Sunspots: Causes, Home Remedies, And Treatments

Written by Annie Jangam

Many people avoid going into the sun because they are afraid of sunspots appearing on their skin. Right now, you are probably thinking about how to get rid of sunspots. Don’t worry! We have got your back. Many people are concerned about sunspots. They are also hard to conceal if you don’t use makeup. Although these flat, brown patches are not hazardous, they can disrupt your appearance. This post is for you if you are looking for the best strategies to get rid of sunspots. We have explored the underlying cause of sunspots, as well as some natural remedies and the finest sunspot removal methods, in this article. Check it out!

What Are Sunspots? What Causes Them?

Sunspots are flat brown spots on your skin. They are hyperpigmented skin blemishes and are also known as solar lentigines. These discolored areas of the skin could be a result of sun exposure for long periods. The harsh ultraviolet rays from the sun can multiply the pigment cells (melanocytes), which results in sunspots. Overactivity of tyrosinase (an enzyme responsible for melanin production) may cause sunspots. Also, some people may develop these spots due to hereditary problems (1). They can appear on any section of your body that is exposed to the sun. It could be your cheeks, nose, upper lip, ears, arms, and hands.

Home remedies are, by far, the smartest and cheapest way to fight skin problems like sunspots. Remember those face packs and concoctions carefully selected by your mother? They really do work! Following are the ways in which you can get rid of sunspots with home remedies.

Home Remedies For Sunspots

1. Aloe Vera

You Will Need

Fresh aloe vera gel or aloe juice

What You Have To Do

  1. Extract fresh gel from an aloe leaf and apply it to the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for half an hour and then wash it off.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this every day.

Why This Works

Aloe vera contains natural healing agents that lighten dark spots and sun-damaged areas. It aids skin regeneration and improves skin quality (2). Aloe vera also exhibits antityrosinase activity that helps remove sunspots (3). Moreover, it contains two active compounds – aloesin and aloin – that help in removing sunspots and lightening hyperpigmentation (4), (5), (6).

2. Lemon

You Will Need

  • A lemon
  • Cotton ball

What You Have To Do

  1. Squeeze out the fresh lemon juice and apply it to the affected area using the cotton ball.
  2. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Wash it off with cool water.
  4. Pat your face dry and apply a good moisturizer.

Alternate Method

  • Mix a tablespoon of sugar with a tablespoon of lemon juice.
  • Use this mixture as a scrub on the sunspots.
  • After scrubbing for a minute or two, leave the mixture on for about 10 minutes. Rinse it off with water.

How Often You Should Do This

Use the simple lemon juice remedy every day. The lemon-sugar scrub can be used 2-3 times a week.

Why This Works

Lemon has bleaching properties that may help reduce the appearance of sunspots (7). It also helps you attain a flawless and radiant look.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon honey

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix the ingredients and apply the mixture to the skin.
  2. Keep it on for at least 10 minutes, and then wash it off.
  3. Add some orange juice to this mix for better and faster results.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day to maximize results.

Why This Works

Apple cider vinegar is beneficial for different skin problems, including sunspots. The acetic acid in ACV can decrease melanin deposition (2). Thus, it may help reduce sunspots.

4. Green Tea

You Will Need

  • A green teabag
  • A cup of hot water

What You Have To Do

  1. Place the teabag in a cup of water for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the teabag, let it cool down, and place it on the affected area. Alternatively, you can apply the green tea you prepared once it has cooled down on your sunspots.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once or twice daily.

Why This Works

Green tea is known as a powerhouse of antioxidants that fight skin conditions like tanning and spots (8). It also has a depigmenting effect that may help treat sunspots (9).

5. Castor Oil

You Will Need

A few drops of castor oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply the oil on the affected area and massage it in for a few minutes.
  2. Leave it on for at least an hour before rinsing it off.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this once or twice daily.

Why This Works

Castor oil deeply nourishes your skin as it contains essential fatty acids. It also helps lighten hyperpigmented skin (10).

