Let’s face it: we humans are vain and so we want to remove age spots whenever the darned things appear. But the truth is that calling those ugly brown spots “age spots” is inaccurate. Instead, what we need to do is fade “dark spots”, because they are actually large, sun induced freckles with no relation to age. You can bet that Scarlett O’Hara with her parasols and avoidance of the sun didn’t have to concern herself with age spots removal.
So why are they so-often called age spots? It’s simply because repeated exposure to the sun causes these flat, rounded, brown areas that usually appear on the back of hands, but also on our face, neck and shoulders. Sun worshippers can get brown spots on their skin as early as their 20’s or 30’s.
In addition, as we age, our skin has a harder time regenerating from sun damage, unless we are wise enough to learn how to treat our skin naturally.
These spots are also called a liver spot but they seem to have no connection to the liver. I say “seem” because future research may show a connection that isn’t obvious at this time.
Regardless of what we want to call them, they’re definitely unsightly. So here are some ideas on how to get rid of age spots, and either prevent them from ever forming or not allowing any new ones.
Dark Skin Spots Prevention
#1. Stay out of the sun! Sorry, but the spots on your skin are caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays so if you don’t ever get them in the first place, you won’t have to wonder how to fade sun spots 20 years (or two years!) from now … cuz you won’t have any!
#2. If you simply can’t – or won’t – avoid the sun then at least limit your hours of exposure. If you really want skin sun spots, then spend time outdoors during peak hours:
10AM – 4PM in the spring summer and fall
10AM – 2PM in the winter
If you’re a gardener, or have other outdoor chores, try and avoid these times of day.
#3. If you’re invited to an outdoor event that is simply irresistible, then look for shade. An umbrella, a pergola or a shady tree is a terrific alternative to full sun and just might avoid skin spots treatment in your future.
#4. Even if it’s hot, wear clothing that is both light-colored and tightly woven. The light color reflects the sun’s ray, rather than absorbing it and tightly woven fabric keeps out the sun’s dangerous UV rays, unlike loosely woven garments.
#5. If you do go out in the sun, even if it’s just to cut the grass, rather than bake in the sun for a sultry tan, use a high quality sunscreen. Frankly, this is a toughie because I’ve never found a sunscreen I really like since most of them are loaded with chemicals. Still, it’s better to wear the chemicals – and wash them off as soon as you get out of the sun – than to overexpose your tender skin.
Another advantage of sunscreens is that you will prevent any more sun spots on your skin and keep the ones you already have from getting darker. Just remember to periodically re-apply your sunscreen since perspiration or water will wash its protection away.
For shorter periods, a sunscreen with an SPF [Sun Protection Factor] of at least 15 is needed.
For a all-day stay on the beach, tennis court or golf course, use at least a 30SPF cream.
And be sure to apply them 15-30 minutes before going outside.
#6. Wear a hat. I usually wear a baseball cap, but it doesn’t really protect my ears or neck, so it’s actually a pretty lousy choice. Researchers recommend a hat with at least a 4″ brim.
Straw hats or hats with a porous or wide-weave fabric don’t do the job because the sun can shine right on through. Actually, there are hats made with ‘sun protective’ fabric inside and if you choose one of these, wide a wide brim, that will be the best protection you can get from a hat or cap.
#7. Remember your lips: it’s not impossible to get dark skin spots on your lips. Yuck! Lipstick is a slight protection, but unless it has a high SPF – and some do – it really isn’t that much help. And besides, when we’re outside we’re often working, playing and sweating and so our lipstick wears off leaving … naked lips. Some lip balm is helpful, but remember this vulnerable area when in the sun.
Get Rid Of The Age Spots You Already Have
#8. If your age spots aren’t too dark or too big, there are over-the-counter (OTC) products that might help.
