What Are Age Spots? Prevent & Cure Them


As they age, many people are afflicted with dark splotches on the face, arms, and hands. Whether you call them age spots, lentigines, sun spots, or liver spots, these unraised splotches of increased pigmentation are a sure sign of aged, damaged skin. Along with wrinkles and rough texture, they are a major symptom of sun damage. Age spots can be brown, black, or grey, and they generally appear on the parts of your skin that get the most sun exposure. They can range in size from small freckles to circles with a one centimeter diameter.

Although they aren’t dangerous, age spots are certainly unattractive. With care, it is possible to avoid getting age spots in the first place, but if they’ve already made an appearance on your skin, a number of popular treatments have been developed to decrease their appearance.


This article will discuss:

Age Spots

As mentioned earlier, age spots are harmless blotches caused by too much sun exposure. They are related to moles, which are also caused by the sun. Moles are raised spots ranging in color from white, to brown, to black. Unlike age spots, moles appear anywhere on the skin.

Also, unlike harmless age spots, some moles are cancerous and a sign of malignant melanoma. Since early detection of skin cancer is so important, have your dermatologist examine any new age spots or moles as soon as possible, especially if they change color, shape, or size.

How they form

Sun exposure, age, skin color, and genetics all contribute to how one is affected by age spots. When the skin absorbs too much sun, it produces extra melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color and produces tans, to protect itself. In time, melanin can clump up and form age spots. Although the spots can from on people of any age, they are most common in people over 40. This results from older people having accumulated more sun exposure and from the fact that some people simply produce more melanin as they age.

How to prevent

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The best way to prevent age spots from sun damage is sun avoidance and protection. Try to stay away from the sun between the hours of 10am and 4pm, which is when the suns rays are the strongest. Wear long sleeves and pants for the best sun protection. Sunscreen is more practical because wearing protective clothing in the sun can get very hot. Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before coming in contact with the sun, because the sunscreen needs time to absorb. Choose a 15 spf or more broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA rays that cause burning and UVB rays that cause aging and skin damage. Since so much time is spent in cars, install protective film should be installed in car windows. This film protects against UVB rays, the rays causing skin and age damage.

How to cure

The appearance of age spots can be treated in many ways. However, some treatments can be expensive. Many are not covered by insurance companies because age spot removal is considered cosmetic surgery. Most treatments cause increased sun sensitivity, so a high SPF sunscreen is a necessity.

  • Lasers — Laser treatments work by destroying the extra melanin in age spots gradually over weeks or months. The laser procedure often requires two or more sessions and can be expensive. Most people call the treatment painless, but everyone has a different tolerance for pain.
  • Medications — Prescription medicines such as bleaching creams containing hydroquinone and retinoids can reduce the appearance of age spots. Results should be see after several months of regular usage.
  • Freezing (crynotherapy) — When applied to the age spots, liquid nitrogen or other freezing agents work to destroy extra pigment. With freezing, there is a risk of permanent scarring or discoloration.
  • Dermabrasion — This is the process of sanding off a layer skin to remove the age spots; it is one of the most painful treatment options. After dermabrasion, redness and scabs may result before the skin heals to a new, spot-free layer.
  • Chemical peel — Acid is applied to the skin to burn away the outer layers of skin. When they peel away, it reveals fresh skin without spots. Several visits are required before the effects of superficial chemical peels are noticed.
  • Over-the-counter treatments — Lightening lotions are available at drug stores and online. Some contain lower concentrations of the ingredients found in prescription. They show results after weeks or months of regular use. Lotions containing hydroquinone, deoxyarbutin, glycolic acid, or kojic acid work best to reduce the appearance of age spots. Prolonged use can cause skin irritation.

If you don’t currently have age spots, it’s important to focus on prevention now, particularly if other members of your family have them. Reducing sun exposure and wearing sunscreen are your best weapons to avoid sun damage. If you already have age spots, you can still focus on wearing sunscreen to avoid getting more, as well ask seeking out treatments to fade the discolorations.

