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Best Treatment for Age Spots

When it comes to aging on our skin, the appearance of age spots can often make us feel very self-conscious. Age spots are referred to as liver spots, sunspots, senile lentigos and solar lentigines. These dark spots develop on parts of the skin which have had too much sun exposure, such as on the face, hands, arms and chest. As we age, age spots become darker, more prominent, and more numerous. Age spots are more common in adults, above the age of 50, but they can start to appear in people as young as twenty who have spent a lot of time in the sun, particularly without proper sunscreen.

Though age spots can be a signifier of aging skin and sun damage, there are thankfully many excellent treatments in the arsenal of dermatology which can help lighten and remove age spots on the skin. Treatments like Chemical Peels, Hydrafacials, Microdermabrasion, Cryotherapy, and Laser Skin Resurfacing are all incredible non-invasive solutions when it comes to age spots on the skin.

If you’re frustrated by the appearance of dark spots on the skin, NYC cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green is here to help. Dr. Green is an expert in sun spot, age spot removal, and anti-aging skincare. Dr. Green is an internationally renowned specialist in non-invasive cosmetic dermatology treatments, such as Botox®, Kybella®, and Juvederm® injections, Thermage® for skin lightening, IPL, Microneedling®, CoolSculpting®, and cosmetic laser skin treatments. Dr. Green will work with you to improve both the look and feel of your skin and remove those unwanted age spots. Contact the office today to develop your very own personalized skin rejuvenation plan.

What are age spots?

Age spots are small, dark spots on the skin that vary in size from freckle-size to about 1/2 inch in diameter. Though doctors don’t always know exactly why age spots develop, they are often sparked by sun exposure or other forms of ultraviolet light exposure, such as tanning beds. Ultraviolet (UV) light can accelerate the production of melanin in the skin, which is a naturally occurring pigment that gives skin its color. Age spots are often caused by overactive melanin cells, where the pigment becomes concentrated on the surface of the skin.

Age spots can often look similar to skin cancer spots, but they are in fact harmless. These dark spots range from tan to dark brown, and they can often group together on areas where sun exposure is common. If any spots or lesions on the skin change in either size or color, this is an indication that the spot could be cancerous. In this case, you should consult a board certified dermatologist immediately. Dr. Green will be able to quickly determine if the dark spot is potentially cancerous, and can help you to develop a treatment plan that prioritizes your health and well-being.

Are age spots raised?

Age spots are typically flat, oval areas on the skin that have a darker pigmentation than the rest of your skin. A raised, dark spot is typically a Seborrheic Keratosis, which can also develop due to aging and sun damage, but appears more similar to a mole or wart. These raised spots are generally benign and not can be also removed for cosmetic reasons. If any dark spot changes in size or shape, it could be potentially cancerous. In this case, Dr. Green can do a biopsy to determine if the area in question is a skin cancer spot. Typically dark or changing moles may be the first presentation of melanoma, malignant lentigo, or another form of skin cancer.

Can age spots go away?

One of the common characteristics of age spots is that, unfortunately, these flat, oval-shaped brown spots do not go away on their own. Unlike freckles which can fade after sun exposure, age spots stick around, and are highly unlikely to go away on their own. Though age spots do not pose any health risk, they can change the way a patient’s skin looks, often making a patients feel self-conscious.

Can age spots be removed?

Thankfully, age spots are easily treatable through tailored skin care products and non-invasive dermatological techniques. For the majority of patients, the discoloration of age spots can easily be reduced and, in many cases, completely removed through the use of treatments like brightening creams, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing sessions.

How to get rid of age spots (liver spots)

Liver spots and similar skin discoloration can be lightened and eliminated through a variety of treatment options. These treatments include cryotherapy or “freezing” of the age spot cells in order to remove them, laser treatments, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, Cosmelan®, Mesopeels®, and topical lightening creams and lotions. As age spots occur at the base of the top layer of skin (epidermis), the most effective treatments will be able to penetrate this top layer to break down the concentration of melanin cells (melanocytes). This penetration through the top layer of the dermis can also help to boost the amount of collagen in the skin, which can in turn create new skin cells that restore the skin’s youthful appearance. Though there are also over-the-counter creams available that are designed to treat or lighten the appearance of brown spots on the skin through spot treatments, the most effective way to reduce the appearance of or eliminate age spots is through a dermatologist-recommended treatment plan.

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45-54 year old woman treated for age spots

How to get rid of age spots on face?

