Do you have pigmentation marks on the skin that pose a major hurdle in your journey towards flawless skin? Do you end up using layers of skin correctors and concealers to cover up those stubborn dark spots? If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. Whatever you may choose to call them, dark spots, age spots, or liver spots are widespread skin problems in women over 40. These present as tiny, flat brown or black spots on the skin, especially on the hands and face. Though we mostly associate them with growing age, they can also occur for different reasons like sun exposure, inflammation from acne and rashes, and hormonal imbalance.
It is important to remember that these spots aren’t dangerous and don’t require any medical attention, but if you wish to fade them away or permanently remove them, there are two ways. You can either go for chemical products/ peels and medical treatments like lasers/ microdermabrasion, or you can lighten these spots naturally with items in your kitchen. But before we jump to the treatment, it’s essential to get to the bottom of the condition and find the root cause for it. Let’s learn about what age spots are, why do they happen, and what the solutions are.
What are Age Spots?
Age spots are discolored patches on the skin and often appear on the face, shoulders, backs and arms – areas exposed to the sun. They are tiny spots (brown, grey, or black) darker than the surrunding skin. They are usually flat on the surface of the skin and vary in size. Though these spots are prevalent in adults older than 40, younger people can also get these spots.
What Causes Age Spots?
Our skin – fair or dark – contains a pigment called melanin, produced by cells known as melanocytes. Melanin is responsible for the color of our skin, eyes, and even hair. Age spots occur due to the overproduction of melanin in the skin by melanocytes. This overproduction is triggered by certain conditions listed below.
1. Sun Exposure: Prolonged sun exposure seems to be the main reason causing age spots. Staying out in the sun for long durations triggers the skin to produce extra melanin, resulting in dark patches on the skin. This is also the reason why we usually have more dark spots after the summer.
2. Age: With advanced age, melanocytes increase in size, thereby intensifying pigment production. Also, age makes the skin thinner and more translucent, escalating the visibility of age spots.
3. Hormones: The fluctuating levels of hormones — both estrogen and progesterone — can increase melanin levels. This is the main reason why pregnant women frequently see dark spots, which usually go away after birth.
4. Inflammation: Skin irritation because of acne, rashes, eczema, waxing, or harsh facial scrubs can also cause age spots. That’s why the experts warn you against popping a pimple – it can often lead to dark spots.
Age spots are not dangerous and don’t need any medical treatment. However, if their appearance bothers you, there are several treatments available.
You can opt for prescription bleaching creams containing hydroquinone and retinoids or even go for professional treatments like chemical peels, laser peels, and microdermabrasion. If you want to keep these options for a later stage, here is a list of the best at-home products that can help you fade away dark spots.
13 Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Age Spots
1. Lemon Juice
For ages, lemon has been considered a natural bleaching agent. It contains citric acid and Vitamin C. Lemon acts as a natural antioxidant and helps remove dead cells from the skin. This helps lighten age spots.
However, before using lemon juice directly on the face, do a patch test. Lemon juice is acidic and can cause skin dryness and irritation in some people.
Method: First, it is recommended to use diluted lemon juice (mixed in equal parts with water) directly to the areas with dark spots twice every day. Leave it for 20 minutes and rinse with water.
Turmeric is the wonder drug for healthy skin. It helps cure acne, brightens a dull complexion, and also reduces pigmentation.
Method: Make a thick paste by mixing two teaspoons of turmeric with yogurt and chickpea flour. Apply it on the skin as a face pack and leave for fifteen minutes. Rinse it off with lukewarm water.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera can help you lighten dark spots to an extent although it is not 100% fullproof. Aloe vera contains certain chemicals called aloin and aloesin, which have skin-lightening properties. (1)
Method: You can use aloe vera extract directly from the plant or use the organic gel at the drugstore. Massage a thin layer of aloe vera gel on dark spots twice a day.
To make aloe vera gel from the plant, follow this simple method. Remove a few thick leaves from the plant. Wash and dry them. Cut off the edges and scrape the gel from inside the leaf. Make a smooth gel using a mixer. The extra gel can be stored in the freezer.
The easiest way to lighten dark spots is by scrubbing off the top layer of the skin using a natural exfoliant. Try honey for this. Honey not only has excellent anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties but also acts as a great natural exfoliator. It helps remove dead pigmented cells and increases the growth of healthy new cells. (2)
Method: Rub organic honey onto the skin with your fingertips and leave it on for 20 minutes. Rinse off using cold water.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid and natural antioxidants, which may help fade age spots. It is important to use apple cider vinegar over a period of time to have any visible results. Also, use the product correctly. (3)
Method: Mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part water and apply to the affected area at least two times a day. Rinse it thoroughly after a while. In case of any irritation, stop using immediately.
