Get rid of age spots on face fast

Ever glance at your hand, arm, or face and find that you have a new, rogue dark spot that seemingly popped up overnight? Welcome to the club. Despite our best efforts to keep ourselves slathered in SPF, by the time our 30s and 40s roll around, the cumulative damage from the sun's UV rays from daily exposure — not to mention every sunny beach vacation — over our lifetime has racked up, causing spots of discoloration (aka age spots) all over our skin.

Thankfully, there are proven ways to get rid of dark spots — from over-the-counter skincare products that reduce hyperpigmentation to in-office treatments that zap seriously stubborn spots into oblivion. To keep our complexion in check, we tapped a team of skin experts to find out how to reverse sun damage and banish age spots forever.

Ahead, we break down exactly what age spots (and aren't), how to prevent them from forming, and how to get rid of them once they appear.

16 Best Age Spot Removers for Brighter, Clearer Skin

Age Spots, Defined

Age spots, also called sun spots or liver spots, can creep up anywhere but tend to collect on areas of the body that have been exposed to consistent sun exposure (think: face, hands, shoulders). Still, genetics also plays a role, adds Morgan Rabach, M.D., board certified dermatologist at LM Medical NYC.

"Excess sun exposure can result in temporary damage, for example, a sunburn, accompanied by redness and mild swelling or more permanent damage such as localized changes in skin color to a brown appearance — which is a sun spot," says Mila Davis, an aesthetician at Skin to Smile in New Jersey. They are the result of increased melanocyte cells, which are responsible for producing pigment, and often appear flat and darker than your natural skin tone, adds Lauren Abramowitz, PA-C, founder of New York City's Park Avenue Skin Solutions and Clinical Educator for Allergan.

How to Prevent Age Spots

You knew this was coming: Prevention is your biggest ally in the fight against premature skin discoloration. "One common exacerbating factor for these disorders of hyperpigmentation is UV exposure," explains Oma Agbai, M.D., board certified dermatologist and clinical professor at UC Davis. "Being out in the sun can darken the spots and make them more difficult to fade with treatment."

Protect your skin from developing new spots — and stop the current spots from darkening — by wearing a broad-spectrum tinted sunscreen every single day to shield skin from both UV radiation and visible light, like indoor lighting and screens, recommends Dr. Agbai. And she doesn't mince words: "Strict protection from the sun is vital."

While some dark spots may eventually disappear after a few months with proper treatment, more severe sun spots or sun damage may never be removed completely," says Chris Zoumalan, M.D., an oculoplastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. Whether you decide to use skincare products at home or try in-office treatments, there are several ways to tackle sun spots.

At-Home Treatments

Use age-spot targeting ingredients.

Exfoliating acids will help slough away dead skin cells to reveal brighter, more radiant skin — they're popularly found in face masks and serums. You can also look for brightening ingredients, such as alpha arbutin and niacinamide, in moisturizers, serums, and masks.

Start early with vitamin C.

Vitamin C is essentially a do-it-all antioxidant that not only gives skin an overall brighter appearance but also stimulates collagen production and defends against environmental stressors, including the sun and free radicals, to mitigate sun damage. "People with darker skin are less likely to develop age spots but are more likely to develop different 'spots' of hyperpigmentation," says Dr. Agbai. "Vitamin C serums may be helpful for achieving a more even skin tone and topical retinoids such as Differin Gel can be helpful as a gentle peeling agent." Cult classic C E Ferulic serum from SkinCeuticals and super potent Tatcha Violet-C Brightening Serum 20% Vitamin C + 10% AHA also come highly recommended.

Brighten with a supercharged serum.

Skin brightening serums, like Differin's Dark Spot Correcting Serum, harness the power of up to 2% hydroquinone to help diminish the appearance of age spots by essentially bleaching the brown spot, causing its color to fade over time. "Hydroquinone has been used as an over-the-counter lightening agent, which can be safe and effective when used cautiously," warns Dr. Agbai. "Be careful to avoid lightening creams containing topical steroids, as this can cause harmful changes in the skin when used over a long period of time."

Or swap the hydroquinone for tranexamic acid.

We like Dr. Brandt's mighty trio of color-correcting acids in the Dark Spots No More lightweight serum and SkinMedica's Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum. They're formulated with tranexamic acid, the latest hero acid to brighten and battle the toughest spots, However, "Make sure to openly discuss cosmeceuticals you are using with your board-certified dermatologist to make sure they are safe," urges Dr. Agbai.

Apply a careful combination of prescription topicals.

For Black people and people of color, Dr. Agbai recommends dermatologist-prescribed topicals like Tri-Luma, in tandem with salicylic acid 30% chemical peels every few weeks to help fade hyperpigmentation. And speaking of chemical peels ...