The most common question our patients ask is to “how to remove age spots on the face”. Typically, the first recommended treatment is a prescribed topical medication from your dermatologist. Go-to active ingredients for prescription topical cream include retinoids (tretinoin) and hydroquinone, which is a bleaching age that can interrupt melanin formation. Hydroquinone comes in different percentages (2%5%, or 8%), and Dr. Green will determine the best concentration based on your skin type.

Dr. Green’s innovative skin care line, MGSKINLABs, offers a line of prescription-based skin bleaching creams that can be used for spot treatment of age spots, brown spots or discoloration on the skin. Her line of skin lightening creams is designed to treat small areas of discoloration on the skin with a powerful hydroquinone formulation. When applying any topical prescription, Dr. Green encourages using a daily moisturizer and SPF sunscreen in order to reduce mild side effects such as irritation and redness.

Non-Invasive Age Spot Treatments

Thanks to innovations in the world of cosmetic dermatology, there are a variety of in-office, non-invasive treatment options available to reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin. Treatments like Chemical peels, Hydrafacials, and microdermabrasion can help to rejuvenate and nourish the skin overall while simultaneously reducing the appearance of age spots. Laser skin resurfacing techniques, such as the Clear + Brilliant, Candela Alex-Trivantage, and Fraxel lasers, are popular methods to rejuvenate the skin with precise application of laser energy. Additionally, cryotherapy can be an excellent spot treatment for patients with small patches of discoloration, while Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy is an effective treatment for patients with lighter skin types seeking to reduce the appearance of age spots on the skin.


For those who are dealing with small areas of pigmented skin or discoloration, cryotherapy can be an excellent option. Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen which is applied to age spots using a cotton-tipped swab to eliminate the darker pigment. After treatment, the skin will temporarily darken in the “frozen” treatment area, and then this scab will slough off, showing healthy, new skin underneath.

Chemical Peels

One reliable skin rejuvenation technique for age spots on the face is that of a chemical peel. Chemical peels are tailor-made treatments that can help with a variety of signs of aging and skin conditions, including age spots and hyperpigmentation. Chemical peels are a skin resurfacing procedure in which a chemical solution is applied to the face to remove the top layers of skin cells, which can help to remove the superficial layer of the skin, the epidermis, and remove age spots and leave a healthy, fresh new layer of skin. Chemical peels are entirely customizable in terms of treatment depth and and strength, ranging from deep phenol peels to superficial glycolic acid peels and trichloroacetic acid peels. After a chemical peel, it’s vital that a patient avoid sun exposure as much as possible in order to prevent any irritation to the newly exposed layers of skin.

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Cosmelan Peels for Melasma

Patients often initially have what appear to be a few sun spots which tend to grow larger, and coalesce. All too often, the sun damage becomes more extensive than a few sun spots and begins to appear as melasma. Melasma is a very frustrating and difficult cosmetic skin condition and is due to a combination of hormones, sun exposure, and genetics. Laser treatments, such as Fraxel, IPL, and Picosure laser can melasma significantly worse. Dr. Michele Green is an expert in NYC in treating melasma and facial hyperpigmentation. With an array of cosmeceuticals, prescription strength hydroquinones, chemical peels, and Cosmelan peels, Dr. Green is an expert in removing and treating facial melasma.


Microdermabrasion is a simple, non-invasive procedure that uses a fine abrasive tip or crystal to remove the outer layer of dead skin. This treatment can help to remove darker pigment from the surface of the skin by removing the epidermis layer, which in turn evens out skin tone. It’s an excellent option for those dealing with sun-damaged skin, age spots, acne scars, or skin discoloration. Additionally, microdermabrasion can be applied beyond the face to the neck and chest in order to blend the skin and reduce any additional sun damage. This procedure is safe for all skin types, and requires no downtime, though patients should plan on keeping a strong sunscreen regimen post-treatment.


The Hydrafacial is a medical-grade hydradermabrasion treatment that is designed to reduce the signs of aging and create all-over facial rejuvenation. The treatment has a three-step process of cleansing, exfoliating, and infusing skin with intensive serums. The process can also be combined with a chemical peel, or with unique anti-aging serums such as Britenal for dark spots, Dermabuilder for collagen production, and Connective Tissue Growth Factor to help create healthy new skin.

Laser Treatments for Age Spots

One of the most popular non-invasive procedures for liver spots on the face and body is that of laser treatments and light therapy. There are a variety of laser treatments that are highly effective in eliminating age spots on the skin, including the Faxel Dual laser, Candela Alex-Trivantage laser, Clear + Brilliant laser, and Intense Pulsed Light laser.

