If you’ve been noticing brown spots, or liver spots, on your face, you’re not alone.
You probably feel like you just can’t get ahead when it comes to skin care. Perhaps you suffered from acne in adulthood, and now you already have age spots!
That said, the term “age spots” can be a bit of a misnomer.
While brown spots are most common in people over 40, they are also common with people who have fair skin, or a history of sun exposure. Even though brown spots on face are common, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about them.
This guide will give you options for preventing brown spots, and even removing or reducing existing ones.
What causes brown spots on face?
Whether you call them brown spots, liver spots, or age spots, they are all caused by the same thing.
Essentially, brown spots are a form of sun damage.
Unlike other forms of sun damage, like sunburn, age spots aren’t caused by a concentrated incident of prolonged exposure to the sun. Rather, they are caused by exposure to the sun over the span of several years.
Brown spots on face are common because these spots tend to form in places that receive a lot of sunlight. Doctors believe that the exposure to sun may cause the skin to produce excess melanin, which creates skin pigmentation.
This extra melanin results in the brown spots that have come to be associated with aging.
How can I prevent brown spots on face?
It is always easier to prevent skin damage than it is to reverse skin damage.
If you’re reading this and you don’t have any brown spots on face yet, pay attention. Now is the time to start taking steps to protect your skin.
Even if you already have brown spots, don’t skip over this section. Before you start trying to get rid of brown spots, you need to take steps to prevent more spots from developing.
There’s no point in getting rid of brown spots if they’re just going to be replaced with new ones!
Additionally, these prevention tips will stop existing spots from darkening.
Here are our favorite tips for preventing brown spots.
Wear Sun Screen
The first rule of skin care is to wear sunscreen.
Sunscreen isn’t just for the beach. To prevent brown spots on face, you need to wear sunscreen every day.
As a general rule of thumb, you should use sunscreen whenever you plan to be outside for more than 15 minutes. You should also reapply every two hours.
You don’t need to go out and get SPF 100 either. According to dermatologists, SPF 15 is sufficient to block 94% of the sun’s harmful rays.
Don’t forget that there are many face moisturizers that contain sunscreen. These usually contain enough protection for daily use.
Limit Sun Exposure
As we’ve already stated, brown spots are mostly caused by sun exposure. To prevent brown spots, then, it makes sense that you would have to limit sun exposure.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit. It just means you need to be smart.
The sun is at its strongest between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. As much as possible, you should try to limit outdoor activities during these hours.
When you do spend time outside, try to take breaks where you spend time in the shade. This will limit your exposure to damaging rays.
Adjust your diet
While sun exposure causes the majority of age spots, there are also some foods that can lead to darkened pigmentation on your skin.
Saturated fats and iron are two food types you will want to limit.
In other words, you should cut back on red meat.
Additionally, increasing your intake of antioxidants will prevent skin pigmentation. The best sources of antioxidants are fresh fruits and vegetables.
In addition to helping prevent age spots, this is great all-around advice for a healthier diet.
Is it possible to get rid of brown spots?
If you’ve already begun developing age spots, don’t despair.
There are steps you can take to reduce and lighten these spots.
Keep in mind that these solutions won’t get rid of your brown spots overnight. It took a while for these spots to develop, and it will take a while to remove them as well.
You may be surprised to learn that it’s possible to reduce brown spots on face with items you likely already have on hand.
Onion Juice and Apple Cider Vinegar
Onions are an antioxidant, which we’ve already mentioned are important for reducing pigmentation.
Meanwhile, apple cider vinegar will remove dead layers of skin. This will allow the onion juice to do its work.
Mixing these two common grocery items can create a powerful solution for defeating age spots.
Lemon juice has bleaching properties that can help lighten brown spots on face.
For the best effects, apply lemon juice to your face twice a day. If you have sensitive skin, you can cut the lemon juice with water.
You can even make a puree of lemon juice, honey, and shredded potatoes to make a face mask. This mask should be applied and left to sit on the skin for about 20 minutes.
Not only can buttermilk help remove age spots, but it can also actually make your skin healthier. The lactic acid in buttermilk helps it to restore and rejuvenate skin.
Use a cotton ball to dab buttermilk over the affected areas. If your skin is prone to acne, we recommend adding some lime juice to the buttermilk.
Over-the-counter and medical solutions
If you don’t have luck with these home remedies, you can visit your local drug store or dermatologist to explore some other options.
Since aloe comes from a plant, we could have included it on the home remedies list. Many people, however, are most familiar with the aloe purchased at the drug store for treating sunburn.
Whether from the plant or from the store, aloe has many healing properties to help your skin.
For the best results, leave the aloe on for at least 30 minutes after applying it to the skin.
In some cases, doctors may prescribe special bleaching creams to help remove brown spots on face.
These creams usually contain hydroquinone, as well retinoids like tretinoin.
Keep in mind that while these creams can reduce brown spots, they also make your skin more susceptible to UV rays. For this reason, it’s crucial to wear sunscreen whenever using these.
If you feel strongly about removing brown spots on face, there are some medical procedures you can discuss with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon
One procedure is a set of laser treatments, which will destroy melanin-producing cells.
There are also procedures aimed at removing layers of skin so new skin can grow. These include chemical peels and dermabrasion.
Doctors can even use liquid nitrogen to freeze brown spots, much like they do with warts.
Like prescription creams, these procedures will weaken your skin’s ability to protect itself from UV rays. So make sure to apply sunscreen consistently!
When should I be concerned?
For the most part, brown spots are harmless and are merely a nuisance.
In some cases, however, these spots can develop into cases of malignant skin cancer.
Dermatologists recommend following the ABCDE guide to determine whether a mole or a dark spot is cause for concern.
A is for asymmetry. Dangerous spots are typically bigger on one side than the other.
B is for border. It’s good to keep an eye on any spot that has an irregular border.
C is for color. You should consider both the consistency and concentration of color. Spots that contain more than one color, or that are particularly dark may be cause for concern.
D is for diameter. Malignant spots are usually larger. That said, melanomas have been discovered that were quite small.
E is for evolution. This one is the most important. If you notice a spot changing in size or color, you should definitely have it checked out.
In fact, doctors recommend that all adults over the age of 50 visit a dermatologist for a full-body exam. Getting a couple of age spots checked out can be a good way to initiate this visit.
That said, earlier is always better. Just because you’re under 50 years old doesn’t mean you don’t need to go to the dermatologist.
Going to the dermatologist early can help to establish a baseline on particular spots and moles. This can help you and your doctor track whether any spots are becoming dangerous.
Beating the brown spots
Brown spots are common, but they don’t have to be inevitable. There are quite a few steps you can take to prevent brown spots and to reduce spots that already exist.
Ultimately, however, the most important thing is your health. While brown spots may be annoying, make sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t become malignant.
What tricks have you used to reduce brown spots? Did they work? Let us know in the comments!