6. Besan (Gram Flour)

You Will Need

  • 2 tablespoons besan
  • A pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon milk

What You Have To Do

  1. Make a paste by mixing all the ingredients.
  2. Apply this pack all over your face and keep it on for 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse it off with cool water.
  4. If you are allergic to dairy, use rose water instead of milk.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this 2-3 times a week.

Why This Works

Besan (gram flour) lightens the skin tone, reduces tan, and exfoliates the skin (11). Milk contains lactic acid that acts as an exfoliator, while lemon brightens your skin (7).

7. Buttermilk

You Will Need

  • 1-2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • Cotton ball

What You Have To Do

  1. Simply dip a cotton ball into a bowl of buttermilk and massage it all over the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for 10 minutes, and then rinse it off.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this twice a day to reap the benefits.

Why This Works

Buttermilk has a soothing effect on the skin. It is also claimed to have a bleaching effect which may help lighten sunspots. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove the same.

8. Papaya Pulp

You Will Need

2-3 cubes of ripe papaya

What You Have To Do

  1. Mash the papaya and apply the pulp to the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for 10-12 minutes.
  3. Wash the area using cool water.

How Often You Should Do This

Apply papaya pulp twice a week.

Why This Works

Papaya can exfoliate the skin and make it lighter (12). It may help reduce pigmentation, sunspots, and scars.

9. Fuller’s Earth

You Will Need

  • 2 tablespoons Fuller’s earth
  • 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel
  • Rosewater

What You Have To Do

  1. Make a paste of medium consistency by adding enough rose water to the Fuller’s earth powder and aloe gel.
  2. Apply this mixture to the affected area and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Wash the face pack off with cool water.

How Often You Should Do This

Apply this pack 2-3 times a week.

Why This Works

Fuller’s earth is also known as Multani mitti. It is commonly used for brightening your skin. It also improves blood circulation to the skin’s surface, unclogs pores, and removes the dull layer of skin cells (13). Rose water helps reduce skin redness (14). Also, it may help hydrate your skin.

10. Sandalwood

You Will Need

  • 2 tablespoons sandalwood powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Rosewater

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix some rose water with the sandalwood powder and lemon juice to get a face pack consistency.
  2. Apply this all over the sunspots and let it dry for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Rinse it off with water.

Another way to use sandalwood for sunspots is to blend sandalwood oil and olive oil in a 1:2 proportion and apply it every night on the sunspots.

How Often You Should Do This

Use this pack twice a week.

Why This Works

Sandalwood may help reduce skin dullness and eliminate hyperpigmentation (15).

Listed below are some more home remedies and medications you can use to treat sunspots.

Other Home Remedies For Sunspots

  1. Licorice Extract: Licorice extract has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for its benefits. The glabridin in licorice extract exhibits antityrosinase activity, which helps prevent UVB-induced pigmentation. It removes epidermal melanin and inhibits the biosynthesis of melanin (2).
  2. Red Onion: The dried skin of red onions is said to exert antityrosinase activity and has skin-whitening properties (16).
  3. Vitamin E: Topical application of vitamin E can reduce photo-induced skin damage (17). Thus, applying vitamin E oil may help lighten sunspots.
  4. Over-The-Counter Creams: There are many topical creams available that you can use to remove sunspots. Most of these creams work by targeting the tyrosine enzyme to reduce the appearance of sunspots. Always look for topical creams that contain hydroquinone, glycolic acid, hydroxy acid, or kojic acid.
  5. Hydroquinone: Hydroquinone cream works as a skin-lightening agent and standard depigmentation treatment by inhibiting the effect of tyrosinase (18). Hydroquinone is available at 2% concentration over the counter or at 4% concentration in prescribed creams. Topical application of hydroquinone poses no risks. However, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using hydroquinone because substantial amounts of the medication are absorbed into the skin.
  6. Tretinoin: Tretinoin cream is frequently prescribed by dermatologists to repair and reverse sun-damaged skin. It is a derivative of vitamin A that works by lightening the skin. Topical application of tretinoin cream has been found to improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin (19).
  7. Tri-Luma: Tri-Luma is another topical cream used for treating sunspots. It contains three active ingredients – hydroquinone, tretinoin, and fluocinolone acetonide – in its formulation (20). It has been found that the potency of hydroquinone increases with the addition of tretinoin (21).

