The medical term for liver or age spots is ‘Lentigos’. These are defined flat patches of skin (some what like large freckles) of varying sizes that are light brown to black in colour.
They appear on the face, on the backs of hands and other areas of the body. The colour of the liver spots is due to pigments within the epidermis (top skin layer) cells.
Who is most at risk of developing these spots?
Middle age and older people usually develop these spots. Additionally, it’s more common in people who have spent much time in the open and in the sun.
What causes liver spots?
These spots result from exposure to the sun. Additionally, people who have a dysfunctional liver may also find liver spots appearing on their skin. These spots also indicate an early selenium deficiency.
A good many people have an inborn pre-disposition to developing liver/age spots. A domino effect is set in place by free radicals (these are unstable molecules in the body) that result in damaging cellular components such as DNA. With time, this process can lead to a variety of conditions that are attributable to cellular damage such as skin conditions including liver spots.
How would you treat these liver spots?
To treat selenium deficiency, you can start immediately to take some colloidal selenium.
Sun exposure is a primary cause of liver spots. It is highly advisable to limit excessive exposure to the sun. In addition, the avoidance of getting sun-burnt is important. If you must be outside in the sun, ensure that you always use a good quality natural sunscreen.
A good liver function is vital for preventing and managing skin conditions including liver spots. The liver is the major filter of the blood. Clearing out toxins that can accumulate in the system is important, as these toxins can create free radicals that in turn promote cell damage in the skin.
Minimize free radical production by consuming foods and supplements that are rich in anti-oxidants. These molecules stop the destructive domino effect of the free radicals.
Are these liver spots dangerous?
This is free-radical damage and selenium deficiency is linked to heart problems. So step up your selenium intake and keep an eye on your heart. Visit your physician for a check-up.
These spots can be classified as benign or non-cancerous. In general, they are considered harmless, and are painless. They may cause cosmetic distress to some people, especially women.
In certain instances, a person may develop ‘keratosis’, the appearance of which is quite similar to that of a liver spot. Keratosis is a red, scaly lesion.
It is advisable that all people who have dark freckles, moles and / or liver spots undertake a yearly skin examination to rule out skin cancer.
© Helen Chow, ND
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