Try a chemical peel out for yourself.

Those with lighter skin tones have better luck with at-home chemical peels, especially those that are gentle enough to use daily, like Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel, or the even milder Daily Peel for Sensitive Skin.

How to Get a Professional-Grade Chemical Peel Right at Home

In-Office Treatments

Get your chemical peel done by a pro.

These are strong and effective alternatives to lasers and IPL treatments, and when performed under the careful eye of a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, they can treat most skin tones. "Chemical peels peel off the top layer of skin, thereby lightening sun spots," Davis tells us. People with fair skin tones respond well to trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or glycolic acid-based peels that chemically exfoliate the outer layers of skin to stimulate collagen production and cell turnover, allowing for a new layer of skin with lighter-appearing spots to appear. However, in darker skin, these peels can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, warns Dr. Agbai.

Try microneedling.

"Microneedling repairs and restores the skin, thereby lightening sun spots, explains Davis. "Microneedling causes controlled trauma to the skin that allows the skin’s repair mechanism to ramp up."

Everything You Need to Know About Microneedling, According to Derms

Consider laser therapy.

"Lasers also use intense light and heat, but they are comprised of a single wavelength of light instead of a broad spectrum," says Davis. Just keep in mind that this treatment and other resurfacing methods usually require more than one session and can have lengthy recovery times, she adds.

Opt for an IPL treatment.

To combat brown spots, Abramowitz says IPL treatments are her gold standard. "My go-to IPL treatment is the Lumecca." Addressing discoloration and redness, IPL uses light energy to target skin dark masses, making it safe for fair skin tones, as the color variation between skin and age spot is strong, but IPL can be a risky option for darker skin tones, as the light could mistakenly target more than just the pigment in the unwanted area.

When to See a Professional

If you're dealing with a deeper or darker age spot, it may not respond to OTC topical formulations. Graduating to an in-office treatment, like an exfoliating chemical peel, a laser, or an intense pulsed light (IPL), is the next step to remove discoloration and even out skin tone. Determining which in-office treatment is best for you is largely dependent on skin tone and should be discussed with a skin care professional.

"One area where treatments can differ between people with dark and fair skin is in laser procedures that treat hyperpigmentation, says Dr. Agbai. Also, "People of color should be very careful with chemical peels and peeling agents used at home. The key is to discuss any plans for using an at-home chemical peel or other treatment with a board-certified dermatologist who is familiar with skin of color," she emphasizes.

Also, because age spots are new growths, they always should be looked at by a board-certified dermatologist to confirm what they are, as well as to rule out dangerous spots, like melanoma, stresses Dr. Rabach. A dermatologist will diagnose age spots via a visual exam and a handheld tool called a dermatoscope to look at pigment under the skin.

Unlike skin cancer spots, sun spots don't typically have disparities in color. "True sun spots are harmless and don’t require any intervention or treatment unless they bother you cosmetically. However, if you have any spot that grows quickly, changes in appearance, or seems unusual, you should be evaluated by a doctor," says Adrienne O’Connell, M.D., Medical Director and President of Laguna Beach Aesthetics in California. If you notice a brown spot has uneven pigment and the borders are uneven, it could be a sign of something more serious and should be addressed with a doctor immediately.

How do you get rid of dark spots on your face fast?

Read more to know a few remedies to get rid of dark spots / Dark Spots and to make your skin smooth and soft..
Drink Plenty Of Water. Drinking plenty of water can do wonders to your skin. ... .
Lemon Juice And Yogurt Face Mask. We all know that lemons have a number of benefits. ... .
Buttermilk. ... .
Aloe Vera. ... .
Tomatoes. ... .
Papaya. ... .

Can you remove age spots yourself?

There are no at-home remedies that'll remove age spots entirely. However, you can reduce the appearance of mild age spots by applying creams that gradually lighten them. Typically, patients have to use the creams or serums for a prolonged period of time before noticing a difference.

How long do age spots take to fade?

How long does it take for hyperpigmentation to fade? Once what's causing the dark spots or patches is found and stopped, fading can take time. A spot that is a few shades darker than your natural skin color will usually fade within 6 to 12 months. If the color lies deep in your skin, however, fading can take years.

How do I get rid of brown spots on my face naturally?

At-home treatment.
Aloe vera. Studies have found that aloesin and aloin, which are active compounds found in aloe vera plants, can lighten sunspots and other hyperpigmentation..
Licorice extract. ... .
Vitamin C. ... .
Vitamin E. ... .
Apple cider vinegar. ... .
Green tea. ... .
Black tea water. ... .
Red onion..