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Dark Skin Spots on the Face

author image Nicki Howell
Nicki Howell started her professional writing career in 2002, specializing in areas such as health, fitness and personal finance. She has been published at health care websites, such as HealthTree, and is a ghostwriter for a variety of small health care organizations. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Portland State University.
Dark Skin Spots on the Face
Reduce --- don't hide ---dark skin spots on the face. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Hyperpigmentaton, also called liver spots, is usually responsible for the development of dark skin spots on the face. Spots develop deep in the skin, making these impurities difficult to get rid of without treatment. Fortunately, over-the-counter and prescription treatment options are available to minimize the appearance of dark skin spots on the face.


Ultraviolet light exposure is a common cause of liver spots. The skin produces too much melanin, resulting in clumps of melanin. As a result, liver spots occur. Other factors that influence the development of dark skin spots include genetics and aging, according to MayoClinic.com.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

Drugstores offer many different creams for liver spots. For minor skin impurities, nonprescription treatments are a good choice. Select a cream that contains the active ingredients glycolic acid or kojic acid. Other effective active ingredients are hydroquinone and deoxyabutin, according to MayoClinic.com. Using these creams for long periods of time may cause skin irritation. Discontinue use of the product and talk with your doctor if this occurs.

Prescription Treatments

Treat liver spots that don't respond to over-the-counter treatments with prescription topical creams. Your dermatologist will prescribe a cream that contains the retinoids or hydroquinone to fade spots. In-office procedures are also available. Laser therapy is a procedure that damages the melanin clumps, causing them to break up. As a result, the appearance of liver spots improves.

Cryotherapy involves applying a freezing agent to the dark spots to get rid of extra pigment. New skin forms when the skin heals. Freezing does involve a small risk for permanent scarring. Other treatments used for liver spots include dermabrasion and chemical peels. Both treatments focus on removing top layers of skin to generate new skin growth.


Avoid developing age spots by wearing protective clothing outdoors, such as a hat and long sleeved shirts. Wearing a sunscreen that blocks ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays also provides protection. Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before traveling outdoors. This allows the sunscreen to absorb properly, providing the best protection.


Prescription treatments and in-office procedures are expensive. Most insurance companies classify these procedures as cosmetic and won't cover the cost, according to MayoClinic.com. Ask your dermatologist for a procedure cost estimate to determine affordability. Some doctors offer payment plans to assist with spreading out the cost.

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