I’m usually pretty confident in my appearance, but one thing that’s been bothering me for several years are the age spots on the face. I have a few distinct spots on each of my cheeks and one on my left temple. These age spots really bother me, so much that I’ve tried a lot of things to improve them. If you have hyperpigmentation or age spots on the face, here are 8 things you can try to do to improve and lighten them.
1. Wear Sunscreen Every Single Day
I know you’re thinking – how is sunscreen going to help get rid of age spots on the face? Well, it might not get rid of the ones you already have, but it will help prevent new ones. Also, sunscreen will help keep your skin tone more even and ensure you don’t get any further sun damage.
Always wear at least an SPF 30 on your face, and the areas that regularly get sun exposure. I always use sunscreen on my face and neck. Currently, I use this one. It is fragrance-free and super easy on my skin. Plus, it isn’t smelly or greasy. It rubs in pretty well too. If you’re looking for other sunscreen tips, check out this article.
2. Use a Brightening Scrub and Serum
There are several over the counter products that can help to brighten your skin. They might not get rid of spots, but they can help with cell turnover, so your skin appears more even and bright. Look for products that have vitamin C in them and well as retinol (vitamin A derivatives). Lately, I’ve been using this serum and this scrub – both of which are great at getting rid of dead skin to reveal brighter skin underneath.
3. Add a Retinol to Your Routine
Like using sunscreen everyday, you should start a skincare routine that incorporates an over-the-counter retinol or prescription retin-A. Retin-A is proven effective at combating wrinkles, brown spots and aging skin. It really is the gold standard and also works well to heal acne. You will need a dermatologist’s prescription for both retin-a and for hydroquinone. There are over-the-counter versions that include retinol, but they aren’t as powerful as the prescription version. The serum I use does contain retinol and I also use retin-A a few times a week.
4. Try Hydroquinone
If you really want your brown spots to fade without any heavy-duty treatments, you should try hydroquinone. It will fade your brown spots. I tried it for a few months, and my spots completely faded away. But there is a down-side to hydroquinone. Most doctors say you should not use it indefinitely because there are some potential risk factors. The moment I stopped using it, I noticed my spots slowly started to come back. This was a good quick fix, but not a permanent solution.
5. Schedule Regular Facials
Getting regular facials helps to get rid of the dead skin cells so all of the other topical treatments you try will work better. When your skin is properly cleaned, dead skin is removed and pores are clean, your skincare routine will be more effective. Your creams, lotions, and serums will be able to sink into your skin more easily, thus being more beneficial. Your skin will look revitalized and your pores will be minimized.
6. Try Microdermabrasion
Before you try a more advanced medical procedure, microdermabrasion is a good step to even skin tone and fade brown spots. Microdermabrasion can improve hyperpigmentation, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and also treat acne. You can get microdermabrasion done at a medical clinic, or you can do your own version at home with a system like this.
7. Get a Series of Chemical Peels
If you have a little more time and money, you might want to try a series of chemical peels. Chemical peels are great for refreshing your skin and for fading brown spots. They also help your other skincare products work better by removing that top layer of skin. I have tried chemical peels, but I never followed through with a series of chemical peels, like the dermatologist suggested. The benefit of regular peels is that you can see a cumulative effect. I only did two of them and they were several months apart. What I did like about the chemical peel – I did notice my skin felt smoother and looked brighter almost immediately. I also noticed it helped clear up some of my hormonal acne.
8. Try Intense Pulsed Light or Laser Treatments
If you’ve tried everything else and you still aren’t happy with the results, you might want to try intense pulsed light (IPL) or another type of laser resurfacing treatment (like fraxel). I visited Dream Spa Medical and they gave me two sessions using one of their light-based lasers.
I’ve thought about trying IPL for quite awhile because there were two brown spots on my left cheek that drove me crazy. As a teenager, I got some pretty intense sun damage with all the laying out I used to do. I can distinctly remember a time when I was in south Florida, I didn’t wear sunscreen and ended up with blisters on my cheek. I blame that trip and my lack of sunscreen use in my teen years for the brown spots I have now.
Given that I’ve tried everything else, with only moderate success, I wanted to try IPL to finally lighten up those spots, especially the ones on my cheeks.
When I arrived at Dream Spa Medical, I met with Slone, who walked me through the dark spot treatment. The first time I visited, she gave me a cleansing facial, which was extremely relaxing. She said it would help to get rid of all the dirt on my skin so that the IPL machine would work better. She then did an all-over treatment using the IPL machine. The treatment itself was only mildly uncomfortable. As other people have said about IPL, it just felt like tiny little stings or rubber band snaps. It really wasn’t painful. My skin was just slightly red when we were done. She put a little serum and sunscreen on my face and there was absolutely no downtime with the first treatment.
I did see mild improvement in my brown spots just with the first treatment. However, the bigger brown spots on my cheeks were still visible. I spoke with Slone again, and she suggested I try the IPL spot treatment to get rid of the bigger brown spots. The only compromise with the spot treatment is that the spots will turn much darker before they fall off, which takes 7-10 days. Despite my hesitation, I figured the dark spots would be worth it so I could finally see clearer skin.
The second spot treatment was very straight-forward. It did hurt a bit more than the first treatment, but it just felt like a mild burn. She put some aloe on the spots, and they felt better. When I first left the spa, the spots had already darkened a bit, and my skin looked red. By the next morning, the spots were noticeably darker and were tender.
I’ll be honest with you, the spots were not pretty. They were very dark, pretty large, and were not that easy to cover with makeup. I didn’t look very cute for about 5 days, despite my effort to cover the spots with makeup. But here’s the thing, after 5-6 days of not looking very cute, the spots started to peel off! I know it sounds crazy, but the spots literally started coming off as the skin turned over. Within a week, all of those brown spots were gone. By 10 days, the skin underneath the spots was healing and just a little pink.
I am so happy I tried IPL and I am so thankful to Dream Spa Medical for helping me get rid of these spots that have bothered me for years. Although they are gone, I still need to be vigilant to wear sunscreen so that the spots don’t come back (or new ones don’t form).
If you’ve struggled with brown spots or uneven skin tone, I highly suggest you consider IPL. If you’re in the Boston area, you should visit my new friends at Dream Spa Medical. They are very knowledgeable and made the experience feel so comfortable and easy.
I hope these tips help you deal with your own age spots on the face. Do you use another treatment that I didn’t mention? If so, I’d love to hear about it.
Dream Spa Medical provided services in exchange for my experience. All opinions are my own.