by Geri Walton ~ September 22nd, 2008
Brown spots, which are sometimes called liver spots, age spots, or lentigines, are often associated with aging, but they actually have nothing to do with age. Brown spots occur because of ultraviolet sun exposure, which then creates uneven melanin production, and the only way to protect against such spots is to wear a sunblock, not a sunscreen. (If you’re unsure of the differences, read Sunblock Versus Sunscreen.) In addition, when you wear a protective sunblock, you need to make sure its active ingredient is either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. The sunblock also needs to protect against both UVA and UVB rays, and make sure you reapply it every hour or so.
Most people find brown spots unsightly, and although they pose no threat, people want them removed or lightened. There are numerous ways to remove them: You can have laser treatments, cryotherapy (freezing), dermabrasion, or chemical peels. There are also many products on the market that can lighten the brown spots, but when you’re looking for a product to fade your spots, you need to make sure you purchase a quality product and avoid products that contain mercury (to learn more read Mercury is Toxic, Toxic, Toxic), steroids, or other harmful ingredients, which can ultimately damage or harm your skin. Some dermatologists recommend products with hydroquinone because it produces consistent and fast results, but there are alot of questions about it’s safety, and, so, I would suggest you look for products that are hydroquinone-free because many of them are just as effective. Additionally, if you decide to use a product to lighten your skin, you’ll be more susceptible to sunlight, so you’ll need to wear a sunblock.
If you want to try natural remedies to lighten your brown spots, here’s some of the common ones:
- Aloe Vera. Some people claim aloe vera reduces brown spots. You rub it on twice a day and the brown spots disappear within a month.
- Castor Oil. Rub castor oil directly onto the spots, both morning and night, and spots are supposed to be gone within a month.
- Lemon Juice. As lemon is acidic, it’s supposed to bleach the spots, just like it would your hair. If you dab the brown spots twice a day, claims are you should have no spots in two months.
If you try the natural remedies and they don’t work, or if you’d rather go straight for commercial products, here’s the top six—placed in order by the product’s effectiveness—gleaned from various web surveys and sources.
- Meladerm Skin Lightener. Over and over I saw this product listed as 99% effective and highly touted by those who used it. It is a mild product that brightens your overall complexion while also lighting age spots, freckles, sun spots, scars, skin discolorations, and even birth marks. It contains moisturizers to soften the skin, and its made from natural plant extracts and has some synthetic ingredients. The manufacturer claims you can “diminish the appearance of dark spots and skin discolorations in 2 weeks.” It’s $49.99 for 1.7 ounce cream.
- Revitol Skin Brightener Cream. This is a non-toxic herbal plant-based cream that works to reduce age spots, freckles, and uneven pigmentation with natural emollients. It has added moisturizers, synthetic ingredients, and vitamins A, C, and E to nourish the skin and promote healthy skin tone. The price is $29.95 for a 30 day supply.
- SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel. This product is enriched with kojic acid and can be used on sensitive skin. It diminishes the appearance of brown spots and promotes a clear, fresh-looking complexion. It’s $52.00 for 30 ml.
- Garden Girl Natural Skin Care Bright Idea Skin Brightening Cream. Garden Girl was born from a passion to provide natural skincare and healthy lifestyles. You use this product daily to lighten age or dark sports. It will also brighten and even out skin complexions over time. $38.00 for 2 ounces.
- Kiehl’s Bright Brightening Botanical Moisture Fluid. This product helps even out skin tone over time and reportedly makes it more transparent and fresh. It also hydrates and clarifies so that your skin glows. It’s priced at $40.00 for 2.5 fluid ounces.