The thing about age spots is they’re not really “age spots” at all, though they do show up as we grow older. These annoying brown or tan patches on the face, chest, hands and elsewhere are areas of sun damage—damage we inflicted on ourselves years ago as we basked in the sun or were just unaware of the need for skin protection.
Let’s say you now know the value of a good sunscreen and you’re avoiding the UV rays that would lead to more areas of hyperpigmented (discolored) skin in the future. What’s the best way to get rid of the age spots you already have? Goodness knows there are literally hundreds of remedies marketed on the Web to choose from—but which ones really work?
The key to diminishing or erasing age spots is to remove the uppermost layers of skin where the extra melanin shows up. There are two main approaches to try: creams or lotions with powerful ingredients or a procedure in the office of your dermatologist, medical spa or skin care expert. Many professionals advise trying topical treatments first. You may find a couple of good lotions are all you need, thereby saving money. But even if you go on to a laser or peel, starting with better skin tone and texture will make these procedures more effective.
There are a few main ingredients doctors swear by in creams and lotions. Retin-A is a kind of super solution for skin. It exfoliates and helps improve skin texture along with helping to break up areas of extra melanin. Hydroquinone is a skin lightening or bleaching agent. L-absorbic acid, a form of vitamin C, is also known as an effective pigment reducing substance.
If you prefer a more natural approach, you can try creams with botanical ingredients. Products based on kojic acid are popular, a substance found in fungi and bacteria. You can also try creams containing extracts of licorice, pomegranate and others. You may find that these products do help, but they are usually not as effective as the creams and lotions with more powerful ingredients.
If you need more help in treating age spots, it may be that areas of hyperpigmentation are a little more deeply embedded in your skin.