Seeing Spots: Brown, Liver, Age and Sun Spots

Sun spots are caused by excess sun exposure and can be best removed by cryotherapy and laser treatments.

Veronica Lake

Recently, while I was in Providence, RI my father-in-law pointed to the flurry of brown spots on the back of his hand and asked, “Are these liver spots?”

They’re not liver spots or age spots. Brown spots on the back of your hands are sun spots caused from excess sun exposure and aging. They have nothing to do with your liver.

They appear most commonly on the back of your hands, your face, and your forearms and are usually benign. The best prevention against developing sun spots is sunscreen and clothing.

The best treatments for removing sun spots are¬†cryotherapy (having a dermatologist freeze them off with liquid nitrogen) or laser treatments.¬†Bleaching creams and Retin-A do little to remove sun spots, while at-home treatments such as lemon juice and baking soda scrubs do nothing. Once the spots are removed, you must wear sunscreen or they’ll come back.

Or you could do like Veronica Lake did and wear glamorous long cotton or silk gloves. Course I don’t think I’ll recommend that to my father-in-law.

Photo credit: FCC, RobertHuffStutter

Bleaching Liver Spots

Liver spots have nothing to do with your liver. They are actually “sun” spots and are the result of sun damage to melanocytes, the pigment making cells in your skin. Although patients often think these brown spots occur only on the back of the hands, they can be found anywhere there is sun damage such as the face, chest, back, and scalp. Continue reading “Bleaching Liver Spots”