How Can I Get Rid of Age Spots?

I am guilty of not using proper skin protection from the sun..ok, i actually tanned every day of my 20s and 30s!!! So now I need to know what to do about age spots on my face.  Also seeing age spots on hands and maybe even my legs.  What can I do to get rid of these spots?

Doctor Answers 29

I actually just completed a study with the Good...

I actually just completed a study with the Good Housekeeping Institute that tested several products claiming to reduce the appearance of age spots.

Of the five products that we tested, Murad’s Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Gel performed the best, with Good Skin’s All Bright Spot Treatment coming in second.

New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.3 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Getting rid of Sunspots in 4 Easy Steps

The four steps to beautiful skin;

1- Good Sunblock - Always use a zinc oxide based sunblock. It has broader UVA and UVB coverage than anything else. It works immediatley upon application, not the case with avobenzone based products. It does not have estrogen mimetic effects like avobenzone based products. It won't make free radicals like avobenzone based products. Get the idea - Zinc is good! But it goes on too thick - wrong! In my practice we sell EltaMD sunblock that has 8 different products designed for any lifestyle or skintype.

2-Retin-A- The BEST skin care product - exfoliates, thickens the dermis, reduces the loss of elastin, improves acne, reduces skin cancer, and most importantly - Disperses Melanin granules, in other words it diminishes brown spots.

3- Hydroquinone - skin bleach that temporarily bleaches the skin to improve the sunspots.

4- Lasers and intense pulsed light treatments - Used as a last resort. They work too well sometimes. The loss of melanin sometimes results in Ivory white spots on the skin - this is worse than the alternative. The treatments are also far more expensive than the treatments described above.

Robert M. Freund, MD, FACS

New York, NY

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

How to remove age spots

I think before answering this question we need to define "Age spots". As this is not a term physicians use, thus it is important to know precisely what type of lesion is being called an "age spot" by a consumer- for instance a solar lentigine is a flat tan to brown spot most often called an age spot. Laser and cryosurgery are common treatments for this type of lesion. Seborrheic Keratosis are sometimes called "age spots" and these should not be treated with laser, while cryosurgery may be a better alternative. Other "spots" often referred to as "age spots" are cherry hemangioma and these should be treated with laser.

Steven Hacker, MD
West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

How to Get Rid of Age Spots

There are a number of treatments that can be used in isolation or in conjunction.

  1. Lasers such as Halo provide gradual improvement for age spots.
  2. Hydroquinone creams such as Obagi provide excellent results for many patients.
  3. A good sunscreen is a must.

The important aspect is to be under the care of a qualified professional who can guide you through the treatments and ensure their proper use.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

You want to fade the spots that you can see now, prevent...

You want to fade the spots that you can see now, prevent them from coming back, and also limit the number that appear in the future.

To treat the brown spots you have, creams and lotions containing hydroquinone will give you the best results.

Kojic acid is another ingredient that can be helpful, but it is slightly less effective than hydroquinone.

Retinoid creams, which are derived from Vitamin A, are very helpful in lightening brown spots and they also help improve skin texture.

I often recommend creams that contain all 3 ingredients, but if you cannot find one like that, use a retinoid at night and a hydroquinone in the morning.

It is very, very important that you use a sunblock every day. The sun is the number one culprit in the appearance of brown spots. If you are going to spend time and money lightening your brown spots, you don't want to go out in the sun and undo all your hard work.

Some of these lightening agents also slightly increase your sun-sensitivity, so you want to be sure to protect yourself.

The most stubborn spots can be lightened or removed with chemical peels or lasers. The lasers most often used are the ruby, alexandrite, and Nd:YAG. Intense pulsed light, or IPL, can also be helpful.

Jordana S. Gilman, MD
Washington Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Removing Age Spots/Sun Spots

The number one reason that people come to my office is concern and removal of age/sun spots.  Age spots are actually spots that are derived from the sun.  There are many different ways to remove them depending on your skin type and the nature of the sun spots.  For fair patients, lightening creams and chemical peels work well.  Fraxel and Clear and Brilliant are great lasers for this purpose for all over sun damage.  For "spot" treatment in all patients on the body, including my Asian patients, I use the Alex-Trivantage Laser for amazing results.  Please consult a board certified dermatologist who is an expert in skin care and sun spots for the best cosmetic results.  Best, Dr. Green

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Skin care and IPL treatment for sun spots and damage

If a patient has really extensive sun spots caused by sun exposure and damage then I usually suggest Intense Pulse Light treatments, otherwise known as IPL, in combination with a comprehensive, active, skin care program. 

A holistic skin care regime, like Miracle 10 skin care, will begin the process of skin brightening and pigment correcting, and will normalize the skin with exfoliation and moisture therapy. Miracle 10 skin care incorporates active ingredients such as Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Vitamins A & C, and Kojic acid – each of which work individually to diminish brown spots and promote and even texture to the skin.

What’s more is that it conditions our patients to begin taking care of their skin and preventing further damage! Now quit sun tanning! :)

Frank Lista, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 111 reviews

Different ways to eliminate age spots

Age spots, also known commonly as liver spots, are the result of prolonged, unprotected exposure to the sun. There are many different ways to treat these spots. An at-home approach would involve specialized skin lightening creams that contain hydroquinone and/or kojic acid. Other times a chemical peel may be preferable. For the quickest and most intensive approach lasers may be used. Whatever method you choose be sure to complement it with a powerful broad-spectrum sunscreen to ensure that your spots don't return.

Yael Halaas, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Age spots can be reduced through many means

Age spots can be removed and reduced with lasers and intense pulse light. CO2 resurfacing can take most sun spots away that are at a certain depth. Deeper spots can be removed with different lasers such as ND YAG, Intense pulse light, alexandrite, ruby lasers.

CO2 resurfacing has some down time and you might need up to a week or more to recover. The other lasers have little downtime but may need multiple treatments and sometimes does not completely remove the spots. One thing to realize is that these spots can come back if you don't take care of your skin. For less invasive approaches, sunblock that blocks uvA, and uvB, topicals like retin A, hydroquinone and hydrocortisone can help but are less effective and take a long time to see results.

Chemical peels can also help in different degrees. The optimal treatment will different depending on what type of skin type you have, whether you are Caucasian, Asian, African american etc.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Pigment can be removed by a number of lasers - the...

Pigment can be removed by a number of lasers - the Erbium YAG, the Nd YAG, Alexandrite, Carbon Dioxide - and the new PSR3 (plasma skin resurfacing) technology, but the correct one depends on your skin type, the type of pigmentation, the area, the colour and the depth at which it lies in the skin.

Choose a specialist with several types of laser at his or her disposal.

David Gault, MD
London Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.