How to Get Rid of Age Spots
Age spots, or solar lentigines (solar lentigo) are more commonly known
spots” . They appear as brown or brown-black spots with grayish
pigments, and are flat and well defined (usually oval) in shape.
The skin spots usually appear after age 40. In sunny climates they
start to appear at age 30 as the result of cumulative sun exposure.
They often appear after a sunburn and on sun exposed areas of the body
such as the face, forearms, hands, chest, lower legs and upper back.
There is a higher prevalence of the condition in Caucasians and
secondarily in Asians. The use of sunscreens may prevent the
condition. Although these are often undesirable permanent skin changes,
not pose a threat to health and do not need treatment, except to
improve one’s appearance."
Causes of Age Spots
The common name “liver spots” may be misleading because age spots are
not in any way caused by liver disease or malfunction. The more
accurate term, solar lentigines, reflects their true cause, which
implies skin damage due to repeated and prolonged sun exposure that
increases with age. Although aging itself does not cause the age spots
to appear, they are often found in people over 40 years of age because
of the chronic exposure to the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays
from the sun. For this reason, solar lentigines are commonly found in
body parts such as the face and forehead, back of the hands, forearms,
Exposure to other sources of ultraviolet rays can also lead to skin
damage that includes the appearance of lentigo.
Age Spots on Arm (called lentigo)
Source: The Meisenheimer Clinic
Lentigo is often seen in people with fair skin, but they can also
develop in people with darker skin. These brown spots may appear as
freckle-sized spots but may become bigger, up to half an inch or one
centimeter in diameter. They can also group together, making the brown
areas appear bigger in size.
There are no significant symptoms associated with the condition such as
pain, itching, or discomfort. They are harmless skin lesions, but if
one notices new skin
changes that are not typical, it may be best to consult a doctor to
evaluate the spot or lesion, especially if characterized by:
- Dark pigmentation
- Rapid increase in size
- Irregular borders
- Having multiple colors
- Accompanied by other symptoms like redness, itching, pain, or
A diagnosis is easily made by a physician upon physical examination,
especially in people over 40, even without doing any tests. However, if
the brown spots are irregularly shaped or multi-colored, a biopsy may
be done to rule out other conditions such as skin cancer.
Age or Liver Spots on Forehead
Source: Meisenheimer Clinic
Over the Counter Home Age Spot
As long as the brown discolorations on the skin do not bother the
individual, no treatments are necessary. However, for cosmetic reasons
many people seek treatment to improve their appearance.
Dermatologists often prescribe retinol
to lighten the spots. These products reduce melanin
production, making brown spots lighter in color. These products are
also available as over-the-counter skin preparations in lower
concentrations. Doctors also advise using exfoliating products which
may contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or papaya extract. Skin
or bleaching lotions containing licorice
extract, bearberry, and hydroquinone also work with fruit acids to make
the dark spots lighter.
A popular option is the Oil
of Olay Discoloration Fighting Concentrate
that contains an
ingredient called Septiwhite that will fade skin spots and inhibit
melanin production. Research backs the effectiveness of this
product with 272 tested showing a big improvement in brown spots in 4
to 8 weeks (similar to the result found when using 4% hydroquinone
For Dry Skin try the D-Pigment
Dark Spot Lightener
. The product has 10x the effect of kojic acid
(for natural bleaching). The active ingredient is Melanyde, which
inhibits color pigment plus a retinoid (encourages cell turnover) and
the antioxidant vitamin E.
Dermatologist Administered Procedures
for Brown, Age or Liver Sports
Aside from topical skin preparations, dermatologists also use office
procedures like microdermabrasion, chemical spot treatments,
cryotherapy, chemical peels, laser treatment, and phototherapy to
improve skin appearance and lighten the brown spots. These procedures
may require one or more sessions for satisfactory results.
Specific treatment options include:
- Clear + Brilliant Laser System:
Fractional lasers are used at low-energy wavelengths. The laser is
focused on the outer skin layer, leaving a uniform skin tone with
little swelling or red skin. The treatment requires 3 to 5 treatments,
every 30 days.
- Illuminase: The
Illuminase treatment resulted in a 75% improvement in dark skin
spots. Patients are treated for 12 weeks, 2 to 3 treatments a
week using a mild laser and microdermabrasian. Patients also use a
nightly application of a topical (Retin-A and hydroquinone active
ingredients) for 30 days. Patients are also required to use a 40 SPF
sunscreen every morning.
Last, the over the counter treatment called Elure
is now being used by Dermatologists in
combination with laser treatment and skin peels. The cream is
recommended for use 1 month prior to in-office treatment.
Mayo Clinic. Liver spots .
WebMD. How to Treat Lentigo
"The Bright Side." Allure Dec. 2012: 142. Health Reference Center
Academic. Web. 12 Jan. 2013.
Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology
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