With aging comes those frustrating dark spots on the face and body. But aging isn’t the only cause for spots. Too much UV light exposure is the real cause of those age spots, and that also includes tanning beds—ultimately a no-no for our skin.
The science behind age spots is based around melanin, the pigment in the outer layer of skin that gives us color. When too much melanin concentrates in one patch or small area, we see a dark spot there.
13 Natural Age Spot Treatments
Sun protection is, of course, the most important part of preventing age spots, but for some people, the damage is already done. But even though you may have overdone it in the sun for several years, there are still ways to reduce the appearance of these unwanted spots.
Store-bought serums and creams can be very expensive and harsh, so we did the research, and here are 13 remedies for treating age spots and whitening skin [source].
1. Lemon juice
Lemons play a major part in beauty treatments, including age spots. Lemon juice contains rejuvenating antioxidants, and its citric acid speeds up cellular turnover and essentially acts as a bleach against dark spots.
How does this work? Vitamin C in lemons blocks tyrosinase, an enzyme that is important in pigment production [source].
Lemon spot treatment
Apply a slice of lemon directly to the skin for 15 minutes twice a day. If you have sensitive skin, dilute lemon juice in water or rose water. Expect results within two months, and try to avoid the sun after application.
Easy lemon face cream
- 2 tablespoon plain yogurt
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Mix together and massage into age spots. Leave on for 20–30 minutes and then rinse. Repeat three times a week. Keep leftovers in a lidded container in the refrigerator for 7–10 days.
We’ve discussed the beauty benefits of turmeric more than once because it truly is such an amazing ingredient. And by inhibiting pigment production [source], curcumin (one of the primary components of turmeric) also lightens age spots, scars, and other discolorations.
- 2 tablespoons milk or rice water
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon organic turmeric powder
Mix the ingredients together and use it as a face mask or just dab onto dark spots with your ring finger. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse with warm water.
Apply 2–3 times a week. Keep in a lidded container in the refrigerator for 7–10 days.
Mix into a paste. Dab onto dark spots with your ring finger. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse. Repeat 3 times a week.
3. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent that’s sure to get rid of dark spots.
Just mix equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide and whole milk and apply to dark spots with a cotton pad. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse. It’s a good idea to patch test for sensitivity before doing a full application.
Parsley is well-known in the beauty world for its skin-lightening properties [source], making it great for dark spots and discolored skin. The herb is rich in apiol, a compound that, when applied to the skin, acts like a mild bleaching agent to break down excess skin pigment.
Lightening face mask
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon yogurt
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Combine the ingredients. Apply the mask to your face, neck, and chest for 15 minutes, then rinse. Repeat twice a week.
Parsley spot treatment
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoon sour cream
- 1 teaspoon honey
Combine the ingredients, and dot onto age spots. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes, then rinse. Repeat 2–3 times a week.
5. Buttermilk or yogurt
Buttermilk, yogurt, and milk all contain lactic acid, which naturally and gently exfoliates the skin [source] to remove blemishes and brown spots.
Simply apply directly to spots, leave on for a few minutes, and then rinse. If your skin is oily or acne-prone, add a little lemon or lime juice to the mixture to avoid over-moisturizing.
Triple lightening face mask
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon plain yogurt
Apply to spots and leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse. Repeat 2–3 times a week.
6. Apple cider vinegar
Here, again, is another excellent use for apple cider vinegar. Thanks to the fact that it’s a natural skin resurfacing agent, it helps shed dead skin cells and reduce the appearance of age spots.
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants to treat and help prevent sun damage [source], while the apple cider vinegar exfoliates to even out skin tone.
After steeping a green tea bag in hot water, allow the tea to cool to room temperature, and then discard the tea bag. Add the apple cider vinegar and mix.
You can apply with a cotton ball or spritz with a spray bottle. Store the remainder in the refrigerator for no longer than 10 days.
Mix one part apple cider vinegar, one part water, and a touch of honey and apply over age spots once a day (let it soak in for 20–30 minutes before rinsing).
7. Papaya or pineapple
Tropical fruits have plenty of benefits for our skin. Both papaya and pineapple contain certain enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids that work to remove blemishes, reduce age spots, and even treat acne [source].
Pineapple/Papaya age spot mask
Combine 1/4 cup chopped fresh pineapple (you can also use canned pineapple) or papaya with 1 tablespoon of coconut milk. Apply evenly over your face, neck, and chest, and let sit for 10–15 minutes. Rinse, pat dry, and slather on moisturizer.
