Age Spots



First Draft © Dennis Rocke & Dr J. M. Mungavin 1983

Updated © Dennis Rocke 2022


Within our culture, spots are not well appreciated. Getting spots is not liked by any of us at any time. It seems that when looking in the mirror there is never a feeling more terrible than to find a spot or spots looking back at us, but as age creeps up on us many of us will find spots forming on our hands and faces. Some call these liver spots, age spots or sun spots, whatever we call them the reaction to them is usually the same, we reach for a spot remover.

Age spots are technically named lentigines and are the result of deposits of excess pigments on the skin formed by exposure to the sun. This is one of the reasons apart from the obvious illnesses caused that dermatologists recommend that we avoid exposure or too much exposure to the sun.

Although most of these age spots are harmless and ridding them needs no more than a trip to your nearest dermatologist, these spots can be skin cancer in its early stages masquerading as age spots. If you find the age spots are enlarging, changes colour, thickens, itches or bleeds you must have them checked out by your doctor. I have always recommended a thorough check up by your doctor at least once a year.  If you do have one (which everyone over the age of 50 should have), make sure that the check up includes a skin examination.

If the spots are indeed age spots then the good news is that dermatologists now have at their disposal many treatments that fade them or sometimes even completely remove them.

One of these treatments is applying tretinoin (the acid cream commonly known as Retin-A)

Retin-A was first formulated as a medicine to unplug the skins pores and was used to combat acne. As a side effect it was found to act as an anti ageing ointment. Nobody is claiming it is the elixir of youth, but it does smooth out the finer wrinkles, age spots and other blemishes. It does this by helping the body’s metabolic processes and cell regeneration.

Retin-A comes in different strengths and it is recommended that the strongest strength that the skin can tolerate is the best to use to remove age spots. When used, the area where the Retin-A is applied will peel and after a few months the spot will either disappear completely or will at least diminish.

Retin-A strengths are from the weakest at 0.025% to 0.1% and is only available on prescription.

Retin-A does the job of sloughing the skin (in effect a sort of peeling process) and in so doing not only eliminates existing age spots, but also does the job of nipping in the bud any new ones forming. Be careful as this does have a down side in that by peeling your skin you leave what was a protected area now exposed causing sun-sensitive skin that will possibly become scaly and irritated. My advice is to use a moisturiser my Oil Formula (which I have aptly named EXEMOL) is one of the best examples of a cream that does a multitude of jobs including moisturising the skin.

Important Dietary Facts

Fading age spots does not incorporate any magic spells. What you will need to know are some of the no-no’s in eating habits. I have already spoken about the sun and the damage it does.

If you are going to have to place yourself in the immediate vicinity of sunlight (which let’s face it we can’t help if we are not hermits) we may want to play on the beach or our jobs are outdoors etc., we are going to have to take into consideration the following facts…

Avoid certain fruits and vegetables such as:

  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Limes
  • Parsnips

The reason is they all contain psoralens which are chemicals that seem to increase our sensitivity to sunlight. This said if you don’t have a sensitivity to these chemicals there isn’t a problem and you can carry on eating them. But if you do have any sort of sensitivity to psoralens then don’t eat any of them before going out into the sun. Also if you have touched any of them and you have this sensitivity then it is advisable to wash your hands before going out. Even if you don’t have this sensitivity, anyone is susceptible to being burned by the sun after having direct contact with psoralens.

Snacking on citrus fruits is a great way of keeping you skin healthy, but you won’t be able to eat enough oranges and such to protect you from the damage the sun can do.

Beneficial Treatments

Vitamin D is plentiful in sunshine, in fact it is known as the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin C on the other hand is known as the sunblock vitamin or the healthy skin vitamin.

Vitamin C is essential for keeping your skin looking younger and I recommend this vitamin in large doses as part of many of the treatments you will find in this book. Vitamin C lotion applied topically is of great in combating the free radicals that attack us on a regular basis causing damage from the likes of too much sun. Free radicals are unstable molecules that occur naturally and actually steal electrons to stabilise themselves. These electrons are stolen from within our body’s healthy molecules. If these free radicals are left unchecked, they can cause a significant amount of damage to our tissues. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant and so is able to neutralise the free radicals protecting healthy molecules from harm by offering their own electrons.

Okay looking at this in a logical manner. If vitamin C helps prevent skin damage caused by the sun, then it is not unreasonable to say that C is also capable of undoing or preventing any damage done, including age spots and wrinkling. This said I advise that when you are going to sunbathe which we all do even though we are advised not to, then use a vitamin C lotion in conjunction with a sunscreen purchased from your local health store or pharmacy (high factors only). One such C lotion is a product by the name of Cellex-C and is available without prescription.

Selenium prevents pigmentation and dark spots by acting as a prevention against solar damage.

Daily Supplements (Recommended)


Vitamin A Lotion  

Strength according to skin type.


Vitamin C Lotion  

Cellex-C follow the manufacturers directions


Vitamin E Oil  

Squeeze capsules and massage into tanned or burned skin after sun exposure


Vitamin C  

3,000 mg daily


Vitamin E  

800 iu daily



100 mcg (selenium can be toxic when exceeding 100 mcg daily, if you are going to follow this advice you must consult your doctor)