Now that the ball has dropped and the champagne flutes are put away, it’s time to fulfill that New Year’s resolution of finally getting rid of pesky liver spots!
Despite the name, your midnight toast isn’t to blame for liver spots. The flat, darkened patches of skin are actually caused by years of UV exposure, which is why they often affect people over 40 and appear most often on hands, feet, face or shoulders.
Liver spots aren’t medically dangerous, but you should see a doctor if spots have an irregular shape, change shape, or are accompanied by tenderness or bleeding. Since liver spots develop over many years, they aren’t going to go away overnight. Commit to regular treatment and don’t be disheartened if you don’t see results right away.
Here are some general tips for getting rid of liver spots this year:
The first step to treating liver spots is to prevent any more from popping up. Apply sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher, to any exposed skin each day and reapply several times throughout the day. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses to protect the sensitive skin around your eyes and long sleeves whenever possible. UV rays can even damage your skin during the winter or on cloudy days, so make sunscreen a part of your daily routine year round.
See a Dermatologist
Liver spots are a signal of damage to your top layer of skin, or epidermis, so your treatment has to penetrate the entire layer to be effective. A dermatologist will be able to use medication, dermabrasion, chemical peels, laser pulse treatment or freezing to remove the damaged area quickly and safely.
Creams and Skin Care Products
Topical creams are a less expensive option if trips to the doctor’s office aren’t in your schedule or budget. Luckily, there are plenty of options from high-end anti-aging creams to drugstore brands. Hydroquinone is a potent bleaching agent that is available as either a prescription or over the counter, but it may irritate your skin. Fendel Skincare offers a line of skincare products without harsh chemicals.
Try a combination of spot treatment and all-over brighteners containing retinol, kojic acid, licorice extract, vitamin C and alpha-arbutin. It also wouldn’t hurt to exfoliate regularly with a glycolic or salicylic acid. Removing a layer of dead skin cells allows the treatment to penetrate your skin while giving you a little extra glow.
Liver spots can also be treated right out of your kitchen cabinet. A combination of apple cider vinegar and onion juice applied to the skin for 30 minutes daily has been shown to be effective. Lemon juice is a natural lightener, but will make your skin more sensitive to the sun. More soothing options are aloe vera or castor oil, rubbed right into the spot.
When it comes to treating liver spots, remember that you’re trying to undo years of sun damage. It’s less important which treatment you choose than whether you are able to do it every day. Make it an enjoyable part of a daily self-care routine and you’ll be likely to stick with it until you get results.