Age spots • How do I treat them?

Age Spots are flat areas of increased pigmentation on the skin associated with aging and exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Age Spots - Image of the sun, shining brightly above the clouds

They most often appear in older adults who have spent too much time in the sun, which is why you find them on areas of the body that have been exposed to the sun regularly.

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?

  • Flat
  • Brown, varying shades, to black, usually
  • Reddish color, rarely

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

Your doctor may do a biopsy to determine if you have skin cancer. No treatment is required for a true age spot, but some cosmetic options are:

  • Alpha hydroxyl acids
  • Azelaic acid
  • Cryotherapy
  • Electrosurgery
  • Hydroquinone
  • Laser treatment
  • Topical cysteamine
  • Tretinoin

SELF TREATMENT

Others have made claims of efficacy for the following suggestions and treatments, but this information is provided as anecdotal information for your further research.

DIET

A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease and inflammation. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent starting point.  Some believe that skin spots appear when the body is out of balance.

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Cayenne
  • Cinnamon
  • Orange peel and cumin seeds
  • Pine Bark extract
  • Sandalwood powder
  • Turmeric
  • Turmeric with milk as a mask

ESSENTIAL OILS

Some essential oils can be applied topically undiluted but most must be administered in a carrier oil like coconut, sweet almond, or avocado. Always do a skin test on the inside of your forearm before using elsewhere.

  • Argan
  • Carrot seed
  • Cinnamon Cassia (do NOT inhale)
  • Cypress
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Helichrysum
  • Lavender
  • Lovage (for short-term use)
  • Myrrh
  • Neroli
  • Patchouli
  • Pomegranate seed
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood and rose water, topically applied
  • Sea Buckthorn Berry
  • Tea tree
  • Vetiver
  • Ylang Ylang

HYDRATION

Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, and good skin, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

That exercise is beneficial is undisputed. It nourishes the skin by increasing blood flow. It isn’t necessary to be an elite athlete to achieve good health. Do what you can do without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to keep mellow. Stress may not cause excess pigmentation but it may make it worse. Use relaxation methods to deal with anxiety and protect your overall health.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO, EAT, APPLY

Whatever option you choose to lighten spots, you will have to keep at it for a few months, at least

  • Aloe vera
  • Apple cider vinegar, diluted slightly
  • Buttermilk
  • Buttermilk, topically
  • Castor oil
  • Cranberries, topically
  • Cucumber juice
  • Cranberries, crushed and applied to spots overnight
  • Diatomaceous earth, internally
  • Green papaya enzymes as a mask
  • Horseradish
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Lemon juice, fresh and undiluted
  • Liver detox
  • Liver flush
  • Onion juice and honey
  • Onion slices rubbed onto the spot
  • Papaya
  • Quit smoking to improve skin quality
  • Vitamins A, B12, C and E
  • Watermelon
  • Yogurt

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

  • Acupressure
  • Acupuncture – particularly good for melasma, which is not the same as age spots, but both are caused by hyperpigmentation – https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1869-acupuncture-beats-drug-for-melasma-treatment
  • Chinese Medicine -http://www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com/wrinkles-and-age-spots-secrets-from-the-empress/
  • Homeopathy – It is always advisable to have a homeopathic practitioner choose your remedy, but these are sometimes used:
    • Berberis Aquifolium
    • Cadmium Sulphuratum
    • Sepia Officinalis
    • Sulphur
    • Thuja Occidentalis

PREVENTION

  • Be sure that you are treating age spots and not melanomas
  • Don’t use tanning beds
  • Protect your skin with clothing when you are in the sun
  • Stay out of the sun in the hottest hours of the day
  • Use a natural sun screen
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