Candela Alex-trivantage

The Candela Alex-trivantage laser treatment is able to remove individual age spots in as little as 1-2 sessions. Each spot is targeted by the laser, which then causes the spot to turn white. After treatment, a scab will form and then heal, removing the discoloration from the skin. This is an excellent non-invasive option for spot treatment on the skin.

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Fraxel & Juvederm before and after – 3 months

Fraxel laser treatment

The Fraxel Dual laser is an excellent option for those who are invested in treating a larger area on the body, such as the face, décolletage, upper back, arms or legs. The Fraxel laser is designed to treat sun damage as well as fine lines, wrinkles and acne scars, which leads to all-over skin rejuvenation. The Fraxel laser is equipped with two wavelengths, the 1927 which treats primary pigmentation and sun spots (age spots), and the 1550 wavelength which treats primary wrinkles, stretch marks, and acne scars. Dr. Green calls the Fraxel® laser the “magic eraser,” as it is able to reverse sun spots and the visible signs of aging. Most patients will need 2-3 treatment sessions, spaced one month apart, for the best cosmetic results.

Clear + Brilliant Laser

The Clear + Brilliant® treatment is called the “mini-Fraxel laser” and is designed to target pores, fine lines and wrinkles, sun spots, and overall pigmentation. This laser treatment is a good fit for patients with all skin types, and there’s absolutely zero downtime required after the procedure. Many patients prefer the Clear + Brilliant laser since they can have this treatment done with no recovery time, and see gradual improvement in skin texture, tone, and sun spots. Since the Clear + Brilliant laser is a “color blind” laser, many Asian, Hispanic, and African American patients who are unable to have the Fraxel laser performed are candidates for this laser treatment for overall skin rejuvenation.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Intense Pulsed Light therapy (IPL), sometimes referred to as a “photo facial” or “Forever Young BBL”, is a non-invasive treatment that improves the tone and texture of a patient’s skin without the need for significant downtime or recovery. It’s a technology that uses different wavelengths of light to smooth the skin and reduce the appearance of discoloration, brown spots, sun damage, and other signs of aging on the skin. IPL is unique in that its treatment reaches deep into the dermal layer of the skin, targeting and eliminating pigment cells that are disrupting the evenness of a patient’s skin tone. It’s safe to use on the face, chest, neck and body, and the treatment takes around 15-30 minutes in total.

Intense Pulsed Light therapy (IPL), sometimes referred to as a “photo facial” or “Forever Young BBL”, is a non-invasive treatment that improves the tone and texture of a patient’s skin without the need for significant downtime or recovery. It’s a technology that uses different wavelengths of light to smooth the skin and reduce the appearance of discoloration, brown spots, sun damage, and other signs of aging on the skin. IPL is unique in that its treatment reaches deep into the dermal layer of the skin, targeting and eliminating pigment cells that are disrupting the evenness of a patient’s skin tone. It’s safe to use on the face, chest, neck and body, and the treatment takes around 15-30 minutes in total.

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How to get rid of age spots on hands

The majority of treatments that are effective at eliminating age spots on the face are also excellent in treating dark spots on the hands. In particular, MGSKINLABs topical treatments and laser treatments such as the Candela Alex-trivantage can eliminate the appearance of age spots both quickly and easily. Combining these treatments with the Fraxel laser will reverse the effects of sun damage and age spots on your hands.

How to get rid of age spots on legs

For age spots on the legs, Dr. Green usually recommends the Candela Alex-trivantage laser and/or the Fraxel laser for treatment of a wider area of discoloration or dark spots on the skin. The Fraxel laser offers overall skin rejuvenation to the legs and the Alex-trivantage will remove darker, discreet age spots, leaving you with beautiful, even skin tone and texture.

Health and wellness:  how to prevent age spots

Ultimately, the best way to reduce the appearance of age spots is to prevent them from developing entirely. Additionally, as the American Academy of Dermatology points out, age spots can return after age spot treatments among patients who are not actively limiting risk. As sun damage and excessive UV exposure is the leading cause of dark spots on the skin, Dr. Green recommends that each of her patients apply a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher in order to protect the skin from sunburn and other sun-damage from the sun’s rays. In order to maximize sun protection, patients can also ensure a high ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) within their clothing. Ideally, fabrics should have a UPF of 40 to 50 to be considered protective clothing.

When do age spots appear?

