|Did You Know?
Liver spots are unrelated to the liver in any way, they are only so named because they are dark in color, like the liver.
Liver spots are light brown, red or even black blemishes on the skin. There are different names associated with them like sun spots, age spots, lentigos, and senile lentigines. These colored patches on the face and other parts of the body are mostly harmless, and are quite common among fair-skinned people. They resemble small freckles or moles, and may grow to about an inch in size. The number of spots can also increase with age. Though these spots do not pose any health risk, you should consult a doctor if the spots change their shape, color or size. Liver spots can also be removed with the help of various treatments, and there are several home remedies that go a long way in lightening their color. Let's take a look at some of the causes of liver spots.
- Hyperpigmentation: The brown color of the spots may be due to hyperpigmentation of melanin, which is responsible for skin color. There is an increase in the production of melanin by the skin in an effort to protect itself from exposure to the sun, especially in people who spend a lot of time outdoors. It is also the reason why these spots often appear on the limbs, shoulders or face.
- Age: Facial liver spots are mostly common among the elderly. Human skin cell growth slows after the age of 40 and, as a result, these blemishes become more pronounced. Liver spots can also appear on a young individual, though they may fade over time, as the skin regenerates itself.
- Skin cancer: In some cases, liver spots can hide the progression of a life-threatening skin cancer called melanoma, and it is advisable to consult your doctor if there are any sudden changes in the size, shape and color of the spots.
These spots gradually fade away and, in most cases, do not require any treatment. There are, however, a variety of ways to treat them, or try to prevent their occurrence.
- Bleaches: A variety of skin bleaches are available in the market, which can be used to lighten these spots and give the skin a healthier color. Superfade is one such skin-lightening product, that claims to reduce age spots. It has a mix of bleaching chemicals such as hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide, which work to lighten the spots. It is not recommended for blemishes which are darker, as they may need a stronger solution.
- Cryotheraphy: This procedure involves freezing the spots with liquid nitrogen at the cellular level and has proven to be effective. It is also popular due to the low incidence of reported side-effects.
- Sunscreen: Limit your exposure to harmful UV rays of the sun by covering yourself when going outdoors. Sunscreen helps in protecting the skin from radiation, and some lotions with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 and above can also help to avoid reappearance of the spots.
- Laser treatment: Lasers are the new mantra in cosmetic surgery and can also be used for removal of ugly liver spots from any part of the body. These lasers work by destroying melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin, the cause of pigmentation and formation of liver spots. The treatment is conducted over several sessions and the spots will lighten over the next few months.
There are several home remedies which one can try, and which have been effective in reducing the incidence of liver spots, or if already present, then lighten their intensity.
- Natural aloe vera is highly recommended as a treatment for facial liver spots. Rubbing fresh aloe vera gel, two times a day, for one month, on the spots can do the trick.
- Mix equal quantities of olive oil and vinegar, and apply it everyday on the affected areas.
- Massaging the spots with apple cider vinegar helps in lightening them considerably.
- A mixture of half a tablespoon of vinegar, half a tablespoon of lemon juice and few drops of rosemary oil is also known to be very effective.
- Rub the fleshy side of a piece of cold green papaya on the spots for 15-20 minutes, then wash your face. Do this for a few weeks and notice the difference.
- A castor oil massage everyday, for about two weeks, is also beneficial in removing liver spots.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.