As the name suggests, age spots start to appear as we get older and usually as a result of years of sun exposure. While these dark areas on the skin are perfectly normal, they’re not necessarily welcome. So can we get rid of them? Or at least minimise their appearance?
A quick Google search reveals a number of clinical treatments such as freezing, chemical peels, dermabrasions or Ekstata, which is when a doctor holds liquid hydrogen peroxide to the dark spots for an extended period. But for many, these treatments seem extreme and may be expensive, so we’ve compiled some natural and affordable DIY alternatives.
Along with the daily use of an SPF cream of 30 or more to protect your skin from further damage, these remedies further prevent the appearance of dark spots and clear any you might already have:
Chickpea, spot free!
For this recipe you’ll need a 1/2 cup of cooked chickpeas and a 1/4 cup of water. After the chickpeas are cooked and cooled, mash them up with a fork, gradually adding the water to create a paste. Place this paste over the dark patches and allow it to dry for 20 minutes. Once the paste is dry it will come off by itself, so there’s no need to rinse. Keep the paste in the fridge in between uses and repeat every night for the best results.
Juicy… lemon juicy
The natural acids in lemon juice work to lighten dark spots. Simply juice half a lemon and apply to your age spots. Allow this to sit for a few minutes then rinse off with warm water. If you’re feeling particularly lazy, you can simply cut up the lemon and lay slices over the spots.
Warning: Apply this only at night! When lemon juice comes into contact with sunlight it will have the opposite effect on the skin and darken, rather than lighten, the spots. Also, always remember that lemon juice and eyes don’t get along.
Nothing to cry about
Onions, who would have thought? Slice up a red onion, and rub over the dark spots before allowing them to sit on the focus area of skin for a few minutes. Wash off with warm water. There are also recipes that involve juicing onions but the process sounds tedious and the results are the same.
Did you say dandelion?
You know that sticky sap you get when you break open the green stem of a dandelion? Well, it turns out it’s really good for removing age spots. Simply break open the stem and apply to the focus area. You can do this up to three times a day and there’s no need to rinse it off.
Aloe, old friend
It’s simple. Like really simple. If you can grasp ‘Aloe Vera’ and ‘rub onto dark spots’ you’ve nailed the whole idea. Up to three times a day, whenever convenient and no need to wash off. Plus, this stuff is cheap and easy to find. It might even be growing in your garden!
Apple cider vinegar
We know, it might not smell the best, but the acids in apple cider vinegar can penetrate the skin and help clear up spots. It’s great for spots on your hands, arms and legs. Mix one part vinegar with two parts lotion of your choice and apply to spots. You could easily work this into your daily routine.
Sour cream dream
This mask will gradually lighten the appearance of spots and help prevent new ones from forming. For this recipe, you will need two tablespoons of either sour cream or Greek yoghurt – both contain lactic acid – and one teaspoon of chopped parsley, which contains vitamin C. Mix together and apply it to the face like any other mask once or twice a week, leaving on for around 15–20 minutes before washing off with warm water.
This is a easy one if chopping and blending isn’t your thing. Simply dab buttermilk onto the dark spots at night. Let it dry to your skin before rinsing off with cool water. A recent study revealed that after about three months of regular use, people reported significant improvements with dark spots.
Remember, as with skin care in general, getting spots to fade is a process, so be patient. Some people report seeing changes in just a few weeks, while others say changes required a few months.
Sticking to a routine will get you the best and fastest results. And don’t be afraid to experiment with the recipes depending on what is cheap and easiest for you.
Do you have any tried and true methods to remove or minimise dark spots? Can you share?