How To Erase Age Spots Without Harmful Bleaching Chemicals

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What Causes Dark Spots?

Dark spots, also known as brown spots, sun spots, age spots, liver spots, are the effects of over exposure to the sun or sun damage of the skin. Ultraviolet radiation can cause oxidation of lipids in cellular membranes, leading to production of free radicals and inflammation, which could stimulate melanocytes to produce melanin via activation of tyrosinase. The melanin pigment is produced to absorb sunlight and help protect our skin from the sun's UV radiation. However when melanocytes produce excess melanin in the epidermis (top layer of the skin), we see the occurrence of dark spots.

Other Common Causes Of Hyperpigmentation


Melasma displays large, irregular brown patches on sun-exposed skin such as cheeks, forehead, upper lip, nose, and chin. The precise reason of melasma is unknown, but several factors are suggested, i.e., genetic influences, exposure to solar radiation, pregnancy, birth control pills, hormonal therapy, thyroid dysfunction, ovarian dysfunction, certain cosmetics, drugs or procedures (laser treatments and chemical peels).

Inflammatory Skin Conditions

A variety of inflammatory skin disorders (acne, eczema, and dermatitis etc.) can trigger hyperpigmentation. Inflammatory cells make prostanoids, cytokines, chemokines, and reactive oxygen species. These inflammatory mediators stimulate melanocytes and activate tyrosinase. As a result, hyper-reactive melanocytes produce excess melanin and cause coloring in surrounding keratinocytes, predominant cell type in the epidermis.

When inflammation subsides, melanocytes can return to normal, or remain hyper reactive. Every so often, there is either excess melanin synthesis or an abnormal distribution of melanin pigment deposited in the epidermis, discoloration appears.

Long-term or lapsing inflammation can worsen skin discoloration and often result in a higher degree of hyperpigmentation. With no treatment, hyperpigmentation may take months to years to diminish and sometimes become permanent.

Dark Spot Lightener

Lightening of dark spots or hyperpigmentation requires a great deal of patience and understanding of various treatment options. The typical treatments include:

--Avoiding sun exposure

--Use of sunscreen

--Treating the underlying inflammatory conditions

--Preventing scratching, rubbing, picking

--Discontinuing medications such as tetracyclines, which can intensify hyperpigmentation

--Applying topical agents such as skin lightening products, bleaching or fading creams

--Cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels or laser treatments

Concerns On Long-Term Use Of Skin Lightening Products

Skin lightening products are capable to remove the dark spot and turn it back to normal or near to normal skin color. The result depends on how deep and how old the dark spots are. Deeper and older discoloration may take much longer to lighten.

Skin lightening products contain a variety of active ingredients, which are often unfamiliar to the users. Many of these products include topical corticosteroids, hydroquinone, tretinoin and mercury salts that can have undesirable effects on long-term users. Common side effects include:

--patchy hyper- or hypo-pigmentation

--thinning of the skin

--stretch marks

--skin irritation

--hypersensitivity to the sun


--delayed wound healing.

Natural Remedies As Brown Spots Lightener

To avoid undesirable effects, many natural plant extracts have been evaluated as alternative skin lightening agents. The following natural plant extracts have shown promising effects in removing brown spots.

Green Tea Extract

Green tea extract comprises strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumoral polyphenols identified as catechins. These naturally occurring polyphenols are shown to inhibit, reverse or slow down UV radiation-induced inflammation, oxidative stress, DNA damage and suppression of immune responses.

Studies suggest that green tea extract possesses antioxidant properties by eliminating reactive oxygen species, decreasing various enzymes that are involved in oxidative stress, and enhancing antioxidant defense enzymes. Green tea's anti-inflammatory activities are demonstrated by inhibition of the infiltration of inflammatory cells and reduction of inflammatory mediators.

Finally, green tea extract is anti-carcinogenic by preventing carcinogen-DNA binding and later tumorigenesis.

Licorice Extract

The licorice extract has been widely used in skin lightening products. The part that is responsible for the skin whitening aspect of the plant is known as glabridin. Glabridin stops pigmentation by preventing tyrosinase activation. Studies have shown that it can deliver a substantial skin lightening effect while staying harmless to the melanin-forming cells.

Licorice's anti-inflammatory properties (due to inhibition of superoxide anion production and cyclooxygenase activity) also make it a very useful ingredient in treating inflammation-induced discoloration.

Bearberry Extract

Bearberry extract is obtained from the Uva Ursi plant and is a natural substitute to synthetic hydroquinone. Bearberry extract provides a skin lightening effect by inhibiting tyrosinase activity and melanosome maturation. Though arbutin is a natural product of hydroquinone, it does not have the similar risks or side effects. Natural arbutin has been suggested to be a very safe ingredient and does not break down into hydroquionone very quickly.

Topical Vitamins

Many vitamins possess powerful antioxidant capabilities and may perform a role in processes involved in skin growth and repair. There is solid evidence that vitamin B3 (niacinamide) and vitamin C are involved in modifying the process of hyperpigmentation. The antioxidant properties of these vitamins in topical formulations have proven to be effective in safeguarding the skin from UV-induced damages and reduce brown spots.

Vitamin B3 is an efficient skin lightening ingredient that succeeds by inhibiting melanosome transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes, without reducing tyrosinase activity or cell proliferation. Vitamin B3 works best when combined with other skin lightening treatments. Vitamin B3 is also proven to ease inflammation, improve skin barrier function, decrease sebum production, and diminish wrinkles.

Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that appears in stable and unstable forms. Several types of vitamin C have been shown to lower melanin formation and provide a skin whitening effect when put on topically. They include l-ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and sodium ascorbyl phosphate. They have been shown to inhibit hyperactive melanocytes and slow down hyperpigmentation process.


Dr Yi Shi, founder of Innovative Drug Discovery and is well known in medical research. Dr Shi has accomplished numerous research projects and published over 40 research articles in medical journals. For nearly a decade, Dr Shi has directed collaborative efforts to develop safe and effective natural products for common skin problems.

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