What are Liver Spots? Symptoms and Treatment
What are Liver Spots?
Liver spots are also known as age spots. They are small, flat dark areas on the skin that vary in size and usually appear on areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, shoulders, and arms. These are also called sunspots and solar lentigines. They are very common in adults older than 50, but younger people can get them if they spend time in the sun.
What Causes Liver Spots?
These typically happen due to excess production of melanin or skin pigment. There is no specific cause for why they occur, but some people get them due to genetic factors. In other words, you may have a higher chance of age spots if they run in your family.
Other possible causes include skin aging, ultraviolet light, and sun exposure. You are most likely to develop age spots on areas of your skin that receive the most sun, such as the face, upper back, forearms, back of your hands, and shoulders.
Symptoms of Liver Spots
- Age spots range from light brown to black. They may darken after time in the sun.
- They typically appear in sun-exposed areas.
- They have the same texture as the rest of your skin. They are flat to the touch and do not cause any pain.
- They can vary from the size of a very small freckle to an inch in diameter.
- They may appear on their own or in a group, which can make them more noticeable, and are typically round or oval, with very defined edges.
See a doctor if the spots grow to bulge or increase in size. Have your doctor look at black spots or changes in appearance, such as an unusual combination of colors. These changes can be signs of melanoma, a serious skin cancer.
How are Liver Spots Diagnosed?
- Visual inspection. Your doctor can usually diagnose age spots by looking at your skin. It’s important to distinguish age spots from other skin disorders because the treatments differ, and using the wrong procedure may delay other needed therapy.
- Skin biopsy. Your doctor might remove a small skin sample for examination in a lab to distinguish an age spot from other conditions such as skin cancer. A skin biopsy is usually done using a local anesthetic in a doctor’s office.
At what Age Do You Start Getting Liver Spots?
Age spots are very common in adults older than 50, but younger people can get them if they spend time in the sun. However, this does not occur to everyone. The risk factor of developing age spots is more likely if you have light skin and a history of frequent or intense sun exposure or sunburn.
How to Prevent Age Spots?
- Avoid the sun between 10 am and 2 pm because the sun’s rays are the most intense. Schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day.
- Use sunscreen for fifteen to 30 minutes before going outdoors. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30.
- Cover up for protection from the sun. Wear tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs and a broad-brimmed hat, which provides more protection than a baseball cap or golf visor.
- Many nonprescription fade creams and lotions for lightening age spots are available for sale. These may improve the appearance of age spots, depending on how dark the spots are and how often you apply the cream. You might need to use such a product regularly for several weeks or months before you notice results.
Treatment for Liver Spots
Bleaching creams and other topical treatments are first-line products to reduce spots. Laser lights are also used to destroy the skin that produces melanin. However, before using any products, ensure to consult your doctor first.
You can also use Skin Lite Cream. It contains hydroquinone, Tretinoin, and Mometasone Furoate. It is a topical preparation used to treat skin problems and can whiten skin. It works by reducing dark spots, freckles, and other skin discoloration.