Yogurt contains lactic acid that helps with mild hyperpigmentation.
Method: clean your face and apply yogurt directly to age spots. Rinse off thoroughly after 15 minutes and apply moisturizer. Regular application of yogurt can help lighten age spots within a few months. (3)
Cucumber has amazing bleaching properties. It not only helps lighten up the age spots but also improves the texture of the skin.
Method: Extract the juice of a small cucumber and apply it directly on age spots with the help of a cotton ball.
8. Red Onion
Red onion acts as a natural whitening agent and helps reduce excess pigmentation. Being rich in vitamin C as well as other organic components, it reduces age spots remarkably.
Method: Grind red onion to make a smooth paste. Apply this paste to the pigmented area and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Alternatively, you can also mix onion juice with apple cider vinegar (1:1) and apply the mixture on age spots with a cotton ball. (3)
Garlic is considered one of the best herbal remedies mainly because it plays as an antioxidant. When taken orally, garlic improves blood circulation and protects against harmful UVB rays. Topical administration of garlic has been found effective against several skin conditions such as psoriasis, alopecia, fungal infection, and skin aging. (4)
Method: Take a few garlic cloves and mash them with a bit of water to get a smooth paste. Apply it on age spots twice daily. Leave it for a while and rinse thoroughly.
Papaya has excellent skin-lightening properties and works amazingly well against melasma. It contains enzymes, beta-carotene, vitamins, and phytochemicals, all of which help fade age spots.
Method: Take a small piece of raw papaya and grate it finely. Now, rub the troubled parts of your skin with this and wash off after 10 minutes. Regular application will give you excellent results. If you’re too lazy to follow this, apply cold-pressed papaya seed oil to the affected area. (5)
Method: The easiest way to use watermelon involves rubbing a piece of the fruit directly on the affected area. Alternatively, you can also make a thick face mask by mixing watermelon and banana in equal amounts along with 2-3 tablespoons of cold milk. Leave the mask for 20 minutes and wash off with cool water.
12. Almond oil
Another naturally brightening item lying in your kitchen cupboard is almond oil that may help fade dark spots. However, it is recommended to use cold-pressed almond oil specially formulated for skin, fortified with niacin and vitamin E. These two ingredients help with hyperpigmentation and improve skin texture.
Method: As almond oil is non-comedogenic, it can be easily added to your night care routine as a moisturizer.
13. Rose Water
The list of amazing things rose water can do for our skin is endless. It is rich in vitamin C, balances pH levels, and has natural anti-inflammatory properties. It calms down acne and helps lighten dark spots. Rosewater can also be used as a toner. However, try and use organic rose water.
Method: Spray rose water on your face after thoroughly cleaning it. You can also prepare a mask by mixing 1 tablespoon of sandalwood powder with 1 tablespoon of rose water and apply it to the age spots. Let it dry and wash off with water.
How Can You Prevent Age Spots?
While natural remedies work their way at fading dark spots, we can follow a few rules to minimize our risk of getting them in the first place.
- Reduce sun exposure, especially in the afternoon.
- Wear sunscreen every day with an SPF of 30 at least, even when staying indoors. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply every two hours.
- When out in the sun, wear protective clothing like a hat, pants, and long-sleeved shirts.
- Avoid any skin damage by avoiding harsh facial scrubs and popping zits.
Age spots on the skin are a common problem in women over 40 years of age, presenting as tiny brown or black spots on the hands and face. The main causes are sun exposure, inflammation from acne and rashes, age, and hormonal imbalance. These aren’t dangerous but people often opt to effectively fade them for cosmetic reasons. While medical treatments have their own pros and cons, there is a whole list of home ingredients that can help fade age spots like lemon juice, turmeric, cucumber, rose water, honey, and others.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When should you see a doctor?
Dark spots don’t need any medical intervention, but if you see them increasing in size and numbers even after using these remedies, consult a professional.
What are the side effects of these remedies?
Before using any of these treatments, do a small patch test to rule out any allergic reaction.
What is the fastest way to remove dark spots?
There is no quick-fix solution to reducing age spots. We need to remember that it takes a very long time to fade away dark spots. Whatever remedy you choose for your skin, stick with it for a while to see any positive results.
- “Can You Treat Skin Pigmentation with Aloe Vera?” – healthline.com
- “How Applying Honey to Your Face Can Help Your Skin” – healthline.com
- “What to do about pigmentation” – medicalnewstoday.com
- “Here’s why women have started rubbing garlic on their faces” – marieclaire.co.uk
- “Benefits of Papaya for Your Skin and Hair” – healthline.com