Age spots are considered common in patients age 50 or older, but also often appear as small spots in patients as young as 20. Younger people are less likely to exhibit age spots or sunspots unless they are overexposed to UV light, typically via sunburns or the use of tanning beds. They are most common in people with fairer skin types, and can often be prevented by a good sun protection regimen, such as the daily use of sunscreen.

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AlexTrivantage for sunspots, male patient

A dermatologist should be your first destination when it comes to safe, effective, and fast removal of age spots. Over-the-counter topical creams and lotions, as well as home remedies, can be used to treat age spots, but a dermatologist can make sure that the treatment you’re receiving is the most effective option for you specifically. Further, a dermatologist or healthcare provider will be able to examine any dark spot on the skin to determine if there are any medical concerns with a particular lesion or mark. Dr. Green is an expert in age spots and anti-aging treatments, and the health and satisfaction of her patients is her top priority.

What is the best dark spot remover?

If you’re wondering what is the best age spot remover, you may be surprised to learn that there is no one “best” treatment of dark spots on the skin. For some patients, the best treatment plan may in fact be a combination treatment of skin care products and in-office treatments. It’s important to note that some treatments may be inappropriate for patients who have forms of pigmentation on the skin that are not purely age spots or sun spots. For example, for patients with melasma, it’s best to avoid more intense laser treatments, as these can exacerbate the pigmentation of melasma on the skin. When you work with Dr. Green, she will be able to examine your current skin condition and medical history to determine which treatments will best meet your needs.

Do age spot removers work?

There are a variety of age spot removers that are both safe and effective at reducing the appearance of discoloration on the surface of the skin. In-office treatments such as cryotherapy, microdermabrasion, hydrafacials, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing can all work wonderfully to eliminate age spots on the skin and help to create a more youthful appearance. For most patients, a treatment plan that combines in-office treatment techniques with a customized skin care plan offers wonderful results.

Topical Skin Care Age Spot Treatment

When it comes to reducing the appearance of age spots on the skin, there are a variety of fade creams and nourishing skin care products that can help. However, a lot of over-the-counter brands that advertise total care for dark spots may not live up to their promises. Below are some commonly asked-about products that may or may not be right for you.

Brightening skin care: Does hydroquinone work on red spots?

Hydroquinone skin care products rely on the active ingredient of hydroquinone, which is a lightening agent that can bleach the skin of an age spot or liver spot. Hydroquinones are FDA-approved to lighten dark spots on the skin, and are currently available as prescription creams with 4% hydroquinone concentration or higher. As hydroquinones decreases the number of melanocytes (the cells responsible for creating melanin) present in a treatment area, it can reduce the appearance of lingering red and brown spots that still linger on the skin.

Does hydroquinone permanently remove dark spots?

Hydroquinones are able to successfully remove dark pigment from dark spots on the skin, thus permanently reducing the appearance of age spots and other dark spots. By reducing the amount of melanocytes on the skin, the batch of skin goes through a lightening process that is largely permanent. However, it is important to remember that new sun exposure will reactive these melanocytes and cause the sun spots or hyperpigmentation to return. That’s why proper sunscreen and sun protection is so important. It’s good to note that hydroquinones do not work to help with active inflammation on the skin, such as acne breakouts.

Does The Ordinary help with dark spots?

The Ordinary is a line of affordable skin care products that use effective active ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids in order to exfoliate the skin. Overall, their products use evidence-based active ingredients and are fragrance free, but it’s important to note that the concentrations of some of these ingredients can cause irritation and sensitivity to the skin. If you’ve never used The Ordinary products, it’s best to consult with a dermatologist.  You may need to perform a patch test before applying these skin care formulations to the face.

What is the best The Ordinary product for dark spots?

The Ordinary offers a variety of serums that, when combined into a weekly skincare routine, can help to improve the look of age spots on the skin. They offer formulations that include chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid and Vitamin F which can improve skin texture. However, for concentrated serums that work to brighten the skin tone and improve skin texture, Dr. Green finds that Vitamin C is a more effective option. MGSKINLABS offers Vita-C Serum that uses nourishing antioxidants to successfully lighten the skin and boost cell turnover.

Does Clear Gel remove dark spots?

Clear gel is a topical antibiotic treatment that fights bacteria. It’s often used to treat acne by eliminating acne-causing bacteria on the surface of the skin. Clear Gel can be a successful method to treat active acne breakouts on the skin, but is unlikely to be useful in treating age spots on the surface of the skin.

Does Faceclin Gel remove dark spots?

