Although not a cause for concern – health wise – you may find having liver spots on hands unsightly. Luckily there are a number of ways to get rid of the spots. These are discussed in this article.
What Are Liver Spots on Hands?
Also known as age spots, solar lentigines, or sun spots, liver spots are small blemishes that people develop on their skin as they age. They generally start appearing after the age of 40 and are attributed to prolonged exposure to the sun. The condition tends to occur more commonly among white people.
Liver skin dots are usually darker than the rest of the skin and range in color from brown to black and sometimes gray. They are usually flat and oval in shape and tend to occur on the areas of the body that gets the most exposure to the sunlight including:
- Back of the hands
- Upper back
- Top part of the feet
What Causes Liver Spots on Hands?
The hands is one of the areas of the body that are most affected by blemishes on skin. This makes it not at all surprising to see a significant number of people asking the question, “What causes liver spots on hands?” in online forums relating to health and beauty.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the number one cause. The skin contains a pigment called melanin.
In addition to giving the skin its natural color, melanin also protects the skin from harmful effects of ultraviolet rays from the sun or any artificial source of UV including tanning beds. When the skin gets exposed to UV, the skin responds by increasing the production of melanin making the skin to tan (turn darker in color).
Continuous exposure to UV radiation over the course of many years may cause localized, permanent overproduction and clumping of melanin in certain areas of the skin leading to the brown, black, or gray blemishes that we know as liver spots.
The natural ageing process can also cause dark blotches even when exposure to UV radiation is not a contributing factor. This is attributed to the higher production of melanin and the decline in the ability of the skin to regenerate after exposure to sun’s ultraviolet radiation as from the age of 40 onwards.
These spots also have a hereditary aspect that puts some people at higher risk of developing the condition.
How to Get Rid of Liver Spots on Hands
Liver spots are typically painless and won’t really bother you. In fact treatment is not usually required. If they make you feel uncomfortable cosmetically speaking, however, there are numerous things you can do to get rid of them.
Here is a breakdown of some of the interventions most commonly used to get rid of liver dark spots on the hands; or any other part of the body for that matter:
Topical medications: According to Health Line topical medications are in most cases less effective than physical procedures even though they are relatively less likely to cause unwanted side-effects. Among the most commonly prescribed topical treatments are:
- Bleaching creams: These help to lighten the blemishes to a color that is more consistent with the surrounding skin
- Steroid creams
- Retinoid creams: also to lighten the brown spots and improve skin texture
Cryotherapy: This entails using liquid nitrogen to freeze the liver spots and thus destroy the melanin causing the problem. The procedure however carries the risk of scarring as Health Line points out
Dermabrasion: This resurfacing treatment involves using a special ablative tool (a rotating wire brush in most cases) to essentially sand off your skin and removes the top layers.
Laser therapy: High intensity laser light treatment can as well be used to target and destroy the cells responsible for production of melanin. Several sessions of laser treatment may however be necessary to achieve optimum results. On the downside however, laser treatment is not the cheapest of options.
Chemical peels: This involves applying an acidic substance to the dots to dissolve the outermost layers of the skin. This allows new healthy skin to grow. Several treatment sessions may be required.
How to Remove Liver Spots on Hands – Home Remedies
As for those of you asking how to remove liver spots on hands at home, here are several options that you may want to consider:
Lemon juice: Lemon juice is known for its bleaching properties and applying freshly squeezed lemon juice to the parts of the skin affected by liver spots 2 to 3 times daily is a superb way to remove those pesky spots on the hands – or any other part of the body.
- Apply freshly squeezed lemon juice to the affected areas of skin
- Leave it on for 30 minutes or so
- Finish by rinsing your skin with cold water
- Repeat the process two to three times every day for about 2 months for optimum results
If you have a sensitive skin, it is advisable to dilute the lemon juice with water first in the ratio of 1:1 before applying it to the skin.
Buttermilk: The lactic acid in buttermilk which has similar effects on brown age spots as lemon juice.
- Using a clean cotton swab, apply buttermilk on the parts of the skin affected by liver spots
- Leave it on for 10-15 minutes
- Rinse the buttermilk off with cold water
- Repeat 2 times daily over a few weeks to achieve positive results
If you have oily skin or have a breakout of acne, it is a good idea to mix buttermilk with lemon juice before applying it to your skin.
Aloe vera: Who said that aloe vera is just good for treatment of sunburn? This tropical succulent plant is as well beneficial to liver spots.
- Apply an over-the-counter aloe vera gel on them
- Allow it to stay on for 30 minutes
- Finish by rinsing it off with cold water
- Repeat the process twice daily for one month
Sandalwood: You may also want to use sandalwood to reduce the appearance of those blotches on your hands. It is especially useful when mixed with lemon juice and glycerin even though it can as well be used alone.
- Mix sandalwood powder with freshly squeezed lemon juice and glycerin. Stir well to make a smooth paste
- Apply the paste on the blemishes and allow it time to dry
- Wash it off with water after 30 minutes
Castor oil: Castor oil has also been shown to reduce the appearance of liver spot.
- Apply castor oil on the affected area of skin using a clean cotton ball
- Massage the area for 5 minutes or so.
- Repeat this process twice daily (in the morning and evening) for a period of one month.
Liver Spots on Hands When Young
The other day we received an email from one of our readers asking, “My 13 year old kid (boy) has developed black spots on his shoulders. They look like dark spots that my mom has on her hands. Is it possible to get liver spots at such a tender age or is it something else?”
Although brown age spots occur more commonly in older adults (40 years old onwards), anyone can get the spots at any age, regardless of his/her degree of exposure to UV from the sun. This is usually attributed to the hereditary tendencies of this dermal condition.
It is still a good idea to see your doctor for proper diagnosis since liver blemish dots can be confused for a whole lot of other skin conditions including moles, keratosis, and melanoma (a form of skin cancer).