I am writing this article because I am a product of the Baby Boomer generation, which means I grew up in the sun. Tanning was like a job for me: As soon as summer started, I would get baby oil, iodine and a reflector and take sun anywhere I could find it. Literally, I’d get set up and head to lie out with an alarm clock set for 20-minute turnovers all day long. If I was at the beach on a surfboard, I’d just let it all soak in. Occasionally, I used sunscreen and some zinc oxide on my lips and the tip of my nose, but I never heard of sunblock. The bake began—and I was always the tannest of all my friends when September rolled around and school started.
One of the reasons that I started tanning was that I had bad skin, and the sun always corrected and covered up any unwanted redness, pimples and dullness. It also made me feel so good to have skin that looked sun-kissed.
So, here I am, many years later, stuck with a rainbow of different colored spots, dots and polkadots. I am not one for lasers, so, historically, I have just tried to do spray tanning and let the spots get darker and darker. But then I began to wonder what else could I be doing, and I happened upon a really great idea: Why shouldn’t I use lemon—just like when I was young and put it in my hair—to make the dark spots lighter? What about adding apple cider vinegar to see how that works?
Since then, I have found a few home remedies that work really well, so I am here to share them with you. Just remember to also use this really great lotion for age spots called Palmer’s, so that your skin doesn’t get really dry. It really complements this technique.
First, what are age spots and how do they appear?
The discoloration usually known as sun spots, liver spots or lentigines is actually harmless, though not particularly attractive. They’re flat and brown and they usually appear on the hands, neck and face after 40 years of age. (If they change color, you should have them checked by a doctor.) They can come from sun exposure, but can also be due to a liver that is impaired or nutritional or dietary deficiencies. Oxidation within the body and a lack of antioxidants in your diet can also play a role in the appearance of age spots.
Here’s my simple home remedy for you to try:
1. Finely chop or blend an onion, then use a strainer or cheesecloth to squeeze and extract the juice.
2. Take one part apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg’s brand) and one part lemon juice.
3. Mix all of them together.
4. Dab a cotton pad into the solution and then apply it directly to the age spot. (I always use latex-free gloves on my hands.)
5. Leave on the skin for a minimum of 30 minutes or as long as it feels comfortable.
6. Repeat once a day (I usually do this in the evening) for approximately 6 weeks and you should see a notable improvement.
7. If they haven’t completely faded, keep it up until they do.
I wanted to speedup the process, so I added 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass full of water (warm or cool) and drank it twice daily for a month, as well. I can tell you from personal experience that it not only improves the age spots, but it gives you a healthy glow and makes you feel energized. (If the vinegar is too strong for you, add a little bit of honey to naturally sweeten it.)
I was pleasantly surprised to find that this showed noticeable results so quickly, and it was so affordable. I will continue to do it and, hopefully, these spots will disappear completely one day.
Editor's Note: other homemade skin care recipes you might enjoy either Gentle Skin Fixes or Burdock For Skin.