Age spots are brown, black or yellow flat spots or spots that appear on the skin of the neck, hands and face. It is usually caused by sun exposure and appears when a person is 40. These age spots are harmless, so there is no medical reason to get rid of them. However, age spots can indicate a person's age, so many men and women want to get rid of them for aesthetic reasons. You can get rid of age spots in a number of ways: using over-the-counter or doctor-prescribed products, using homemade remedies, or using professional skin care.
Method 1 of 3: Using Over-the-counter and Prescription Products
Step 1. Use hydroquinone
Hydroquinone is a highly effective whitening cream that can significantly reduce the appearance of age spots.
- Hydroquinone is available in concentrations up to 2% over the counter, higher concentrations require a prescription.
- Please note that hydroquinone has been banned in many European and Asian countries, due to its potentially carcinogenic content. But it's still widely available in the US.
Step 2. Use Retin-A
Retin-A is an antiaging skin care product used to fight fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture and elasticity and reduce discoloration and sun damage, including age spots.
- Retin-A is a vitamin A derivative that is available in cream or gel form, in varying strengths. It can only be obtained by prescription, so you will need to visit your doctor to be able to use it.
- Exfoliating the skin can also help remove age spots, exfoliating the excess pigmented outer layer of skin and revealing new, fresher skin underneath.
Step 3. Use products that contain glycolic acid
Glycolic acid is a type of alpha hydroxy acid that is usually used in chemical peels. Works to exfoliate the skin, eliminating the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots.
- Over-the-counter glycolic acid is available in the form of a cream or lotion, usually applied and left on for a few minutes, before rinsing off.
- Glycolic acid can be harsh on the skin, sometimes causing redness and discomfort. You should always moisturize your skin after using products that contain glycolic acid.
Step 4. Use sunscreen
Sunscreen won't help reduce existing age spots, but will prevent new ones from forming (because the main cause of age spots is sun exposure).
- In addition, sunscreen will prevent age spots from getting darker or more obvious.
- You should wear a zinc oxide-based sunscreen and at least SPF 15 every day, even if the weather is not hot or sunny.
Method 2 of 3: Using Self-Care
Step 1. Use lemon juice
Lemon juice contains citric acid, which can help whiten age spots. Apply a small amount of fresh lemon juice directly on the age spots, leave it on for 30 minutes then rinse it off. Do it twice a day and you can see results in a month or two.
- Lemon juice makes your skin more sensitive to the sun (and can make age spots worse) so don't leave lemon juice on your skin if you're going out.
- If you have sensitive skin, lemon juice can irritate your skin, so dilute it to half its strength with water or rosewater before applying.
Step 2. Use buttermilk
Buttermilk contains lactic acid, which whitens the skin like the citric acid in lemon juice. Apply a small amount of buttermilk directly on the age spots and leave it on for 15 to 30 minutes, then rinse. Do it twice a day.
- If your skin tends to be oily, you can mix buttermilk with a little lemon juice before applying it to the age spots, so your skin doesn't get greasy.
- For more benefits, add a little tomato juice to the buttermilk, tomatoes also have bleaching properties that can help reduce age spots.
Step 3. Use honey and yogurt
The combination of honey and yogurt is believed to be useful for reducing age spots.
- Mix equal amounts of honey and plain yogurt and apply it directly on the age spots.
- Leave for 15 to 20 minutes then rinse. Do it twice a day.
Step 4. Use apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an essential ingredient for home treatments, including age spots! Apply a small amount of apple cider vinegar on the age spots and leave it on for 30 minutes then rinse it off.
- Use this treatment only once a day, as apple cider vinegar can dry out the skin, you will see improvement in age spots after six weeks.
- For added benefits, mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part onion juice (which you can get by squeezing an onion in a sieve) and apply it on the aging spots.
Step 5. Use aloe vera
Aloe vera is commonly used for a variety of skin problems, including age spots. Apply a small amount of fresh aloe vera gel (directly from the plant) on the age spots and allow it to absorb.
- Because aloe vera is so gentle, you don't need to rinse it off. But you can do it if it starts to itch.
- If you don't have an aloe vera plant, you can buy aloe vera juice at the market or at a health food store. This method will also work well.
Step 6. Use castor oil
This oil is known to have skin-healing properties and has been shown to be effective in the treatment of age spots. Apply a small amount of castor oil to the age spots and massage it into the skin for a minute or two.
- Do it once in the morning and once in the evening, and you will see results within a month.
- If you have dry skin, you can mix coconut, olive or almond oil with castor oil for added moisturizing.
Step 7. Use sandalwood
Sandalwood is believed to have effective antiaging properties, and is often used to reduce age spots.
- Mix a little sandalwood powder with a few drops of rose water, glycerin and lemon juice. Apply the mixture on the age spots, allow it to dry for 20 minutes, then rinse with cold water.
- You can also massage a drop of pure sandalwood essential oil directly on the age spots.
Method 3 of 3: Using Professional Skin Care
Step 1. Use laser technology to remove age spots
During the treatment, a high-intensity laser beam will enter the epidermis layer and cause the skin to be refreshed. The intensity of the laser beam scatters the skin pigment and destroys the damaged color.
- Laser treatment is not painful, but can cause some discomfort. An anesthetic cream will be applied 30 to 45 minutes before the procedure to reduce discomfort.
- The number of sessions required depends on the size and number of age spots being treated. Usually 2 to 3 sessions are required. Each session can last 30-45 minutes.
- Treatment usually doesn't require waiting time but may cause redness, slight swelling and sensitivity to sunlight.
- While laser treatment is usually effective, the downside is cost. Depending on the type of laser used (Q-switched ruby , alexandrite or Fraxel dual laser) and the number of age spots that require treatment, the price ranges from IDR 4.8 million to IDR 18 million per session.
Step 2. Try a microdermabrasion treatment to remove age spots
Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive skin treatment that uses a wand with air pressure. The wand will sweep crystals, zinc or other abrasive material over the skin, exfoliating the top layer of skin to remove dark skin and excess pigment.
- Microdermabrasion usually requires no waiting time and there are no side effects.
- One session can last 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the area being treated. Treatment sessions are given at intervals of 2 to 3 weeks.
- Usually 2 to 3 sessions are required. The price is around 785 thousand rupiah per session.
Step 3. Get a chemical peel
Chemical peels work by dissolving dead skin so that new, fresh skin will surface. During a chemical peel, the treated area is cleaned and an acidic, gel-like solution is applied. Then this area is neutralized to stop the chemical process.
- Side effects include reddened skin, peeling and sensitivity that requires waiting/resting time.
- Usually two treatment sessions are required, with an interval of 3-4 weeks. The price is around 3 million rupiah per session.
- Age spots are also known as sun spots or lentigines.
- In addition to using sunscreen, you can avoid skin damage from sun exposure by wearing clothes such as long-sleeved tops and wide-brimmed hats.