How to get rid of age spots

If you have age spots, there are plenty of treatments available, from over-the-counter fading creams to simple, natural bleaching agents, but be aware that it may take several months to see an improvement.

Age spot creams

  • Over-the-counter stain-lightening creams are available but speak to your GP or dermatologist before using them, as they can cause adverse reactions on the skin.
  • Homemade skin lightening creams may also cause a reaction on your skin. Mix a little bicarbonate of soda with enough of a 50:50 solution of hydrogen peroxide (available from pharmacies and some supermarkets) and water to form a gritty paste. Dab onto age spots, allow to dry, then rinse off and pat skin dry.

Natural remedies for age spots

  • Apply the juice of a lemon to the spots at least twice a day. Lemon juice is mildly acidic and may be strong enough to take off the skin's outer layer and remove or lighten age spots.
  • Blend honey and yogurt to create a natural bleach that can lighten age spots. Mix together 1 teaspoon of plain yogurt and 1 teaspoon of honey. Apply, allow to dry for 30 minutes, then rinse. Do this once a day.
  • Coat your spots with aloe vera gel, taken straight from the leaves of a living plant if possible. Cut the leaf and squeeze it to extract the gel. The plant contains chemicals that slough away dead cells and encourage the growth of new, healthy ones. Apply the gel once or twice a day.
  • A remedy for removing age spots is to wipe them with buttermilk. This contains lactic acid, which gently exfoliates sun-damaged skin and pigmented areas.
  • Strawberries make a gentle, effective treatment mask for fading age spots and lightening freckles. Mash 1-2 fresh strawberries and mix with 2 teaspoons of cream to make a sloppy paste. Apply mixture to clean skin, leave for 15 minutes, then remove with a warm, damp face washer and pat dry.

Conceal your age spots

Camouflage age spots with a cosmetic concealer–sold in department stores and pharmacies. Some are enriched with oils to moisturise your skin as well. Ask a sales assistant to help you find the right shade for your skin–usually slightly lighter than your own skin tone–and then show you how to apply it.

The best cure for age spots: Prevention

  • Avoid the sun as much as possible during peak hours–from 10am to 4pm in summer or in hot climates, and from 10am to 2pm for the rest of the year.
  • Every day, 30 minutes before you go outside, apply sunscreen to your face and the backs of your hands. Make sure it has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. The most effective sunscreens for guarding against age spots contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. If you are going to be outdoors for any length of time, reapply every 2 hours.
  • Wear a sunhat with a wide brim of at least 10cm. This will keep the sun off your face and neck and help to stop age spots from developing in those areas. Choose a hat with a cotton lining–woven straw hats don't provide much protection.
  • After you've been out in the sun, apply some vitamin E oil. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant and may help to prevent age spots by neutralising skin-damaging free-radical molecules.