Age Spots Treatment

Latest update: April 11, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jennifer Trent MD, FAAD
How it works


Age spots are dark spots or patches on your skin that occur when exposed to the sun.

Several treatments can target these spots.

These can include laser resurfacing, chemical peels, and dermabrasion. While these clinic treatments give quicker results, they are also more costly and have a higher risk of side effects.

There are over-the-counter creams that also fade spots. However, patients must apply these topical creams daily for weeks or months. Prescription creams are more powerful and must be recommended by a

Laser  treatment is a skin resurfacing procedure that can fade dark age spots after  1-2 sessions. Some side effects occur with laser treatment, such as dryness, redness, and hyperpigmentation of the skin, but these will subside over time. Doctors usually do not recommend lasers for darker skin tones as they can cause further hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation.

Light therapy is a treatment that can be done at home or at a medical clinic. A range of lights is available such as blue, red, green, and yellow, which target different skin issues. Light therapy safely breaks down the melanin cells that cause pigmentation in the skin.

Cryotherapy involves the application of a freezing liquid to the skin to destroy the pigmented cells that cause age spots. This breaks down the pigment and renews the cells, making them appear lighter. Cryotherapy may be slightly uncomfortable, but the procedure is quick. Some side effects include scabbing, blistering, swelling, darkening of the spots, and lightning of the skin around the area.

Microdermabrasion is a method that removes dead skin cells and vacuums them away. When paired with a chemical peel, the results are more effective.

Chemical peels treat the face and hands by exfoliating the dead skin and revealing new and clear skin. Rigorous use of sunscreen and sun protection prevents the dark spots from returning.

Home treatments include over-the-counter (OTC) serums and prescription creams. OTC creams reduce melanin production in age spots but are only effective on new marks that are still on the lighter side. Popular prescription creams such as hydroquinone and tretinoin lighten spots over weeks or months. Hydroquinone is a bleaching cream that inhibits melanin production, while tretinoin is a retinoid that exfoliates the skin to improve texture and tone.
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Treating Brown Spots on the Cheeks with a Laser. WARNING strobe-like laser light

Dr. Sandra Lee uses a laser to treat a case of dermatosis papulosa nigra. She explains who is more likely to develop this skin condition. She describes the procedure by which they are removed. The procedure is shown from beginning to end.

Tips for Dark Spots, Hyperpigmentation, and Melasma

Dr. L.J Maxfield and Dr. Museeb Shah give tips on dark spots, hyperpigmentation and melasma. The video covers mistakes and how to correct them. They talk about the importance of sunscreen and the impact of the sun on our skin. They discuss the use of supplements to complement sun protection. They consider various causes of the issues they are looking at and talk about the importance of getting the correct diagnosis.