If you’re over 30 or grew up in the southern part of the US, you’ve probably noticed them. Those little brownish spots that seem to appear overnight on your forehead that, no matter how hard you try, you just can seem to scrub away (and by the way, please stop trying to scrub them off, you’re causing more damage!). Age spots, also known as sun spots because they are most often caused by sun damage, are flat, benign areas of hyperpigmentation. These brownish spots usually occur on the hands and face, with the forehead most often affected. Conventional treatments for hyperpigmentation include bleach and Retin-A, which have an array of serious side effects including cancer, reproductive toxicity and skin allergies. Cryotherapy and light therapy are viable treatments options but can cost thousands of dollars.
Fortunately, there are several natural and amazingly effective ingredients to fade and prevent age spots. Here are the top 5 to look for in your skincare (and in your fridge!):
1. Antioxidants – Not only do antioxidants help fight free radicals on the inside when taken orally, but they do the same when applied topically. Vitamin C specifically is an excellent choice because of its additional natural bleaching properties.
2. Enzymes – Natural enzymes are found in such fruits as papaya, pineapple and apple. These enzymes safely and effectively accelerate the body’s own exfoliation process thereby removing dead and damaged skin cells and fading age spots.
3. Yogurt – Yogurt contains lactic acid which lightens and exfoliates skin. You can use yogurt alone for 20-30 minutes or add honey for some extra hydration and anti-bacterial benefits. You can also mix it into powdered masks to add the lightening benefits.
4. Aloe – Aloe is commonly known to facilitate healing and does so by promoting new cell growth. For this same reason it is an excellent way to speed up exfoliation and remove damaged skin cells. Apply aloe from a plant or aloe juice to the spot twice a day for a month. Or look for serums that contain high contents of aloe.
5. Lemon – Dab some fresh lemon juice on the spot twice daily. If you are going outdoors, wait for the juice to dry as it increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight and wear sunblock. It may take a few months, but the acidity in the juice will cause the spots to fade away.
by Sabrina Posillico
Cosmetics Expert and author