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How do I Remove Age Spots?

By Ron Marr
Updated May 21, 2024
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Just about anyone can develop age spots, and eventually, just about everyone does. These brown, gray, or black spots that crop up as you age are not so much a result of encroaching years as they are a result of overexposure to the sun. It’s better to take steps to avoid these spots than it is to try and eliminate them later, but if such is not possible, there are a variety of methods that can potentially remove age spots.

The spots are generally found on parts of the body that have had the most exposure to ultraviolet rays. They are common on the face, arms, the back of the hands, the shoulders, and upper back. To begin the process to remove age spots, you should first consult with a qualified dermatologist to make certain that the spot is not something more serious. This is especially pertinent to fair-skinned people, and to those who notice a spot that appears seemingly out of nowhere, that is raised, or has irregular borders.

If you wish to remove an age spot, you should know that it is viewed as a cosmetic procedure, and will most likely not be covered by insurance. For that reason, if cost is a factor, you might want to simply cover the age spot rather than remove it. Doctors can prescribe bleaching creams that will sometimes fade the spot, and steroids are also a possibility. Over-the-counter creams are less effective, and as a rule their efficacy will be minimal at best.

Treatments to permanently remove age spots are not normally dangerous, however they can be cost prohibitive. A clumping of melanin, the skin pigment that causes you to tan, causes the spots. Laser therapy can destroy these areas of excess melanin production, and will not damage the surface of the skin. A number of laser treatments will be required to fully remove age spots, and the dark area should fade away over the course of several months.

Other methods of removing age spots include cryotherapy, a procedure that freezes the dark area and eliminates the unwanted pigment. There is a small danger that cryotherapy might leave a scar. In dermabrasion, a brush will rotate over your skin and remove its surface, taking away the pigment that is causing the age spot. After completion you will have a scab, but the age spot should be gone when the scab disappears. Chemical peels utilize an acid solution to burn away outer layers of skin all the way down to the age spot, after which new skin will replace that which was discolored.

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Discussion Comments

By WaterHopper — On Jan 11, 2011

@stormyknight: Dermabrasion is used for many different things. Removing age spots is the most popular reason to have the procedure done. Others seek dermabrasion in cases of severe acne or even removal of tattoos.

The price for a dermabrasion procedure varies, depending on the extent of the work that needs to be done. The average price is between $3000 and $4000.

By momothree — On Jan 09, 2011

@stormyknight: Dermabrasion is often called “skin refinishing” as it is performed to improve the appearance of your skin. From what I have heard, Dermabrasion is pretty painful and the recovery time can be several months.

Your skin is actually scraped to even out the surface. A surgeon performs the procedure. The surgeon uses a hand-held tool which has rotating abrasive wheel attachments. It is designed to remove the layers of damaged skin, similar to exfoliating.

By StormyKnight — On Jan 08, 2011

I want to remove age spots from my face. There are only a couple and, right now, they are not very dark. Does anyone know how dermabrasion treatment works and how much it costs?

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