What’s Up With Liver Spots?

liver spotsAging gracefully is one of the main themes of my life and work and I am wondering how acquiring liver spots fits in with the graceful part.

Liver spots, or age spots, are almost always harmless though if vanity is an issue you might not be too happy. They have nothing to do with the liver though they might have been mistakenly associated with liver problems once upon a time; maybe because they are often liver colored.

Liver spots are most often associated with aging, occurring most often when we are over fifty, but can appear in people of any age. But as with many things with the body there is a good measure of debate. I am always fascinated when wading into territory where information ends with… cause ultimately unknown.

Melanin is a substance, or pigment, that gives the skin and hair (and the eyes) its natural color.  Our skin tans because the body produces melanin to protect the skin from ultra violet rays and skin damage from the sun. Liver spots seem to be best explained as melanin gone wild in particular spots.

While it is commonly taken for granted that liver spots can be attributed to over exposure to the sun, there is no proof of this beyond anecdotal evidence.  Most liver spots, though, do appear on the body parts—hands, arms, face—that get most natural exposure to the sun.

I have two liver spots—the first one showing up about three years ago and I am no sun worshipper. I am outside a lot because I walk a bunch but sitting in the sun has never been for me.

It is the aging piece of getting liver spots that fascinates me. I am not this body and all that but looking in a mirror at my fifty year old face— that has weathered some storms—acknowledging the aging process takes some self-kindness that I don’t always have.

They are not difficult to get removed if that is your approach to these things. Some people bathe their liver spots in lemon as a more natural approach than laser removal. But if you are like me you will probably let them move in and take up residence—following along on the wacky journey that my body is taking me through.


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