Free shipping on all domestic orders over $39

A Regimen for Fading Age Spots

how to fade age spots
Is a Solution for:
Age Spots
August 19, 2014 Reviewed by Marta 10 Comments

I am frequently asked by readers and friends which cream they should buy to treat age spots. The thing is, there are no silver bullets. At least in my experience, it is a finely calibrated combination of potions, lotions and treatments that, after patient experimentation, really gets results. In other words, it’s a daily and weekly regimen. Here is the one that I am finding is working at fading freckles and attacking the most stubborn age/sun spots.

Treatments for Age Spots

Possibly the effective part of my regime is monthly salon sessions of LED light therapy treatments where panels emitting red (visible) light and infra-red (invisible light) are placed over the hands for 20 minutes. I have recently started to top up my monthly sessions once a week using my at-home LED device Truth Renew Plus, which combines the three modes of LED, ultrasonic and ionic. The negative ion is also useful for treating hyperpigmentation.

LED will fade freckles, age spots and generally smooth out hyperpigmentation (it's even good for rosacea). Be prepared for the fact that, immediately after treatment, freckles will look darker. A smear of sunscreen is very important at this stage. Within 36 hours or so, you should start to see results.

Potions and Lotions for Age Spots

Vitamin C and ferulic acid for a potent combination

I have found the combination of vitamin C and ferulic acid to be very effective for treating more stubborn age spots. Ferulic acid improves the performance of vitamin C, which acts as a mild exfoliant. It also acts as a natural sunscreen and so is helping prevent sun spots from getting any worse. Since products with ferulic acid aren't easy to come by, I recommended finding a good source of C and adding in a little drop of ferulic acid for an effective DIY brightening solution.

Your Best Face Advanced CE Concentrate ($50 in the shop) is an unadulterated vitamin C serum that contains three forms of vitamin C as well as vitamin E. Combine it with green LED light for treating hyperpigmentation. Another good option is Medik8 C-Tetra ($70 in the shop), which uses the stable, oil-soluble form of vitamin C called Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate. It helps minimize hyperpigmentation as well as brighten the complexion.

Natural ingredients for gentle brightening

For what I would regard as a freckle with slightly too much attitude, I use a gentler cream that is especially good for sensitive areas. For example, I have a freckle on the arch of my right eye, which I wouldn't dream of subjecting to the ferulic and vitamin C. The all-natural Sweetsation Lumi*Essence Organic Advanced Brightening Repair Treatment ($36) uses papaya and pineapple extract to even skin tone and alpha arbutin and kojic acid to lighten dark spots. Arbutin, or bearberry extract, is a natural skin brightener that's also in Arcona Instant Magic Reversal Serum ($105), and in addition to lightening skin it also offers a natural form of sun protection. La Vie Celeste Eclairage Restorative Serum ($98.50) contains natural skin brighteners such as lilac leaf cell culture extract, licorice and B-white. It not only helped lighten a freckle or two but also helped with firming.

Copper peptides for evening skin repair

In the evenings I dab some copper peptides on the areas I am treating. The morning creams are doing an exfoliation job and the copper peptides should be repairing by helping the new cells to grow. MAD Spot On Targeted Skin Brightening System ($42 in the shop) is perfect for targeting stubborn freckles and areas of uneven skin tone. In addition to the peptide lumiskin, which inhibits skin pigmentation, it contains vitamin C, niacinamide and botanicals. Osmotics Blue Copper 5 Firming Elasticity Repair ($58/1 oz) not only contains active copper and peptides to firm skin and even out skin tone, but it also contains rutin, which has even been shown to help broken veins. Benir Beauty BV Nine Platinum Anti-Aging Bee Venom Cream uses some of my favorite ingredients — bee venom, copper peptides and coenzyme Q10 — for collagen boosting and skin repair.

Editor's note: This article was updated August 19, 2014

  • October 28, 2016

    by Marta

    Hi Kim, we regard hydroquinone as a controversial and potentially dangerous ingredient and would not recommend it. For more information, please see our ingredient index:

  • October 28, 2016

    by kim

    Hi, perhaps I missed it, but I am not sure why you did not mention hydroquinone 4%, which, though by prescription or OTC in Canada, virtually works wonders. Whether it's Lustra, Glyquin or other formula, it is effective. I realize there have been reports of side effects, but still, should it not be listed as an option? Thanks for your review. Kim

  • August 11, 2009

    by marta

    Hi Janice, Vivite uses Methyl Dihydroxybenzoate, which works by inhibiting tyrosinase, the enzyme ultimately responsible for the production of melanin (the pigmentation in your skin). Hydroquinone has been shown to cause cancer in animal studies and its use is restricted in Europe.

    I am honestly not sure whether Methyl Dihydroxybenzoate will work for you, but my guess is that it prevents future damage rather than fades existing pigmentation. You might be better off looking at <a href="" rel="nofollow">copper peptides</a> - eg Super Cop 2X by Skin Biology (to be used after exfoliation). In the meantime, I'll do more research on Methyl Dihydroxybenzoate.

  • August 10, 2009

    by Janice Chua

    HI Marta! Big fan of your site. I just am looking into using Vivite Vibrance to help clear out dark acne spots on my face and chest area. I have used so many hydroquinone products and just make my face red! Any feedback on this product is much appreciated. P.s it does contain some parabens.

  • November 9, 2008

    by Sandra

    <p> has the Baby Quasar plus bonus $60 Pure Silk. Every once in a while they run a 20% off sale storewide (I would expect at least one more before Christmas) and that's the time to snag one. I also had coupons worth $60 that I used during a sale and picked up the BQ for under $299 and am so glad I did! Just passing that along FYI.</p>

  • October 27, 2008

    by Marta

    <p>Baby Quasar can easily be bought. On this post there is a link to Amazon:<br />
    <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a></p>

  • October 27, 2008

    by Michelle Tang

    <p>Hi Marta,</p>

    <p> I read your post regarding the LED light to fade freckles/age spots. I don't really have age spots, but I do have what I think are freckles and SUN spots on my face. Since I haven't found any creams or serums that work to fade or eliminate these freckles/sun spots, would I have to receive the treatment from a beauty salon, or can I purchase the device for home use? If so, how much do the treatments usually cost? Where can we buy the Baby Quasar, if we even can even purchase it? If this isn't possible, do you have any alternatives to recommend for fading these spots? Thank you! </p>

  • September 21, 2008

    by Dorrie

    <p>Thank you. I am really looking forward to a review of this product!</p>

  • September 21, 2008

    by Marta

    <p>Funnily enough I started to look at this a few weeks ago and somehow (as so often happens) got disracted). Thanks for the reminder, I will go back to it and post something soon.</p>

  • September 21, 2008

    by Dorrie

    <p>Great information. Thank you so much. How about a review of the new Vivite Vibrance, which is supposed to be as effective as 4% Hydroquinone?</p>

Join the discussion! Leave a comment below.

My Comment

Add a comment...

-or- Cancel Comment
* Required Fields
truth in aging's five best

Truth In Aging's Five Best

The very best to choose from for your skin concerns.

Read More

truth in aging videos

Truth In Aging Videos

Helpful how-tos and reviews from Marta and friends.

Watch Now

meet our contributors

Meet Our Contributors

The TIA community consists of our trusted reviewers.

Meet Them

be inspired

Be Inspired

Inspiring thoughts and women who are aging gracefully.

Read More