Liver spots, more commonly referred to as age spots, usually occur on sun-exposed areas of the body such as the hands, arms, shoulders and face. According to the Mayo Clinic, liver spots appear most older than 40, though they may affect anyone who spends enough time in the sun. In most cases, liver spots do not require medical attention and many doctors consider them cosmetic problems. Proponents say some natural remedies may bleach the spots gently over time.
Essential oils of lemon and benzoin have mild bleaching properties that may help get rid of liver spots, according to Bill Gottlieb in his book “Alternative Cures.” Gottlieb suggests combining two to three drops of either essential oil with an equal amount of vegetable carrier oil, then applying the mixture to liver spots at least once per day. Use olive or almond oil to carry the essential oils for the best results, though any high-quality vegetable oil will work.
In her book “Herbal Remedies for a Lifetime of Healthy Skin,” Stephanie L. Tourles recommends making your own liver spot lightener using lemon juice, yogurt, potato and cucumber. Lemon juice acts as a mild bleach and alpha-hydroxy acid, potato and cucumber cool the skin and yogurt contains lactic acid to gently bleach liver spots. Blend 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1 small peeled potato, 1/2 small cucumber and 1 tbsp. raw organic yogurt in a blender or food processor. Blend on high speed until a thick paste forms, then apply the mixture directly to affected areas and allow to remain for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing clean. Repeat twice weekly for the best results.
Onion and Vinegar
An old folk remedy for liver spots recommended by Joan Wilen in her book “More Chicken Soup & Other Folk Remedies,” onion juice and vinegar may help get rid of age spots when used regularly. Grate an onion and squeeze through a piece of cheesecloth or place in a juicer to obtain 1 tsp. onion juice. Combine with 2 tsp. white distilled vinegar and massage the mixture into liver spots twice per day until you achieve the desired results.
Buttermilk and Honey
Wilen also recommends using buttermilk and honey to lighten liver spots. Bring 1/3 cup buttermilk almost to a boil and then add 2 or 3 tbsp. honey to create a creamy consistency. Allow the mixture to cool down, then apply with a pastry brush directly to the affected area. Leave it on for at least 15 minutes, then rinse clean with tepid water. Repeat at least once per day for the best results.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Liver Spots
- Mayo Clinic: Age Spots (Liver Spots)
- “Alternative Cures: More Than 1,000 of the Most Effective Natural Home Remedies”; Bill Gottlieb; 2008
- “Herbal Remedies for a Lifetime of Healthy Skin”; Stephanie L. Tourles; 1999
- “More Chicken Soup & Other Folk Remedies”; Joan Wilen, Lydia Wilen; 2000