Check Up: How to get rid of liver spots
Jean-Ann is a 56-year-old woman who writes Check Up from a St Catherine address. She is fair-skinned, and over recent years has noticed numerous brown spots developing on her arms and chest, which she really dislikes.
Her doctor told her that these were 'age spots' (or liver spots) and that she had "earned them" over a lifetime of sun exposure in a tropical country. He suggested she just accept them and move on with her life.
Jean-Ann is very dissatisfied with this recommendation, and writes Check Up asking for some suggestions on how to put these spots in her past.
Our skin will often show some consequence after many years of sun exposure, and possible skin changes will include these dark brown to greyish-black patches of pigment which occur mostly on the neck, chest, shoulders, hands, and face and are more common in lighter-skinned people.
These spots are not really caused by age, but rather by sun damage over the years to the exposed skin. They become more apparent after age 40 and can occur in young people who are exposed a lot to the sun rays, and usually treatment is unnecessary. However, the spots can be treated!
Doctors can prescribe prescription-strength retinol and hydroquinone creams which work more quickly than over-the-counter preparations. Other prescribed treatments for age spots include:
• chemical peels
• laser treatment
Age spots are not dangerous to the health but do affect how the skin looks, which is why some persons might wish to dispose of them.
To prevent them from forming, get used to covering up. Apply at least 30 SPF (sun protection factor) sunscreen to areas exposed to the sun several times daily to prevent ultraviolet skin injury.
In addition, wear clothing which covers the limbs like hats, long sleeved shirts, and pants. Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses.
Home treatment remedies which have had some success in the past include the following:
• Apple cider vinegar helps the skin to exfoliate. This can be mixed with a small amount of olive oil and applied to the skin at bed time.
• Buttermilk contains lactic acid, which diminishes age spots while making the skin healthier.
• Lemons are an effective method of lightening age spots and other dark spots on the skin. The citric acid helps to exfoliate the skin to reveal new skin layers below. Apply the lemon juice twice daily.
• Onions rub a slice of onion over the area and leave the fluid on for 10 minutes, three times daily.
• Aloe vera leaves can be cut and the gel rubbed over the age spots and left on the skin for 30 minutes, twice daily.
• Yogurt contains lactic acid, which has mild bleaching properties. Best used when mixed with ground oatmeal and lime juice.
• Tomatoes have bleaching properties, and pure tomato juice can be applied to the age spots and left on for 20 minutes before washing with cold water twice daily.
• Castor oil can be massaged into the affected areas for a few minutes until well absorbed twice daily.
• Potato juice is acidic and works well to remove age spots. This works best when mixed with lemon juice and honey. Leave for 20 minutes before washing off.