Age spots, also known as liver spots or solar lentigines, are a common problem that occurs due to an excess production of melanin, or skin pigment. Typically, the excess pigment is a result of excessive sun exposure. These spots can also be caused by the use of tanning lamps and tanning beds.
The spots vary in size and usually appear on the face, hands, shoulders and arms – the areas that are most often exposed to the sun. The spots are flat, oval areas of increased pigmentation and are usually tan, brown or black.
They are called age spots because they are very common in adults older than 50. Younger people can also have this skin problem, if they tend to spend a lot of time in the sun. Also, the problem is more common in people with light skin.
Basically, age spots are harmless. But for cosmetic reasons, people may use skin-bleaching products to try to lighten them or seek medical treatments to remove them. However, such options can be expensive and may have side effects, too.
Fortunately, there are some natural home remedies that may help reduce the appearance of these spots.
Bear in mind that natural remedies work slowly over time, so you need to have patience and use the remedies for several days or longer to notice an improvement, depending on the severity of the condition.
Note: Always see a doctor if the spots are extremely dark in appearance or have changed in appearance. These changes can be signs of melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for age spots.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a good remedy to make age spots less noticeable and improve your skin tone.
It contains alpha hydroxy acids that work as an excellent skin exfoliating agent. This in turn helps lighten age spots and other patchy areas on your skin.
- Mix equal parts of raw, unfiltered apple cider and water. Add a little honey. Apply it on the affected skin, leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse it off. Do this once daily.
- Also, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of organic apple cider to 1 glass of water. Drink it once or twice daily to improve your skin as well as overall health.
Note: It is normal to experience slight redness or stinging initially. However, if the irritation is severe, discontinue use of apple cider vinegar.
Lemon juice contains mild citric acid that helps remove dead skin cells by breaking down the melanin pigment. As it removes the darker skin layers and reveals new skin underneath, the age spots gradually start to lighten.
The vitamin C in lemon also works as an antioxidant that protects your skin from free-radical damage.
- Apply the juice from a fresh lemon to the affected skin. Let it sit on your skin for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Do it twice daily. If you have extra sensitive skin, dilute the lemon juice with rose water before applying it on the skin.
- Also, you can squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into a bowl and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of fine sugar. Gently scrub your skin with this mixture for a few minutes. Then, leave it on for 30 minutes and rinse your skin. Use this remedy 1 or 2 times a week.
Note: Do not go out in the sun right after applying lemon juice, as that can actually cause the skin to darken more than it was before.
Do not use bottled lemon juice, as it may contain other chemicals that may damage the skin.
3. Aloe Vera
When it comes to reducing the appearance of age spots, aloe vera is very effective.
Aloe vera has certain compounds that gently remove dead skin cells and encourage the growth of new, healthy cells. With regular use, it can lighten and possibly remove age spots.
Plus, it has a moisturizing property that keeps the skin feeling fresh, young and hydrated.
- Break a leaf off of an aloe vera plant, cut it open and extract the gel.
- Rub the gel onto your age spots.
- Allow it to soak into your skin for 1 hour or more. You can then rinse your skin.
- Repeat twice a day.
4. Castor Oil
Castor oil can help heal a variety of skin conditions, including age spots. The antioxidants in the oil help protect and lighten the skin.
It also improves the appearance and texture of your skin, making it more soft and smooth.
- Dab a little castor oil on the spots.
- Massage it for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the oil is thoroughly absorbed into the skin.
- Leave it on for a few hours, then rinse your skin.
- Repeat twice each day, once in the morning and once at night.
The naturally occurring lactic acid in yogurt makes it another good remedy for age spots.
The lactic acid gently removes dead skin cells and as the discolored skin sloughs off, fresh healthy skin is revealed and the spots become less noticeable.
Also, yogurt keeps the skin moisturized and looking fresh.
- Apply some plain yogurt directly on the spots. Allow it dry on its own for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water. Do it 2 or 3 times a day.
- Also, you can make a face mask with 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons of ground oatmeal and 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Mix the ingredients well. Apply the pack on the spots, and let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water. Use this remedy 2 or 3 times a week.
Another dairy product that is beneficial for skin health is buttermilk.
Like yogurt, buttermilk contains lactic acid that gently exfoliates pigmented and sun-damaged skin, while mildly bleaching the skin to reveal healthy skin with less noticeable spots.
Buttermilk also helps restore and rejuvenate the skin.
- Apply plain buttermilk directly on the affected areas. Let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with water. Repeat 2 or 3 times daily as needed.
- Alternatively, mix 4 teaspoons of buttermilk and 2 teaspoons of tomato juice together. Apply this mixture on the affected skin. Let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with water. Repeat twice daily.