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78 Comments • Please comment below

78 Comments

  1. I am a 48 year old fair skinned black women. I have had these facial age spots that look like freckles for at least 10 years, my skin is otherwise ok except these brown spots, small ones, all on my face. If I had the money, I would have them all removed, but of course everything cost a fortune. I would love to one day be free of them.

  2. I too have blonde hair and blue eyes with fair skin. I was a swimmer all of my young years, and swam many hours of the day in the sun without sunscreen. My legs and arms are covered with age spots, and I am only 49. The dermatologist says the only way to get rid of them is by laser treatments, but because I am covered with them, it would cost a fortune. I have limited funds, and that is just not an option. Please HELP!!!

  3. My wonderful Mother was beautiful and stayed young longer than most of her friends, all but the liver spots. She was not a sun person, very fair, but was with my Dad while he worked in the yard. She was really covered with those unsightly spots. Well, I now have them. I did minimum sun exposure. Makeup covers and they are not dark but I have noticed more and more. I am 68, soon to be 69.

  4. I have natural blonde hair, blue eyes, and very pale skin, and as a teen, and into my 20′s I still layed out in the sun trying to achieve that beautiful bronze glow. Now, of course, I regret it. I am 43 and have sun spots on my arms, legs, chest, and face. I have had laser work done over the last few years, but still have ALOT of sun spots. I am embarrassed to wear shorts, and since I live in Texas, I don’t have a lot of options~It’s HOT here. I would love to try your product and see how it would work for me. I think I would be a very good candidate! Thanks for the opportunity!

  5. I started noticing ugly moles, freckles, and age spots @ 35. I always had pretty skin and my husband would make nice comments. I have not shown my legs in 6 years. They are disgusting to me and i have tried so many different options. Laser would have worked but would have cost 600 for legs and would need at least 3 treatments. Skin lighting cream does not work. I have tried numerous home remedies and even cut a few off myself. I am desperate and really would love to wear shorts again!

  6. Im 46, vegetarian since 1980 (never ate red meat) non-somker and have age spots on my face, nose and above lips. I would love to see them go away.

  7. I have splotches of brown against a very fair complexion. People have actually said, “i think you have rubbed up against some dirt” or “let me get that for you”, reaching out as if to wipe my face. I have tried just about everything.

  8. I am turning 50 in 2 weeks. I am very active and work out almost daily at a gym. I just found out about Dr. Perricone recently. I did the three day face lift diet and absolutely loved it. I have one dark spot or age spot on my right cheek on my face. I would love to be a tester.

  9. I have age spots on my upper back/shoulders and I’m only a freshmen in highschool! (15 years old) Pretty sure it’s just sun damage though.

  10. I have aged skin since I was 30. I’ve had derms take off cancerous areas and was told I was too young for the type of issues I’ve had. My entire leg is rough and spotty. Brown, white, sometimes red spots. I’ve tried everything and have resigned to just keep them covered. The rest of my skin is fine with the exception of my shoulders and forearms. More spots and bad skin. I’ve kept my face and neck skin in excellent shape. I am 41 now and always strive to make any if it better…even slightly.

  11. I am blessed to have good skin, however no matter what I do to prevent them, I am still continuing to get age spots and have so far been unable to find a product that works in fading them. I’m in my early 30′s and am finding it frustrating. Would LOVE to test perricone!

  12. i am 55 years old and most say I look young for my age(35-45), I have noticed increased pigmentation on my face and hands lately. I have been applying skin lightning products,they work alittle,but I think I need more. I would be very interested in trying a Perricon product as I know they are superior to what I have been using. Thank YOU

  13. I have these awful white and brown spots on my arms and legs from sun exposure. I would do anything to get rid of them and feel comfortable in dresses and shorts again. Please help me!

  14. I am 25 years old and I recently developed my first sun spot! I can’t believe it, I thought I was too young to be struggling with age spots having just finally outgrown acne!
    I am very fair skinned, and I definitely spent my fair share of time in the sun growing up near the beach. Please choose me to try the product! I would love to address this issue, the sooner the better!

  15. I have inherited seborheic keratosis age spots all over my body. at 45 my days of wearing shorts are over. i have tried everything. i would give anything to get rid of these embarassing spots. any chance these supplements would help????