* Well known products include Palmer’s Skin Success Cream or Porcelana and they are frequently recommended as age spot treatments. But, I caution you NOT to use these products. They are loaded with dangerous chemicals. Palmer’s, for instance, gets a hazard rating of 10 from the Cosmetic Safety Base … considering the highest possible hazard rating is a 10, this isn’t too encouraging.
Porcelana has multiple hazardous ingredients in its innocent jar, including two forms of dangerous parabens.
Hydroquinone USP (2%), Octinoxate (2.5%). Inactive Ingredients: Water, Mineral Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Palmitate, PEG-100 Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Emulsifying Wax NF, Stearic Acid, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Tocopheryl Acetate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Beta Carotene, Disodium EDTA, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Sodium Metabisulfite, Citric Acid, BHT, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea, Fragrance.
The most famous and most-used ingredient for removing brown spots is Hydroquinone but it is a controversial agent. It’s been used for decades and it definitely is effective as a spot remover … but high doses have caused cancers in mice. Whether this has any relation to the human body is unknown at this time.
#9. A product called Wart Stick has an extraordinarily high concentration of Salicylate Acid: 40%. Some have recommended using it on brown spots but after searching the Net I was unable to find an ingredient list. So, its safety is unknown.
Home Remedies As Treatment For Age Spots
#10. A home remedy that some swear by is to mix 1/4 cup borax with one half cup granulated sugar in a glass jar. Cover and let stand for 48 hours. Once a day, stir the mixture and use a Q-tip to get this mixture on your spot.
#11. Another home remedy is to mix 1 teaspoon of borax with two tablespoons glycerin and 3/4 cup of water. Apply like above.
#12. Fresh lemon slices will get rid of age spots – on some people. Cut a slice of fresh lemon and place it on your spot for 10-15 minutes per day.
#13. Aloe vera gel is famous for promoting great looking skin and, if used twice per day, will gradually fade dark spots.
#14. Mix a couple of ice cubes with a handful of fresh dandelion leaves and liquify this in a blender. Strain before using on discolored skin.
#15. Grate horseradish into either vinegar or buttermilk and allow the mixture to sit for several hours. Buttermilk has been used as a skin lightener for decades.
Yes, these last remedies will take longer – but they’re much safer. Whatever you choose, be patient because your brown spots won’t fade quickly. They’re stubborn!
Remove Skin Spots At The Doc’s Office
If you’re too impatient for OTC products, or you’re unconcerned about safety, a doc can haul out her/his trusty prescription pad.
#16. Lustra is a prescription-only cream with a higher concentration of Hydroquinone than OTC products: 4%. Most people see results in about 28 days.
#17. There are even stronger prescriptions with stronger bleaching effects with even quicker results than Lustra. These involve adding vitamin A creams (like Renova & Retin-A) to Hydroquinone.
If topical creams and lotions don’t handle the problem, more drastic measure are available.
#18. Cryotherapy is the use of extreme cold to destroy damaged tissue. This is effective with age spots – usually using liquid nitrogen to freeze your dark spots and they will peel off in less than a week.
#19. Chemical peels are sometimes effective for removing age spots. The peeling agent is usually either Trichloroacetic Acid or Glycolic Acid. The spots will be gone from your face in 2-3 days. However, be careful who does this procedure! If not done correctly, it can result in scarring.
#20. Laser resurfacing is very effective – and very expensive: $2000-$6000, depending on how much skin is to be treated. Healing takes two-six weeks, which is another downside.
If All Else Fails: HIDE The Spots On Your Skin
#21. Cosmetics may be your first – or last – answer. If none of the options above suit, use concealer to hide those nasty spots. A cream-based concealer has more covering power than a water-based one, but experimentation will discover what’s best for you. Use a concealer that’s lighter than your skin tone, for best results.
If skin sun spots really bother you, there are obviously a multitude of ways to fade dark spots. You will have to make choices that involve time for fading, safety, expensive and discomfort. Clearly, no one answer is right for everyone.
