How to Treat Brown Spots on Skin


The brown spots on skin have many names such as age spots, liver spots, sunspots, skin discolorations, hyperpigmentation or freckles. While these spots are harmless, many people also think they are unsightly. These spots usually start to appear after age 50 and grow larger as a person ages. Brown spots most frequently appear on the face, the scalp and the hands. The main cause of the brown spots is too much exposure to the sun. Prevention is accomplished with sunscreen and sunblock. But there are several ways to treat brown spots to reduce their appearance or to remove them.

Use lemon juice. This is the easiest and cheapest method to reduce age spots. Lemon juice is natural bleach. Apply bottled lemon juice or the juice of a lemon to the spots. This method works best on smaller age spots because the citric acid in the juice isn’t that strong.

Try hydrogen peroxide. This is another bleach, but stronger than lemon juice. It is used in hair dyes to lighten the hair and also in teeth whiteners to bleach the stains off teeth. The hydrogen peroxide found in drug stores is a weak solution with only 3 to 3.5 percent of peroxide. There is industrial strength hydrogen peroxide of 30 to 35 percent concentration but these higher strengths are not meant for contact with the skin.

Apply buttermilk. This liquid contains lactic acid and is a natural home remedy recommended for decades as a way to treat brown spots.

Use over-the-counter fade creams. Look for a fade scream made with hydroquinone, an effective skin lightening agent. FDA allows only a 2 percent concentration in over-the-counter fade creams and lotions, but there is also prescription strength hydroquinone. Ask your dermatologist if hydroquinone is right for you.

Have a chemical peel. With a peel a chemicals like glycolic acid is applied to the skin. The chemical peel only affects the surface of the skin by fading discolorations. This is a somewhat expensive procedure with possible risks and side effects such as redness and oozing skin. This procedure should be done by trained professionals such as cosmeticians or doctors.

Have a microdermabrasion session. This is an expensive medical procedure that is best performed by trained professionals like a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. With microdermabrasion, tiny crystals scrub the skin, removing the top layer. This is effective with reducing the appearance of brown spots.

Consider laser resurfacing. With this technique, light or light beams are directed at each individual brown spot. The laser removes the top layer of the skin and the heat accelerates the growth of new and clearer skin. Laser resurfacing should be done by a doctor.

Tips & Warnings

  • None of the treatments is guaranteed to work for everyone.

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