Many people would prefer natural remedies for age spots over harsher medical treatments involving acid peels or liquid nitrogen. It just makes sense - intuitively we know that age spots are the result of skin damage, and anything that does more skin damage isn't going to do us any good.
Age spots, or liver spots, are the irregular, sometimes rough dark patches that appear on the skin, typically on the back of the hands and arms, and on the forehead, beginning in middle age. They are literally caused by too much exposure to the sun: ultraviolet rays of the sun stimulate the production of the skin pigment melanin and over the years distribution of the pigment tends to become irregular, causing patches and spots to appear. The areas of the body that receive the most sun are naturally the most susceptible to this type of skin damage.
Are there herbs for age spots? Actually, there are very few. In her book Herbal Remedies of the Lumbee Indians (Arvis Locklear Boughman, 2003), Loretta Oxendine reports that the Iroquois made a wash for liver spots from the impatiens plant, a popular annual garden flower that, ironically, does best in the shade. Oxendine does not give a recipe, however. The Chinese have natural remedies including herbs and other ingredients too exotic to gather ourselves - these are best obtained from an expert in Chinese medicine. In general, topical treatments for age spots are either acidic or bleaching, and natural remedies for age spots tend to be acidic fruit preparations.
So practical herbal remedies for age spots haven't really been developed, at least in the sense that most of us think of herbs, but natural plant based remedies certainly play a part. A healthy plant based diet is a good way to build healthy skin, and applying the juice of acidic fruits directly to the brown patches will fade them if repeated over a long period of time.
Lemon juice, cranberry juice and papaya have all been used to make washes for this purpose, and applying pieces of the fruit directly to the skin is also popular. Commercial natural remedies for age spots often contain Vitamin A, a vitamin that has been shown to gradually fade the spots. Vitamin C also shows promise as an antioxidant vitamin treatment for uneven skin pigmentation. Herbs for age spots would rarely contain high concentrations of these vitamins, so a purchased cream is more likely to give good results.
The best of the natural remedies for age spots is, of course, to protect your skin from the sun. Wearing a sunscreen with a minimum SFP (sun protection factor) of 15 or more whenever your skin will be exposed to the sun will arrest the development of more spots and prevent the ones you already have from getting even darker. If you don't take basic precautions, neither herbal remedies for age spots nor any other treatment is likely to help much. Remember though, that a lot of skin damage is done when we're young and not thinking about herbs for age spots or the day when our skin will start to look old. You have to be patient and persistent to reverse that damage.
Other popular anti wrinkle skin care products include topical applications of the hormone estrogen, and various masks and peels designed to remove outer layers of skin and bring healthy new skin cells to the surface. In addition, it's generally recognized that physical health has a profound effect on skin health: a healthy diet, supplemented with a good vitamin and mineral supplement - there are some formulated to have anti aging benefits - may ultimately be the best wrinkle free skin care you can get. Combined with a good high SPF sunscreen, of course.
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