Most of us associate liver spots (also known as age or sun spots) on the hands with older age, since these discolourations tend to appear in our latter years. The development of liver spots depends on genetics as well as sun exposure. If your parents had them, you’ll most likely have them, too and if you’ve exposed your hands to the sun frequently without protecting them with sunscreen, chances are you’ll have more of them earlier.
How Liver Spots Develop
Sun exposure causes the skin to react by producing more melanin, a natural pigmentation. This occurs on any part of the body or face that is exposed, but because the hands are often left bare and many of us neglect to protect them, the signs of sun damage tend to appear fastest here.
While this excess of pigmentation is not cancerous (although you should have any spots checked by a medical professional if they continue to grow, are asymmetric in shape or look dark and reddish), it does cause the complexion in the area to become uneven in tone.
To resolve this problem, there are three solutions: hydroquinone, chemical peel, and laser skin treatment. Each require the expertise of a medical professional, and because it is a problem (regardless of it being just aesthetic) related to the skin, they should have dermatological knowledge.
Hydroquinone (and Retinoids)
This solution involves the application of a solution or cream to the affected area generally on a daily basis at home. Hydroquinone effectively lightens the darkened area by inhibiting production of melanin, and combined with cell turnover that retinoids assists with, more even tone is achieved after a few months (the exact time depends on how dark the skin is, the product used and the individual).
If you have sensitive skin, you may experience itchiness, dryness and other irritation.
A chemical peel exfoliates the upper layer of the skin that contain the liver spots and reveals the fresher less flawed layers underneath. By doing this, the skin renews itself and the hyperpigmentation is lessened. You’ll need a few treatments to get rid of all dark areas. The benefit of chemical peels is that the procedure will also treat other aesthetic imperfections in the area, like fine lines, inflamed pores and redness.
Laser Skin Treatments
Laser skin treatments refer to a whole number of laser based technologies that can help with liver spots. These include photofacial rejuvenation and laser skin resurfacing, both of which involve a laser or intense pulsed light source that kickstarts the production of fresh skin cells and even collagen. As the skin heals, the area becomes less pigmented and less wrinkled as well.
Liver spots can be easily treated with a range of nonsurgical medical solutions. Talk to your skincare provider today for more information.