Liver spots, commonly called age spots and sun spots, are generally found on skin that has had a lot of sun exposure, such as the face, hands upper back and neck. Unlike freckles that fade during the winter, liver spots do not fade over time, making many people turn to various products and treatments to remove them. One common product used to remove liver spots is glycolic acid.

What Are Liver Spots?

Liver spots are flat collections of pigment underneath the top layer of skin or epidermis. While liver spots as a whole are not dangerous, having liver spots does put you at a higher risk of developing cancer, and you should seek an evaluation with your physician if your liver spots are changing in any way or getting bigger.

Liver Spot Removal Basics

While the best way to avoid liver spots is to prevent them by protecting your skin from the sun, there are many ways to get rid of them, some more effective than others. Treatment options vary, but some of the most popular treatments include bleaching creams, chemical peels and laser resurfacing.

Glycolic Acid Peels

Glycolic acid can be used in a superficial chemical peel to remove the outer layer of skin to help improve the discoloration caused by liver spots. While this type of superficial chemical peel does not create as dramatic results as those chemical peels that remove more than just the outer layer of skin, it also does not carry with it the higher risk of complications and longer recovery time that those peels do.

A glycolic acid peel can be completed in under an hour and will have little effect on the overall feel of your skin, though it will slightly lighten the liver spots. Because this peel only removes the top layer of skin, to achieve the best results, a course of several treatments performed over several months would be necessary to reach the desired look. This is a popular way to remove liver spots and is quite a bit less expensive than some other commonly used methods like microdermabrasion.

The results of a glycolic acid peel can last for several months to even years if you continue to protect your skin after your treatments. A glycolic acid peel carries little risk of infection, scarring, redness or discoloration to you skin.

Glycolic Acid Creams

There are many products on the market today that contain glycolic acid, along with a long list of other lightening agents that all claim to remove liver spots quickly. Many of these creams can create the desired effect when used over a long period of time and do not cost as much as a series of chemical peels. There are many different creams to choose from ranging in price from $50 to $100 a bottle. 

While glycolic acid in creams or facial peels is not the quickest way to remove liver spots, it is less expensive than many of the alternatives and carries little risk of adverse effects. Research different creams, cosmetic surgeons or estheticians in your area that sell these products or offer these services to find out if glycolic acid products are right to treat your liver spots.