Fatty liver disease: symptoms may appear on the face

One of the main causes of fat accumulation in the liver is eating too many calories. This is why fatty liver disease often coincides with the presence of other conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and high triglyceride levels. The storage of fat in the liver is harmful because it gradually impairs the functioning of the liver. Eventually, liver scarring could lead to permanent liver disability.

The British Liver Trust estimates that one in five people in the UK are affected by some stage of liver disease.

As obesity rates rise, so does the prevalence of the disease, but that doesn’t mean someone at a healthy weight is risk-free.

Even a moderate accumulation of fat in the liver can slow down the liver, and this can be reflected in the appearance.

According liver doctorsigns of your appearance that reflect a “slow and fatty” liver include:

  • A puffy face
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • A yellowish complexion
  • Coated tongue and bad breath
  • Broken blood vessels on the face
  • Rosacea acne on the cheeks and chin
  • Brownish pigmentation on the skin of the face
  • A yellowish tint to the eyes.

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Causes of Water Retention

The liver breaks down hormones such as aldosterone, which can lead to fluid retention if allowed to build up.

“If we look at the liver under a microscope, it looks like a huge filter or sieve that filters toxins, hormones, unhealthy cells, and metabolic waste from the bloodstream,” says Liver Doctor.

“Less of these substances translates to better skin and immune function.”

Causes of White Tongue

The tongue is also a strong indicator of liver health as it can reflect digestive issues.


When there is too much yeast in the intestine or the liver becomes sluggish, it can lead to the formation of white patches on the tongue.

Research published in the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pharmacology Therapy in 2020 suggests that tongue thickness may be another indicator of liver health.

The researchers noted that tongue thickness “is significantly correlated with the severity of liver disease.”

Causes of spider veins

The technical term for broken blood vessels on the face is telangiectasia – commonly known as filiform veins, spider veins, broken capillaries, or redness.

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Sometimes spider veins appear when blood flow becomes sluggish and bloody, which causes increased pressure in the veins.

An excess of estrogen also occurs in liver disease, which is another existing hypothesis for the appearance of spider veins.

The hormone is believed to dilate the spiral arterioles of the endometrium, which pull on the valves and cause blood to flow in the wrong direction.

Yellowing of the skin and swelling of the legs, ankles and feet are more likely to occur in later stages of liver disease.

Avoiding alcohol, cigarettes, and fatty foods is key to prevention, but liver disease can also be prevented by adding healthy foods to the diet.

The Mediterranean diet is said to be beneficial because it combines all the food groups that reduce fat in the liver.

It consists primarily of healthy fats, antioxidants, and complex carbohydrates found in fish, fruits, whole grains, and nuts.

Physical activity is another key treatment for the disease, as it dramatically increases fatty acid oxidation and prevents liver damage.

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