  16. [...] oil, and apple cider vinegar. These are applicable to those who can’t afford the other treatments.What are age spots? These are the marks on your skin which are black, brown, and even gray in color….content/uploads/2012/01/age-spots.jpg">oval in shape. These can vary from a freckle size to more [...]

  17. I’ve heard that applying Aloe to age spots can be an effective way reduce their appearance. For people with dry or sensitive skin, Aloe is a moisturizing alternative to peels and acidic topical treatments.  For info, check out: http://www.aloeplant.info/see-spot-disappear-with-aloe/

  18. I love Dr. Perricone because he sees the entire picture in the pursuit of beautiful skin. He formulates products that attack the exterior problems while all the time reminding you that your lifestyle and nutrition are of the utmost importance. I am now paying for many happy days at the beach as a youngster. I have a few brown spots on my face and I DO NOT love them :).

  19. I have been using Made from Earth products for many years. I am in my late fifties and no wrinkles yet. Yes, many factors contribute to healthy skin such as using sun block, a healthy diet and exercise. But their Olive Night Cream definitely helped to lighten age spots. You can spend a lot more on other miracle cream. But this is a great product for a reasonable price. I use their Vitamin Moisturizer in the winter. This cream has worked well for me over the years.

  20. I have been embarrassed and ashamed of my skin for years. I have age spots all over my arms, legs, and large ones on my face! I haven’t worn shorts or short sleeved shirts for 15 years! I have 4 sisters with the same skin issues! Please help us! We would appreciate it very much.

  21. I am 32 and already have age spots! I have had many outdoor summer jobs and much sun exposure. I would love to be able to erase these sure signs of age.

  22. If there is no cost I would like to try this for age spots on my face and some one my arms. I am a67 and don’t have as many as some people but I am will to try anything that might work.

  23. i am 64 years old, and have been getting more and more brown spots, and patches on my chest , arms, and face..this is very scary, but i have no med ins, or funds to get them removed..please help me kathy hatter

  24. i am 65 and getting brown spots on my face , and chest.. these are very scary, but i have no medical insurance to get them checked or removed..please help me

  25. I am greatly interested in becoming a Perricone tester. The age spots on my face are the most disturbing because they are above and below my lip area. Also, I have a spot or 2 on my hand. I am 45 year old nonsmoker or drinker and physically in good shape. However, if my concealer wears off I am so self conscious and rushing to reapply before anyone can see the spots on my face.

  26. Why not just have your dermatologist freeze them off? My dermatologist does that for me and it always works…I’ve never had any problems with it.

  27. I have been noticing brown spots as well as white spots on my arms and legs. I hate this and would love to be a tester to see if these can appear less apparent. Please help! Thanks!

  28. All this advice was very interesting and insightful. I am 22 and suffer from sun spots. Today I had a minor surgery where they scraped and burned away the excess melanin. It was incredibly painful and not an option I will pursue again! I have a few small spots left that I would like to lighten or get rid of…. I am wondering though if bleaching will lose its effectiveness after you are exposed to the sun.

  29. Hello
    I am a Latin woman suffering for age spots. I am 43 years old. I would be happy to participate in any spot treatment.
    I had try hidroquinone products, laser and more products for sun spots but I still fighting with the problem.
    Dr. Perricone can you help me? I am a good candidate for you.

  30. used topical Hydroquinine before- but expensive and takes months- seemed to work well, though

  31. I have been using the Vitamin Enhanced Moisturizer (from Made from Earth) and after one month of daily use, here is my verdict: This stuff works. It’s not magic, it’s not a miracle, it doesn’t transform every wrinkle and age spot. But it makes your skin look BETTER than before, which is all we can really hope for, isn’t it?

    I’ve noticed a somewhat dramatic change in the fine lines around my eyes (no, I don’t use a separate eye cream). They are smoother and much less noticeable. The few age spots I’ve developed seem to be lighter. Overall, looking at my face in the mirror now, I sometimes have to do a double-take because my skin looks so much better and brighter. The permanent dark circles under my eyes are even lighter.