Don’t overdo it with a mask like this; once a week is plenty. And since you are removing a layer of dead skin cells, you might be extra sensitive to UV light exposure—so be sure to stay out of the sun and apply SPF daily.
Sandalwood powder is great for lightening acne scars on your face. Sandalwood speeds healing and lightens hyperpigmentation. It is known to even out the skin tone by inhibiting the skin enzyme that produces pigment [source].
Age spot oil
Combine 3 drops of sandalwood essential oil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or almond oil and rub into age spots each night before going to bed and leave on overnight.
Sandalwood face mask
Mix a pinch of sandalwood powder with turmeric powder (for its known skin bleaching ability), and add water or hydrosol to make a thick paste. Apply it to any areas of scarring or discoloration, and rinse after 20 minutes.
This herb contains both vitamin C, which slows the production of melanin, and glucosinolates, which increase circulation and flush waste from the body.
For a quick recipe, apply a horseradish paste on the skin for 15 minutes and rinse. You can do this a few times a week to combat those spots.
For more problematic spots, grate one piece of horseradish 4–5 inches long and combine with a half cup of apple cider vinegar, and then place in a glass jar. Mix well and leave for 2 weeks, shaking the mixture once a day.
After two weeks, apply to your spots three times a day for one month. Refrigerate the mixture.
Ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory that is known to combat aging [source]. One of its primary antioxidant compounds, shogaol, helps break down built-up melanin to fade discoloration [source]. It also helps protect the skin from UV rays to prevent sun damage that leads to new spots forming over time.
Combine the ingredients and apply to spots; rinse after 15 minutes. Use three times a week.
- 1/2-inch fresh ginger root, grated
- 1 ounce hot water
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Steep ginger root in hot water, then strain. Combine ginger water with apple cider vinegar in a lidded jar. Apply to dark spots nightly. Store toner in the refrigerator for 7–10 days.
Alpha-hydroxy acids in pumpkin increase cell turnover to even out skin tone. Plus, its vitamin C inhibits the production of melanin, preventing new age spots from forming.
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
Mix the ingredients and apply to your face in any area of skin discoloration. Let sit for 15 minutes and rinse. Repeat 2–3 times a week.
12. Licorice root
Licorice root’s unique compounds break down melanin to fade age spots while also encouraging cell turnover to reveal brighter, more even skin underneath. The plant’s antioxidants can treat damaged skin and help new discoloration from forming [source].
- 3 licorice tea bags
- 3 cups water
Steep tea bags in water, and remove tea bags after 10 minutes. Let the tea cool and dot it onto age spots, apply as a face mask, or simply soak your hands. Leave on for 10 minutes and rinse. Repeat twice a week.
13. Rice water
Rice and rice water are popular in many parts of Asia for this small, unassuming grain’s ability to nurture skin and especially for how it deals with age spots and pigmentation. Combined with lemon juice for exfoliation, these two super common ingredients go a long way to brighten and even out skin tone.
Brightening rice water hand soak
- ¼ cup cooked rice
- ½ tablespoon agave nectar
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup water
Ideally, this hand soak should be done at nighttime due to the photosensitivity of the lemon juice.
In a blender, combine the rice, agave nectar, and lemon juice. Transfer to a large bowl and mix with 1 cup water.
Use the soak by dipping your hands in the bowl and rubbing in small circular motions all over the backs of your hands. Use light pressure for 1–2 minutes, and then allow to soak for several more minutes before rinsing with warm water. Pat dry and follow with the rice milk toner below.
Rice Milk Toner
- 1 cup rice
- 2 cups water
- Spray bottle or jar
Over high heat, combine 1 cup rice with 2 cups water. Leave uncovered. Since you don’t want the water to evaporate completely, like when cooking rice for a meal, you’ll want to keep your eye on the pot.
Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pot from the stove—the consistency of the rice mixture should be a bit soupy now. Strain out the water into a bowl or mug, and discard the rice.
Transfer this rice milk to a spray bottle or glass jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. After your hand soak, spritz this toner on the backs of your hands, or use a cotton round to apply and follow with moisturizer.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Rina Mary Allawh, M.D., a dermatologist who practices adult and pediatric medical dermatology, skin cancer treatment, and cosmetic dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.54