If you find yourself with age spots, whether they're from sun damage or an unlucky gene pool, there are several types of procedures that might help reduce their appearance. The options are available at a wide variety of costs.
Many people first turn to their neighborhood pharmacy. Bleaching cream is available there without a prescription. It's usually inexpensive, but it could take months to make an age spot fade. There's also the possibility that the cream could bleach the area around the spot more than the spot itself, drawing even greater attention to it. A doctor can prescribe stronger bleaching creams. While using any bleaching cream, make sure to always use sunscreen as your skin might be extra sensitive [source: Mayo Clinic].
Cryotherapy, or freezing, is another option. Liquid nitrogen or a similar agent is applied to the age spot in order to destroy the unwanted skin cells. When the skin heals, it appears lighter than before. Be warned that there is a small risk of permanent scarring or discoloration with this method [source: Mayo Clinic].
Resurfacing treatments include dermabrasion, which seeks to sand down the top layer of skin, which is eventually replaced by new skin. The treatment actually wounds the skin to generate new skin growth, so its recovery period can last for days or even more than a week [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
Chemical peels are another resurfacing method that can fade age spots. Acid is applied to the skin, burning off the epidermis, or outer layer. After the old skin is peeled away, new skin slowly forms. Chemical peels can target just the surface layer, requiring several treatments, or it can target deeper layers, which require fewer treatments but have a longer recovery period [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
Laser treatments are one of the most effective -- and most costly -- treatments. The lure of laser therapy is that it can get rid of the extra melanocytes without harming the outer layer of the skin. Repeated treatments are usually required to achieve the desired effect [source: Mayo Clinic].
Know that insurance companies rarely pay for these kinds of procedures because they are usually considered elective or cosmetic instead of medically necessary. Also, make sure that your treatment is being administered by a professional with proper training and experience.
Read on to learn about how food and flowers can be used to try to lighten age spots.