Also known as age spots, liver spots are flat, brown, black or gray spots, typically found on the hands, face, neck and other areas of the skin that are significantly exposed to the sun. Liver spots are often seen in older people. This explains why liver spots are also called age spots.
While liver spots mostly occur in people with fair complexions, people with dark skin tones may have it too.
Liver spots have nothing to with your liver, however. Where they occur is the biggest hint you can get regarding why people have liver spots. These spots usually occur in areas that have been exposed to the ultraviolent rays of the sun over the years. The most exposed areas of your body are often your face and hands. However, there’s a high chance they may occur in other places of the body, especially if people use tanning beds frequently.
Age spots are produced by a pigment called melanin. Melanin production accelerates when exposed to UV light, which is why we get a tan when we are spending time outdoors in the sun. However, as you age, increased sun exposure causes age spots to occur in areas where melanin production is most concentrated in the skin. Some researchers also state that aging is also a common factor linked to increased melanin production, apart from sun exposure.
In addition, liver spots are harmless but there may be a risk of melanoma in some people. Melanoma is the most detrimental type of skin cancer so be sure to see a dermatologist if any spots that are irregular, raised, tender or large begin appearing on your skin.
Is there a treatment for age spots?
If you don’t have any age spots on your body yet, start limiting sun exposure now. Prevention is always better than cure and increased sun exposure is linked to skin cancer anyway, so why take the risk?
Although there are many treatments for age spots, most of them are expensive as they’re mostly cosmetic treatments that aren’t quite medically important. One method is laser therapy, which usually includes several sessions to see some results. Dermabrasion is another method which removes the topmost layer of the skin. Chemicals peels are another technique recommended by dermatologists.
Chinese medicine states that your body may have an internal connection with age spots which may help fade them away. Melanin is a pigment that is produced by melanocytes. These melanocytes are triggered by hormones so holistic research suggests that liver spots may have a link with a hormonal imbalance in your body, which is likely to be related to your kidneys.
Therefore, to restore your hormonal balance, experts suggest consuming foods such as black beans, sesame seeds, collards and leafy greens and other whole foods.