Sometimes liver (age) spots may be traumatized and bleed or become ulcerated. Sometimes they are in a location where they may be unsightly. For these reasons, some individuals may want to have their age spots removed. There are various methods of removing age spots and these include:
Camouflage: The easiest way to hide an age spot is camouflage. There are numerous creams available. However, the treatment is only temporary and can be expensive in the long run. Most camouflage creams cost a fortune.
Drugs: There are several bleaching creams available by prescription. These medications (hydroquinone) can be applied on the liver spot. Over time they cause fading of the color. The other drugs which can also cause fading are the Retinoids and corticosteroids. However, the treatment has to be continued for a long time. Other non prescription bleaching agents include glycolic acids. All of them can cause fading of the liver spot. Protection from the sun is strongly advised after use of the leaching agents; otherwise the liver spot will become even darker
Laser therapy. The heat generated by the laser destroys the liver spot which is replaced by normal skin. Several laser sessions are required to completely erase the liver spot. It may take a few months for the spot to completely disappear. Laser is the most effective but also expensive.
Freezing (cryotherapy): Cooling of the liver spot with liquid nitrogen is a commonly used technique. The liquid nitrogen is applied to the liver spot; it may take several sessions depending on the size of the liver spot. The freezing kills the superficial skin layers which are then replaced by normal skin. In the rare cases, scarring or skin discoloration may occur.
Dermabrasion: This technique uses a wire brush which acts like a sand paper and removes the top layer of the skin. The rapidly rotating brush stings a little but if the skin is cooled prior to the procedure, the stinging sensation is much less. Redness, pain and scarring can sometimes occur
Chemical peels: A poor man's therapy is to use a peeling agent to remove the liver spot. The peeling agents can fade the spot but several treatments are necessary and in many cases, the treatment does not work. The chemical peels frequently used are benzyl peroxide, salicylic acid and alphahydroxy acid. The peel removes the top layer and causes fading of the liver spot. One should wear sun screen every time after using a chemical peel.
Surgery: When the liver spot is large and when all the above techniques have failed the liver spot can be removed under local anesthesia. The spot can be excised with a scalpel. When completely removed, there is no chance of recurrence.
None of the treatments for liver spot are covered by insurance. All these treatments have some side effects. So if the liver spot does not bother you, leave it alone.