Dark spots on the face can really have a negative impact on our appearance. It seems 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 Causes Dark Spots & Age 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
Lifestyle and Circumstances that Cause Age Spots
The primary culprits are:
- Sun exposure
- Hormonal changes (i.e. pregnancy, menopause)
- Certain medications & chemicals
- Underlying health problems – nervous disorders
How To Avoid Getting Age Spots or Reducing Brown Spots on Your Skin
We would classify the approach to fighting brown age spots in two categories:
Category 1: Take matters into your own hands.
There are a number of options ranging from home remedies to over-the-counter products. Many of the latter focus on “bleaching “ of the skin 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.
At Élavonne we recommend the more natural, less aggressive bleaching agents such as:
- Ellagic Acid
- Retinoids (Retinoic Acid)
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s)
When using these agents always use sunscreen, as your skin will be ultra-sensitive to the sun. Also, note that some of these items can be combined forbest results. For example the Élavonne Organic Skin Care line offers a Clarifying AHA & Aloe Exfoliant that would be complimentary to any one of the items above bought at higher concentrations. Also, the Nourishing Pomegranate Organic Cleanser contains retinyl palmitate, and organic green papaya that helps to attenuate freckles or brown spots on the skin. (also read: Ingredient Focus: The Wonders of Organic Fruit Extracts)
Home Remedies for Lightening Dark Spots on the Skin
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).
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.
Category 2: Seek More Aggressive Treatment
There are a few professional treatments that can be done to effectively reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin:
- Chemical Face Peels
- Laser Treatments
- Using liquid nitrogen to freeze the spots
- Laser treatments may be the least damaging to the skin of these treatments, but one should consult a skin care professional for a specific evaluation.
Any of these above actions should only be done under the care of a professional, of course.