Faceclin Gel is a topical acne treatment that combines Nicotinamide, a Vitamin B3 derivative (niacinamide), and Clindamycin, an antibiotic that is able to destroy acne-causing bacteria on the surface of the skin. Like Clear Gel, it’s designed to treat and eliminate active acne on the treatment area, but is not a suggested treatment option for age spots.

Does Murad Rapid Age Spot work?

Murad is a successful over-the-counter skin care line that specializes in rejuvenating serums. Murad offers formulations that are designed to improve the appearance of dark spots on the skin. Murad’s Rapid Age Spot treatment was a popular over-the-counter serum that used hydroquinones which, unfortunately, has been discontinued, as hydroquinones are now only available via prescription. Murad now offers a Dark Spot Correcting Serum which uses resorcinol, tranexamic acid, and glycolic acid, which can all help to exfoliate the skin.

How to use Murad Rapid Age Spot corrector

The Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum can be a successful treatment when it comes to improving skin texture when applied to dark spots, but will likely take a very long time before lightening the appearance of age spots on the skin. Additionally, the formulation could be irritating to the skin if applied too frequently. However, it could be a useful formulation to improve skin texture overall.

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55 year old – Before & After AlexTrivantage for age spots

What is the best product for age spots?

When it comes to treating age spots through skin care products, there are a variety of active ingredients that can help to reduce the appearance of discoloration on the skin. Hydroquinones and Vita-C Serum are two of the most popular ways to brighten skin and improve skin texture. Additionally, Retinols (Vitamin-A) serums can be an excellent option to boost cell turnover and lighten dark spots on the skin.

When it comes to over-the-counter age spot treatment, it’s best to look for creams that have useful active ingredients like hydroquinone, glycolic acid or kojic acid. These active ingredients have been proven effective in reducing the appearance of dark spots over time.

Home remedies to remove age spots

There are a few choice home remedies that can help to reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin. A common topical home remedy is the use of Aloe Vera gel on the age spots for 30 minutes twice daily. Additionally, apple cider vinegar can be combined with water to act as a spot treatment. Lemon juice also has bleaching properties which can be applied directly to the age spot. However, these treatments are not anywhere near optimal for removal of age spots on the skin.

How to remove age spots with hydrogen peroxide

Another home remedy that is slightly more effective in reducing the appearance of dark spots on the skin is the use of hydrogen peroxide. It can be combined in a 1:1 ratio with milk, and then applied via a cotton-tipped applicator on the age spot itself. After 15 minutes, this topical treatment should be rinsed off completely and then a moisturizer should be applied. However, this treatment can yield inconsistent results. As with any home remedy, it’s highly recommended that you consult an expert dermatologist, such as Dr. Green, before you apply or experiment with any topical application.

Will Flourouracil remove age spots?

Flourouracil is a chemotherapy medication that can be used topically to reduce the appearance of pre-cancerous patches on the skin from sun damage. Dr. Green uses Flourouracil or 5-FU to treat actinic keratoses lesions. These lesions are typically red and scaly, and not pigmented like sun spots or age spots. Another method that Dr. Green uses for these pre-cancerous lesions is Blue Light Therapy, which will clear up entire fields of sun damage or pre-cancerous skin.

How to remove age spots naturally

The best way to remove age spots naturally is through the use of targeted treatments that can take advantage of the skin’s natural regenerative processes. Treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser treatments are all able to remove sun damage and age spots, leaving new, healthy skin in its place.

How much does age spot removal cost?

The answer to how much is age spot removal varies widely depending on the specific spots being treated, the type of discoloration, and the treatment options chosen. In general, topical treatments may be more affordable than in-office procedures, but skin care routines alone can be difficult to stick to, and are thus less successful as a stand-alone treatment. In-office procedures vary widely in terms of cost, and some treatments may require multiple treatment sessions. When you work with Dr. Green, she’ll be able to offer curated treatment plans that keep your personal needs and budget in mind.

How do I remove age spots today?

If you’re frustrated by the appearance of age spots on the skin, there are solutions that can improve the look and feel of your skin. An expert in cosmetic dermatology, Dr. Michele Green in NYC has over 25 years of experience in anti-aging procedures and skin care, and will advise you of the the best treatment options for you. Dr. Green was one of the first dermatologists to use Fraxel laser and signature chemical peels to remove age spots and hyperpigmentation. Dr. Green is consistently voted as one of the best dermatologists in New York by New York Magazine, Super Doctors, and Castle Connolly. Please contact us online today or call our office at 212-535-3088 to learn more about which age spot treatment and type of skin rejuvenation is best for you at the New York office of Dr. Michele Green.

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