Dark spots on the face and skin can really have a negative impact on our appearance. Age spots seem to be more of a problem as we age, and our skin goes through the various battles of life. But don’t dismay, you don’t have to sit back and take it. There are a wide range of natural options to help reduce the appearance of age spots and those dark spots that show up on our skin over time. Some of the remedies might be sitting in your kitchen right now.
What Are Dark Spots?
Dark spots (brown spots, or age spots) are basically hyperpigmentation of the skin. This is caused by uneven distribution of melanin. This manifests itself in two basic ways; the first is in Melasma, (appearing as light brown spots), which is the over-production of the melanocytes (the cells that control the productionof melanin). The second way is in Lentigo (age spots), which is the over-accumulation or melanocytes in the epidermis
What Causes Age Spots?
- Sun exposure
- Hormonal changes (i.e. pregnancy, menopause)
- Certain medications & chemicals
- Underlying health problems – nervous disorders
How To Avoid Age Spots
Its hard to avoid age spots, however, the number 1 cause is sun damage. Keep sunblock on your hands and skin areas that are often exposed. Hereditary or hormonal pigmentation of the skin cannot generally be avoided.
Reducing and Removing Age Spots
In the Office
The most effective way of reducing age spots or removing them can be done with a process called IPL photofacial. This procedure must be performed by a doctor or registered nurse, and usually requires 4-6 treatments before the dark spots slough off.
Topical and Over the Counter Treatments
Reducing age spots through topical remedies is also possible, however, they involve harsh chemicals that “bleach” the skin. Many of the these products work by slowing the production of the enzyme tyrosinse, which results in less production of melatonin. The safety of these products are somewhat controversial, such as, the more potent ones like Hydroquinone, and Arbutin. Azelaic acid may be a safer approach to lightening the skin.
Natural or Organic Methods of Reducing Age Spots
- Ellagic Acid. This acid is commonly found in red berries and pomegranates.
- Retinoids (Retinoic Acid). Found in papaya, milk, eggs, tuna and some yogurts.
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid). Oranges, strawberries, kale, and red pepper are the best sources of this vitamin.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). Pineapples and lemons are rich in AHAs.
Related: Eat Your Way to Better Skin
Home Remedies for Lightening and Preventing Age Spots
We list these remedies in the order of most likely effective:
- Lemon Juice
- Lime Juice
- Orange juice
- Milk (preferably higher lactic acid content like buttermilk)
You can try the fruits alone together as one concoction or do the same with the milk and honey.
Application: just apply directly to the age spot with your hands (clean hands of course). Repeat twice per day.
The benefit of these remedies, of course, is that they are easily accessible, and are not harsh on your skin when reducing dark spots. They could be used as a first step along with your great organic skin care regimen in fighting back against dark spots. Of course, if more aggressive treatment is needed, these steps are complimentary and inexpensive. We recommend seeking the advice of a dermatologist or skin care professional.
When using these agents always use sunscreen, as your skin will be ultra-sensitive to the sun.