This was a comprehensive post on tips for prevention of brown spots on skin and a variety of solutions. I was not aware of most of the home remedies. Brown spots are certainly a common issue for people. Both the sun and aging contribute, and it’s helpful to know there are choices to consider if we want to try and diminish or eliminate the spots.
Cheryl McCann says
Excellent information and I printed it out to follow. Thanks.
what about people with brown spots on legs not exposed to sun. Can these spots be stopped?
Lucy, it would be dishonest to say that I can answer this question. Why? Because everybody’s skin is different. The best thing to do is start with the natural remedies mentioned above because they won’t cause any damage to your skin, even if they fail. Hopefully, they will succeed but if not, then move up the ladder trying stronger remedies until you find the one that works. It’s very likely that the milder ones will work for you. Best of luck with your efforts.
I am 42 and have never been able to use a moisturizer because everything made me break out. Now I don’t know what happened lately to my skin but it just “exploded” overnight. I went from fairly decent looking skin to dark spots, red blotches, fine lines, not so funny deeper looking laugh lines, dull and rough looking skin. Oh and I also got dry pimples again. Then I did some research and read about Made from Earth’s skincare products, which are recommended for sensitive skin. Thank goodness I tried their Vitamin Enhanced Face Firming Serum. My dark spots after one week are sincerely lighter, my laugh lines (with the help of an additional peptide cream) are almost gone. As for me breaking out because of the Pro-Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E ingredients that did not happen; in fact my pimples are gone as well. I will stick with Made from Earth since it took 10 years off my face according to my husband who said that my skin looks smooth and soft again.
Danni, thanks so much for sharing with us. I’m sure you were horrified when your skin ‘exploded’ (horrible image :-) but it’s great that you have a happy ending. 10 years is a lot.
I have used both pure Glycerine and a dermatologist prescribed Mimyx Cream. As a person in my mid-twenties who has suffered with acne, both of these options are harmless, and the mimyx cream is incredibly healing. cost me 129$ for a tube that lasts about a year…but very worth it… does not help dark spots…just as a moisturizer that won’t break you out. It does not offer sun protection…I may try your Made from Earth
Wow! $129 per tube is expensive but I’m glad that it helped you. Let us know how it goes if you experiment with some of these ideas.
Is there no water in the borax and sugar remedy? is it supposed to be a dry mixture?
Jen: the borax and sugar will combine into a concoction that supposedly helps with dark spots. No water necessary. I haven’t tried this one so can’t absolutely testify to it but it’s quite famous.
I have many brown spots in my face for quite some time. Kindly suggest a remedy how to remove the same.
“Kindly suggest a remedy how to remove the same.” – there are 21 suggestions in this article which means that you can experiment for quite a long time. Hopefully, one or more of them will be right for you.
This is my first look in your writing and I am able to get an handful idea about the brown skin spot removing. Which is really very helpful to me and your entire 21 spot remove writing guide is more handy for me.
Melissa Rich says
Despite what we need to call them, they’re certainly unattractive. So here are a few thoughts on the best way to dispose of age spots, and either keep them from steadily shaping or not permitting any new ones.
We would appreciate your thoughts, Melissa?
Following a suggestion I read somewhere else, I dabbed anti-dandruff shampoo onto the two fairly large age spots on my face and left it on overnight. In three days, they’d gone. But be aware that the skin surface will redden, harden, grow out and peel away. I applied moisturiser during the day and the skin healed in just over a week…and no more spots! It’s nice to look into the mirror and not hate those things any more. Take care if you try it, anti-dandruff shampoo definitely a skin irritant a little like bleach. If it’s really sore, stop. Wash it off thoroughly with water.
Thanks for the suggestion! We’ve never heard of that but there are certain to be some folks who will give this a try.
Apply fresh lemon juice on the brown spots twice a day, for six weeks. It will definetely help.
Aloe vera gel can also help but you need to use it every day.
Aloe is very cool and refreshing, too. Helps with spots and feels good – very cool! Thanks for sharing, Ryan.