What are they?
Liver spots are medically termed ‘Lentigos” and also known as age spots. They are sharply defined light brown to black flat patches of skin that appear on the face and backs of the hands looking somewhat like a large freckle. They may measure up to (25 mm) 1 inch in size.
Who is most at risk of developing these spots?
The spots most commonly develop in people of middle age and older. They are more common in people who have spent a lot of time in the sun.
What causes the spots?
The spots are brought out by exposure to the sun. The colour is due to pigments within the epidermis (top skin layer) cells. Many people have a hereditary predisposition to develop liver spots. Free radicals are unstable atoms in the body that start a domino type effect leading to damage of cellular components such as DNA. Over time this can lead to many conditions attributable to cellular damage such as skin conditions including liver spots.
What can be done about these spots?
As sun exposure plays a role in the development of liver spots, it is advisable to stay out of the sun. Cover up when outside and use a good quality sunscreen (minimum SPF 15) as part of your daily skin care regime. Improving the liver function is important to prevent and manage skin conditions of any description including liver spots, as the liver is the major filter of the blood, clearing it of toxins that can build up in the system and create free radicals which promote cell damage in the skin.
The key to keeping free radical production to a minimum is to consume foods and supplements rich in “antioxidants”. These are molecules that in effect put a halt on the destructive ‘domino’ effect of the free radicals.
Are these spots dangerous?
Occasionally a person may develop ‘keratosis’ which look very similar to a liver spot. Keratosis are a pre cancerous scaly red lesion. It is recommended that all people with dark freckles, moles or liver spots should have a skin examination yearly.
Treatment and general recommendations
Avoid direct exposure to sunlight on the face and hands. Stay out of the sun particularly between 10am – 4pm when the UV exposure is greatest. If you do need to be outdoors at this time wear a large brimmed hat. Use a good quality sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15.
You could try soy, rice or oat milk.
- Avoid ALL margarines and similar type spreads
- Avoid deep fried and fatty foods.
- Avoid sugary processed foods and drinks
- Limit chicken and turkey that is not free range, as this contains artificial growth hormones, antibiotics and steroids that increase the liver’s workload.
- Drink 2 liters of water each day.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners – see www.dorway.com
Healthy Sweetener Guide
Sweeteners to avoid
- Sucralose (Splenda)
- Acesulfame-K (Sunette, Sweet & Safe, Sweet One)
Sweeteners to Use
- Stevia *
- Barley Malt
- Evaporated Cane Juice
- Fruit Juice
- Rice Syrup
- Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) *
- *Safe for Diabetics
Raw juices are an incredibly powerful healing tool and can improve the function of the liver, bowels and kidneys. This increases the elimination of toxins and waste products from the skin. Carrot juice in particular is recommended as a good source of beta carotene – a precursor to vitamin A which is an important protector of the skin
The recommended juices from “Raw Juices Can Save Your Life” book are:
- “Skin Problems Juice” on page 131
- “Liver Cleansing” or Liver Tonic” juices on page116
- Take 1 teaspoon of powder twice daily in juices or 2 capsules twice a day before meals – A good formula will consist of St Mary’s Thistle, B vitamins and Taurine, which are useful for a liver tonic and liver supportive effect.
- Take 1/2 teaspoon twice a day in juices or water – This is organic sulphur required by the body to form proteins and amino acids (including the sulphur bearing amino acids cysteine, methionine and taurine), which are essential for the liver to detoxify chemicals and toxins. Provides links for collagen synthesis. Maintains healthy strong skin, hair, teeth and nails. Works with vitamin C, B vitamins, and lipoic acid for health of all the body cells. Aids in the manufacture of bile and elimination of toxins, and is a powerful blood cleanser.
- Take 2 tablets twice a day or 1 teaspoon twice daily in water or raw juice – A good high potency selenium based antioxidant formula is needed to assist in the protection of many parts of the body cells.