    I have acne prone skin and I was nervous about using a new moisturizer, but quickly found that my skin actually CLEARED UP while using this product. Likely, it was due to my regimented focus on skin care in general, but this did NOT contribute to any breakouts at all. Highly recommend the Made from Earth line if you are looking for solutions.

  32. Felicity,

    I also have a problem with syringoma on my eyelids and under my eyes and wondered if you, or anyone found anything to help- perhaps a homeopathic solution? Thanks

  33. I work year round outdoors and am always hoping to find a product line that will help with the all the spots I have aquired. Freezing is not an option, I tried that and now have several permenant white spots, not pretty and hard to cover.

  34. [...] patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin color, as in the case of age spots or “liver spots,” it is because of a common, usually harmless condition known as [...]

  35. I started getting liver spots since last year and would like to try to see if this product can help.

  36. As I get older I am noticing more of these discolorations. I would love to see if this would help the problem.

  37. I would really love to test the Pigment Corrective Topical. I developed age spots on my hands in my 30s. How embarrassing was that!?! Within the last two years I have developed age spots on one side of my face; the side of the face that faced the sun as I was driving to and from work. I need help.

  38. I have very fair skin and due to being ill-informed as to the danger of sun exposure in my 20′s, I have outrageous skin damage-spots, melasma, you name it. I have tried so many products. Currently I am on a something a plastic surgeon concocts right out of his office! It contains 4% hydroquinone, treatinone and 12% glycolic acid. I haven’t been on it long enough to see if it works yet but omg, it HURTS when I put it on so it must be doing something to my face. Of course, I would love to try Dr. Perricone’s Pigment Corrector. Something tells me it will not burn! I’m also interested in the concept of treating this issue from within, supplements for sundamage?! Do tell!

  39. I am 60 years old and would love to have flawless skin without age spots. They are on my cheeks mostly. I really want them to go away. I would be a good tester for you.

  40. I have used various Perricone’s Products on and off since 2006. People had teased about my age spots; they said they could see my age spots from afar. My age spots have faded some since I used the products. But I stopped using the products when I found my syringoma problem had worsen and tried to use Revive. It has not helped either so I am back using Perricone’s products again for 9 months now. Can you suggest products that will help to resolve both my age spots, pores and syringome issues?
    Thanks!

  41. I am 32 so no age spots yet, but I do have freckles. I did have freckles and not-so-great skin, but since I have been using Perricone my skin has gotten better and better; my husband even noticed! So, I would love to try pigment corrective!!!

  42. Pick me Pick me!!! Seriously to date Perricone Skincare is the best I have found. I would love to be a tester. Especially for age spots and firming.
    Thanks!

  43. My Dad is 88 and he has been getting a lot more brown spots on his arms, now they are bleeding should I be concernd about this?

  44. Of all the changes in my skin as I age, the most apparent, and the one I would most like to change, is the appearance of ever-enlarging brown spots. I have tried hydroquinone, but it irritates the area on which it is applied and makes it look even worse. I’m searching for alternatives before considering laser therapy.

  45. I am 65 years young and I would like my face to continue to reflect my youth. I do believe that Dr. Perricone and his products hold the answers to my maintaining healthy looking and youthful looking skin. I am using many of your products but would be honored to be a tester. I believe it can only be a positive experience. Thank you.

  46. My age spots seem to mulitiply everyday. At the age of 46, I am now seeing more liver spots on my legs, arms, hands and face. I was told liver cleanses would do the trick, but I am not seeing any difference. I am now trying Retin A, but doesn’t seem to change anything.

  47. I have age spots on my hands and one on my face and a few on my calves.
    Yes I wish I could apply something and they would disappear. Hoping Dr. Perricone can come up with something to apply to the spots to lighten them up.

  48. I always wondered what age spots were and what caused them. Very informative.

  49. I am currently 48 and holding! But my hands have developed age spots. I would love to find a product that lets me look as young as I feel! Thanks.

  50. I developed some spots on my face after having my daughter at age 40. I haven’t had any success with the products I’ve bought at the drug store.