Dark spots on the skin, sometimes referred to as age spots or liver spots, are areas that have developed more pigmentation. They typically show up in places that are exposed to sunlight more frequently, such as on the face and shoulders. While these dark spots may be associated with aging, they can develop in people under 40. Age spots are often benign, but many people want to get rid of them for cosmetic reasons. While vitamin E is not effective for lightening dark spots on skin, lemons can be effective.
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Sun exposure causes not only dark spots but contributes to the appearance of aging skin when its ultraviolet light produces free radicals. These substances can damage the skin, causing some of the negative appearances of aging. Vitamin E is a type of antioxidant, which may be able to counteract the effects of free radicals. However, vitamin E applied as a topical agent does not work in the same method as sunscreen. According to NYU Langone Medical Center, vitamin E in combination with other antioxidants may help to reduce skin scaling or roughness, but it does not diminish the appearance of dark spots on the skin.
Lemon Juice and Vitamin C
Lemon juice may be promoted as a type of skin care product used to lighten skin because it contains vitamin C, which is a type of antioxidant. This type of vitamin may help to prevent the development of skin spots or keep those you have from becoming darker. Lemon juice may be applied directly to the skin for rejuvenation, but it is more often combined with other products, including those that have antioxidant properties as a method of skin care.
Lemon Juice Mixture
Lemon juice may be combined with other ingredients to form a paste that you can put on the dark spots to attempt to lighten them. Combine 2 tbsp. lemon juice with a small, peeled potato, 1/2 cucumber and 1 tbsp. of organic yogurt in a blender. Apply the paste to your face and neck, and cover it with hot, moist towels, leaving it on for 20 minutes. Avoid using this mixture if your skin has been sunburned or if the combination causes itching or inflammation. This mixture may be used periodically as a type of skin lightener to reduce the darkness of some skin spots.
If you have spots on your skin that seem to be getting darker in color, have an irregular border or are increasing in size, contact your doctor for an evaluation before trying lemon juice or vitamin E products. You can prevent new age spots from accumulating by wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more to protect your skin from damage. Wearing a hat or visor also can shield your skin from the sun and reduce the incidence of sunspots in prominent locations, especially on the face.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Skin Wrinkles and Blemishes Treatment
- NYU Langone Medical Center: Aging Skin
- Acupuncture Today; Hyperpigmentation: Liver Spots; Mary Elizabeth Wakefield; July 2004
- Medline Plus: Liver Spots
- GrannyMed.com: Lemon for Brown Spots
- Natural Health -- Natural Skin Care: Removing Age Spots (And What Are They?)