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Liver Spots - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Definition

Liver spots are called as Lentigos in medical terms. These are also known as age spots. These are the yellowish-brown flat spots that look like large freckles and are thought to be caused by aging, too much sun, impaired liver function, and a dietary or nutritional deficiency. From the age of 40 onwards, the skin is less able to regenerate from sun exposure and liver spots are very common in this older age group. They have been known to proliferate in some individuals under emotional distress. Many people have a hereditary predisposition to them. While liver spots may develop at an early age, even in childhood, they are more common in older people, especially those who have spent too much time in the sun. They range from about 1/8 inch to one inch in diameter. They do not darken in response to sunlight. Liver Spots are not cancerous but, if need be, they can be treated for cosmetic reasons.

Causes

  1. Liver spots or age spots are a result from long-term exposure to sunlight. This is thought to be a liver disease but it is not actually.
  2. Age is also a cause in liver spots. Liver spots are extremely common after the age of 40. They occur mostly on hands, forearms, shoulder, face and forehead.
  3. Oxidation within the body and the lack of antioxidants also plays an important role in creating age spots on skin.
  4. Many people have a hereditary predisposition to develop liver spots. Free radicals are unstable atoms in the body that start a domino type effect leading to cause this disease.
  5. Liver spots are result of a ceroid pigment build up in the skin of older people. Hence these get lining on different part of body.

Symptoms

  1. Liver spots are extremely common after the age of 55. In fact these actually start after age of 40. But are more common after 55.
  2. These appear as skin lesion that is flat patch or macule. The area of skin color changes from usual color to light brown to black.
  3. They do not itch and are not painful.
  4. Occasionally, older people who have these lentigo-type freckles also have raised, brown, crusty lesions called seborrheic keratoses.

Treatment

  1. They are normal in everybody and does not cause any harm. So, no treatment is needed usually. The treatment is usually done for cosmetic reasons.
  2. Liver spots can be lightened with skin-bleaching products such as cream, lotion or ointments etc.
  3. Cryotherapy may be used to remove the liver spots. In this technique the skin is freeze by using liquid nitrogen and then removes the liver spots.
  4. Laser treatment may be recommended to destroy the liver spots. This is expensive and rare treatment and is not available everywhere.
  5. Although nothing can be done about the role heredity plays, excessive exposure to the sun should be avoided.
  6. A chemical solution is applied to peel away the blemished skin. The face and hands usually heal in one to two weeks.
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