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What is the fastest way to get rid of age spots?

What are age spots?

Age spots, also known as liver spots or solar lentigines, are flat, brown discolorations that appear on the skin. They are caused by years of exposure to the sun and typically show up in areas that get a lot of sun exposure, such as the face, hands, shoulders and arms. Age spots are very common in adults over 50 but can begin to develop as early as the age of 40. They are harmless and don’t pose any health risks. However, many people wish to remove age spots simply because they dislike the way they look on the skin. There are many possible treatment options to safely and effectively get rid of age spots.

What causes age spots?

Age spots develop from an accumulation of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. Years of sun exposure cause melanin to build up in one area, forming a flat, darkened patch on the skin. Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun triggers melanocyte cells to produce more melanin as a protective measure. Over time, this excess melanin leads to age spot formation. Aside from sun exposure, other factors that contribute to age spot development include:

  • Aging skin – Skin loses its ability to shed dead skin cells as it ages.
  • Genetics – Some people are just prone to developing more age spots.
  • Skin tone – Those with fairer skin are at higher risk.
  • Hormones – Estrogen levels can trigger melanin production.
  • Medications – Certain medicines like chloroquine increase sun sensitivity.
  • Health conditions – Liver disease and Addison’s disease affect melanin.
  • UV exposure – Tanning beds also increase age spot risk.

Which age spot treatments work the fastest?

If your main goal is to get rid of age spots quickly, here are some of the fastest-acting treatment options:

Laser treatments

Laser therapy uses highly concentrated light to eliminate age spots in just one or two sessions. A dermatologist will aim pulses of laser energy at the affected areas to destroy excess melanin. Results are visible within 1-2 weeks as the skin sheds the treated spots and generates new skin. Lasers commonly used for age spots include:

  • Q-switched lasers – Break up melanin without damaging surrounding skin.
  • Intense pulsed light (IPL) – Use multiple wavelengths to target brown spots.
  • Fractional lasers – Penetrate deep into skin to shatter age spot “nests.”

Chemical peels

Chemical peel solutions applied by a dermatologist can fade age spots in as little as one to two weeks. Medium-depth peels work best for age spots. The solution exfoliates the outer layers of damaged skin to reveal new, spot-free skin underneath. Improvement is visible after the peeling process completes within a week. Common chemical peels for age spots include:

  • Glycolic acid – Helps skin shed pigmented cells faster.
  • Lactic acid – Gently breaks apart melanin clusters.
  • Salicylic acid – Penetrates and exfoliates spots.
  • Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) – Medium-depth peel dissolves pigment.


Cryotherapy is a fast, non-invasive treatment that uses extreme cold to eliminate age spots. Liquid nitrogen is applied directly on the spot for 10-30 seconds. This causes the affected skin cells to freeze and die. The spot will crust over and peel off within a week. Several sessions may be needed for stubborn spots, but results are quick.

Home remedies and over-the-counter products

While home remedies and OTC products take longer to fade age spots than professional procedures, you can see gradual results within a few weeks if used consistently. Some options to try:

Prescription creams

Prescription skin-lightening creams containing hydroquinone, tretinoin or corticosteroids can help diminish age spots over time. Apply to spots twice daily for at least 2-3 months. Hydroquinone 2% and 4% creams are available by prescription only in the US.

OTC creams

Look for creams containing natural lighteners like vitamin C, kojic acid, licorice extract or niacinamide. Apply to spots twice a day for 6-12 weeks before visible fading occurs. Popular OTC brands include Murad, Dr. Dennis Gross, Dermadoctor and Paula’s Choice.


Regular use of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic, lactic and citric acids can help exfoliate away pigmented skin cells over 4-6 weeks. AHAs are found in over-the-counter creams, serums, pads and peels. Start with lower percentages and gradually increase.


Diligent sunscreen use prevents existing spots from getting darker and blocks new ones from forming. Look for a broad spectrum SPF 30+ and apply it daily, even when indoors. You should see some minor fading of spots after about 8 weeks.

Natural remedies

Some home remedies can lighten age spots over time when applied daily:

  • Lemon juice – Brightens and exfoliates.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Contains acetic acid to gently peel skin.
  • Onion juice – Has mild bleaching properties.
  • Aloe vera gel – Helps fade spots and moisture skin.
  • Licorice extract – Antioxidants reduce pigmentation.

How long does it take to get rid of age spots?

Treatment Time to Noticeable Results
Laser therapy 1-2 weeks
Chemical peels 1-2 weeks
Cryotherapy 1 week
Prescription creams 2-3 months
OTC creams 6-12 weeks
At-home exfoliants 4-6 weeks
Sunscreen 8 weeks
Natural remedies 4-8 weeks

As shown in the table above, professional treatments offer the fastest results, visibly fading age spots in as little as 1-2 weeks. At-home options using skin creams, exfoliants and natural ingredients take longer – generally showing improvement in 6-12 weeks. But the benefits occur gradually and tend to be longer-lasting. The key is to be consistent when using home remedies for age spots.

What is the best way to prevent more age spots from forming?

Once you’ve successfully gotten rid of unwanted age spots, the next step is to prevent new ones from popping up. Here are some top tips for keeping age spots away:

  • Wear sunscreen every day with SPF 30 or higher.
  • Reapply sunscreen often when outdoors.
  • Wear protective clothing like hats and long sleeves.
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible.
  • Avoid tanning beds and direct sun during peak hours.
  • Use an umbrella for added sun protection.
  • Take an oral antioxidant supplement with vitamins C and E.
  • Eat a diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables.
  • Use skin lightening products as maintenance.
  • Get regular skin exams to detect spots early.

Making sun protection and avoidance a lifelong habit is the #1 way to stall the formation of new age spots. Conscientious use of sunscreen, protective clothing and antioxidants is key. Avoiding excessive unprotected sun exposure will help keep your skin spot-free for years to come.

When should I see a dermatologist for age spots?

Most age spots are harmless, but it’s a good idea to point them out to your dermatologist at your annual skin checkup. A dermatologist can confirm it’s merely an age spot and not something more serious like skin cancer. Be sure to get any new or changing spots examined promptly.

See a dermatologist right away if you notice any of the following:

  • The spot is rapidly growing or changing shape/color.
  • The borders are irregular, jagged or faded.
  • The color contains shades of brown, black, blue, red or white.
  • The spot is asymmetrical in shape.
  • It’s larger than 6mm and has an unusual appearance.
  • It’s accompanied by itching, burning or bleeding.

These could be signs of a suspicious mole or skin cancer, not just an age spot. Early detection gives the best chance for effective treatment. Don’t try to self-diagnose a changing or unusual spot on your own. Consult a doctor to determine the cause and appropriate action. For regular age spots, discuss professional and at-home removal techniques with your dermatologist. Together, you can map out the safest way to successfully erase those pesky age spots from your skin.