Liver spots are also known as solar lentigo or old age spots. These spots are blemishes that occur due to old age and exposure to the sun. The liver spots may be light brown, pink, red or dark brown and are mostly present on the areas that are most exposed to sun: face, arms or shoulders.
Development of Liver Spots
Liver spots are blemishes, and they develop due to an excessive production of melanin. The skin gets more pigmented in certain areas, due to sun exposure. The liver spots are of the size of freckles and will develop on the face, neck, shoulders, arms, cleavage or other areas that are more exposed to ultraviolet rays. The shape of the liver spots may be oval, but these blemishes may be irregularly shaped also; the edges of the liver spots are typically sharp. People with fair skin are more prone to developing liver spots.
Even if sun exposure is known to be the triggering agent of liver spots, it may happen that the liver spots develop due to unknown causes. The liver spots are more commonly seen after the age of 40, as the skin will not regenerate as quickly as before, and the sun may cause skin damage and liver spots. Some people only start developing liver spots after the age of 55. The liver spots will multiply with the aging process.
The liver spots are not caused by liver dysfunctions, but they are called this because the coloration is similar to the color of the liver. Also, liver spots were thought to be caused by liver disease, but research has shown that liver disease has nothing to do with the liver spots.
Diagnosing Liver Spots
Liver spots may be detected judging by their appearance. A dermatologist may diagnose liver spots.
In rare cases, cancerous spots may look like liver spots and these may be difficult to detect. However, an experienced dermatologist will be able to distinguish between the liver spots and the spots that are cancerous. However, cancerous spots that look like liver spots will develop and may become raised in time. Liver spots will not develop.
Liver Spot Treatment
Liver spots are not a health problem and don’t necessarily require treatment. However, the liver spots may be considered unaesthetic and you may want to remove them.
Liver spots may be removed through electrosurgery, laser therapy, bleaching agents, chemical peels or cryotherapy.
Preventing Liver Spots
Liver spots may be prevented through avoiding sun exposure, wearing large brimmed hats and sun block with a high protection factor (at least SPF 15). With aging, you may increase the SPF of the sun block you use, as the skin will be more sensitive and requires more protection.