How to Lighten Dark Sun Spots on the Face

Your body relies on a pigment known as melanin to give your skin its color. When exposed to the sun, the cells that house melanin are released and the skin darkens, according to the DermaNetwork website. This results in dark spots, which are also known as liver spots, lentigos, age spots and lentigenes. These troublesome spots can appear on your shoulders, forearms, hands and face, areas where the sun most often hits. The number of dark spots you experience increases with age. Because you may consider them unbecoming, you may want to lighten them.

Step 1

Apply a topical cream that contains active skin lighteners, advises RealSelf, a physician-written skin-care website. Several active ingredients can minimize the age spots. These include retinoid creams, which break up pigmentation; and hydroquinone, kojic acid and vitamin C, which lighten brown spots. These ingredients are available over-the-counter, but may be more effective in prescription-strength form.

Step 2

Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of 15 to prevent sun spots from darkening as you are treating them, RealSelf advises. Additionally, treatments may make the skin more sensitive to the sun.

Step 3

Talk with your dermatologist about having chemical-peel treatments. Chemical peels can help to reduce the appearance of sun spots by removing the outer layer of skin to reveal a healthier layer beneath. Several peels may be needed to fully eradicate the spots.

Step 4

Undergo laser treatment designed to remove brown spots, the DermNetNZ website advises. A variety of green-light and red-light laser treatments are available.

Things You'll Need

  • Topical cream to reduce dark spots

  • Sunscreen


Minimize the appearance of age spots with a peach-toned concealer, "Good Housekeeping" magazine advises. Peach colors help to neutralize brown tones. A concealer in a pot typically is thicker and can cover darker areas. Apply before putting on your foundation.

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