An old-fashioned term
Liver spot is an old-fashioned synonym for age spot. At one time, people mistakenly thought liver spots—flat brown or grayish spots on the skin—were somehow associated with a “bad” liver.
The medical term for these spots is solar lentigenes. And that term reveals their true cause: overexposure to the sun.
How Liver Spots Form
One of the side effects of sun damage is the creation of extra pigment (melanin) in the skin. The body makes the melanin to protect it from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Over time-and repeated exposure to the sun-enough pigment is formed to create the liver spots.Liver spots become more common as we grow older, typically showing up after age 40. They tend to develop on areas of the body that have received the most sun exposure, typically the back of the hands and forearms, the face, and the shoulders.
Are Liver Spots Dangerous?
No. These spots may be unsightly, but they are painless and pose no health risk. Still, your physician may want to biopsy ones that are shaped irregularly to make sure they’re not cancerous.
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What is the Best Treatment?
Bleaching creams are not a good solution for liver spots, as they tend to bleach not just the spot itself, but the surrounding area of skin. That can leave you with the odd appearance of a “ring” around a lightened liver spot. Some people also have skin reactions to bleaching creams, which can cause blisters.
Microdermabrasion treatments and chemical peels can help reduce the appearance of liver spots, but the most effective treatment for these unwanted marks on the skin is laser therapy. With lasers, you can get rid of the liver spots permanently-as long as you then protect yourself from the sun.Consult a Physician Any changes in the skin or coloration of spots should be looked at by a dermatologist as it may be a sign of skin cancer.
Consult a Physician
Any changes in the skin or coloration of spots should be looked at by a dermatologist as it may be a sign of skin cancer.