Using a sunscreen on your hands on a daily basis can prevent these patches from appearing again.
- Gotu kola Try using the ancient Chinese herb gotu kola. Mix 1/8 teaspoon of powdered herb into a cup of herbal tea or add it to plain hot water along with 1/8 teaspoon of ginseng and a pinch of cayenne. This remedy should clear the spots in a few days.
- Buttermilk Dab buttermilk on the spots. The lactic acid and other ingredients in the milk are beneficial to the skin. Buttermilk has been used for generations as a skin cleanser and as a beauty aid.
- Lemon juice Dab some fresh lemon juice on the spots twice daily. If you are going outdoors, wait for the juice to dry as it increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. It may take a few months, but the acidity in the juice will cause the spots to fade away.
- Onion Grate an onion and squeeze it through cheesecloth so that you have 1 teaspoonful of juice. Mix with 2 teaspoonsful of vinegar and rub into the spots. Do this two times a day until the spots disappear.
- Vitamin C An antioxidant, vitamin C helps tissue repair.
- Vitamin E Take 1 vitamin E capsule (400 I.U.) daily; at night puncture another capsule and rub the oil on the spots and leave it on overnight. You may use castor oil at night instead. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that slows aging and aids in tissue repair.
- Zinc Another mineral supplement to take is zinc. Take 15 mg a day for one to two months. Don’t take more than 15 mg without a doctor’s supervision, as it may hinder the body’s absorption of other minerals, especially copper.