The discoloration of the skin also known as liver spots or hyperpigmentation, occurs as a result of the aging process. I am personally experienced in using aromatherapy for age spots, as I spend much of my time in the high desert sun, working outdoors. Causal factors of this condition include sun exposure, dietary choices, and our personal constitutional profile. To treat it successfully, one must become aware of certain health habits, and be willing to apply focused attention over time.
That said, it is a simple process (though not always easy) to achieve great improvement in a short time, without resorting to drastic skin treatments.
Hyperpigmentation is characterized by flat, round, non-carcinogenic brown or reddish brown spots that develop on the hands, arms, face, shoulders, feet and legs. This usually occurs with increasing age.
Hyperpigmentation is the result of melanin accumulation in the epidermal or dermal layer of the skin. Causal factors include advancing age, sun exposure, pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone therapy, injury, chicken pox, shingles, acne scars and hereditary factors.
Chloasma gravidarum (pregnancy mask) is a brownish pigmentation on the face and neck, due to hormonal shifts and sun sensitivity.
Age spots or liver spots (lentigines) are usually caused by accumulated sun damage, and customarily appear after age 30.
Sun freckles are hereditary and usually disappear when there is no excessive exposure to the sun.
To prevent the formation of liver spots, avoid over-exposure to sun, detoxify the liver, and eat foods that promote liver and skin health (including drinking plenty of water).
Avoiding the sun: Our bodies need the sun light to stay healthy! Vitamin D is deficient in a huge percentage of people in the USA. So it makes sense to question our heavy reliance on commercial sunscreen as the best route to take. I am not telling you to throw it away, especially if your doctor has recommended it to you. However, I am encouraging you to explore other options, do some research, and try other methods, using sunscreen as a last resort.
Most sunscreen products on the market contain Oxybenzone (a hormone disruptor) and other known cancer causing ingredients. A great article that reflects my own opinion about sunscreen is here, on Wellness Mama. It also offers a simple recipe for home made sunscreen, that contains none of the chemicals in question.
Detoxifying the Liver: I have become very familiar with numerous liver cleanses over my 63 years of living with a constitutionally delicate liver. I can assure you that dietary and lifestyle changes can make all the difference in your skin, with liver detoxification being the most important one.
Before using any kind of cleanse, if you are on medications or have chronic health issues, check with your doctor first. There are many people who should not cleanse at all in this category—make sure you get your doctor’s approval.
If you have never cleansed before, or it has been a long time; or if you believe your body is moderately toxic, begin with this light and easy liver cleanse. You can use it for just a few days, or the full 10 days to 2 weeks suggested, depending on how you feel as you go through it. You can repeat it again in a couple of months if needed.
After liver cleansing, it is imperative to support the liver in regenerating to a higher level of health. Consider using a daily tea containing dandelion, milk thistle, bupleurum, schisandra berry, artichoke leaf, and pau d’arco, for 8 to 10 weeks for this purpose. Following the dietary guidelines for liver health will restore the liver and maintain a greater level of health. Not only will your skin get clearer, but you will notice other benefits as well.
Dietary Guidelines for Evenly Glowing Skin
Eat more green salads! Greens are the liver’s natural medicine. Lettuces, mustard greens, beet greens, chard, spinach, kale, onions, garlic, watercress, asparagus, cabbage, etc. Add more vegetables including cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, beets, taro root, water chestnuts, artichokes, carrots, celery, cucumbers, and all kinds of sprouts. Eat herbs such as turmeric, basil, mint, horseradish, pepper, cardamon, cumin, fennel, dill, parsley, ginger; and fruits such as berries, kumquats, tangerines, lemon, and grapefruit. Drinks include lemon water, fresh juices (especially carrot and celery), and fruit smoothies.
Just as important as what you eat, is what you avoid. Avoid foods that tax the liver and hinder its ability to heal; such as refined grains and carbohydrates, alcohol, coffee, refined snack foods (replace them with raw nuts or seeds), artificial sweeteners, added sugars, soft drinks, fatty foods such as margarine, mayonnaise, refined oils, bacon, sausages. Limit red meat, opting for fish or poultry in moderate amounts; and limit dairy food consumption (plain probiotic unpasteurized yogurt is beneficial in moderation).
Now that you know how to clear up age spots and prevent them in the future, we can look at some great recipes for fading spots that already exist on the surface.
Several mask options are listed here. Experiment and find which ones work best on your skin!
Aromatherapy for age spots and uneven complexion, involves a three step process of daily skin maintenance, and a weekly (or more often) extra step. Every day, use this regimen to help restore glowing spot free skin.
- Step 1: Remove make up using a cleanser or aloe vera and cotton pads.
- Step 2: Rinse face with pure water and lightly pat dry.
- Step 3: Apply Serum for Hyperpigmentation and Age Spots.
Use this regimen morning and night. If you are applying make-up, use a cotton pad to blot excess oil after allowing it to sit for at least 5 minutes. If you are going to bed afterward, leave the serum on overnight.
Once or twice each week, apply a mask to fade the spots. Use one of the recipes below, apply the mask to cover spotty or discolored areas, and allow it to set or dry. After 15 minutes or longer, rinse the mask off and apply the serum or facial oil.
My Favorite Super Easy Age Spot Mask Recipe
1 Tbsp plain yogurt
2 tsp grated potato
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
Mix all ingredients. Apply to the spotted areas and allow it to dry. After 10 to 15 minutes, wash it off and apply a facial serum or oil such as Kalahari melon, jojoba, macadamia, or raspberry seed oil. Store remainder in the fridge for later. Apply every other day until you reach desired skin tone.
Green Papaya Mask
Green papaya grated or mashed
This is used to even out the skin tone and fade brown spots. Apply before retiring for the night. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse off. Apply a serum or oil before bedtime.
Age Spot Cranberry Mask
Apply the juice of crushed fresh cranberries to age spots, and let them dry overnight. Wash off in the morning and note the lighter skin tone.
I WANT IT GONE NOW Spot Treatment
I have not tried this one, as it seems a bit harsh to put baking soda on my face. But others tell me that it works great! Be sure to put it only on the spots directly, unlike a mask that can be spread over the entire area.
Mix a little bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) with a 50:50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water, to form a gritty paste. Dab onto age spots, allow to dry, then rinse off and pat skin dry. Be sure to use a moisturizing oil or serum after this treatment.