Fluocinolone acetonide is a corticosteroid that is used to treat severe inflammatory skin disorders (22).

These are some of the at-home remedies to get rid of sunspots. There are a few sunspot removal treatments available, but these should be performed by a trained skin care professional. Let’s learn more about those professional treatments in the following section.

What Are The Best Sunspot Removal Treatments?

1. Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing is a skin care procedure that helps improve skin texture and reduces blemishes, acne scars, and skin irregularities. This procedure involves a wand-like device that is used to deliver laser beams to the skin. This device removes sun-damaged skin layer by layer. This process can take a minimum of 30 minutes to 2 hours for sunspot removal. Healing of the skin can take anywhere from 10 to 21 days.

2. Intense Pulse Light (IPL)

Intense pulse light uses pulses of light energy to target dark spots on the skin. Lasers of different wavelengths are used to heat the pigmented cells, thereby removing the sunspots by destroying the melanin. It is also known as a photo facial, and it takes less than 30 minutes. It can treat several skin conditions, and the number of sessions required varies from person to person. Also, it causes little to no pain.

3. Chemical Peels

Chemical peel is another cosmetic procedure that involves the application of an acid solution to your skin. It causes your skin to exfoliate the damaged skin cells and make way for new skin. The main idea behind this procedure is to encourage your skin to shed off its damaged outer layer and reveal newer skin underneath. It helps reduce sunspots, wrinkles, and fine lines. It can make your skin firmer, brighter, and healthier.

Chemical peel treatment also encourages collagen production. This process reduces uneven skin tone and acne scars. But, it can be painful and cause a burning sensation that lasts a few minutes. You can treat these side effects by using over-the-counter creams.

4. Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is also known as cold therapy. In this treatment, skin lesions are exposed to extremely cold temperatures. This process helps reduce sunspots. Using nitrous oxide is the best option for the treatment of dark spots (23). This process only takes a few minutes.

5. Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that involves the removal of the top layer of the skin. This process uses a small hand-held device with an abrasive surface. The special applicator with an abrasive tip removes the outermost layer of the skin, followed by suction to remove the dead skin. It can reduce age spots, wrinkles, fine lines, melasma, and acne scars. This procedure takes about one hour and causes little to no pain. You may experience some temporary redness and tightness after the procedure.

6. Microneedling

Microneedling is a minimally invasive derma roller procedure that uses small needles to prick the skin. It is mostly used on the face. This process offers firm and healthy skin and treats sunspots, wrinkles, and scars. A topical anesthetic may be applied prior to the process to help reduce discomfort.

These are the different professional treatments for sunspots. Here are some more tips to keep in mind to avoid sunspots.

Tips For Sunspots

1. Try Anti-Tan Facials

A good anti-tan facial can help you fight sun spots and pigmentation. You can use an at-home anti-tan facial kit or get it done by a professional at a spa, salon, or skin clinic.

2. Stay Away From The Sun

Try not to step out in the sun too much if you are already tanned. Even if you are, it is best to carry an umbrella. Also, remember to wear loose-fitting clothes. Don’t go for dark or bright colors. The simpler your clothing, the better it is for your skin. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. If you are at the beach, don’t forget your hat.

3. Use Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a must all through the year and not just the summer months. If you don’t have one already, it’s high time you purchased one. Sunscreen protects your skin from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun and prevents the signs of aging. Choose a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or above.

Sunspots are not harmful or cancerogenic. But, if you notice any abnormality in their number and growth, you should consult your doctor. Scroll down to know more.

When To See A Dermatologist?

Sunspots are not harmful. They are caused by prolonged sun exposure. You can improve this condition by taking some protective measures. However, sometimes cancerous lesions on your skin can look like sunspots. If you observe rapid growth in dark spots or a lot of sunspots, you should get them checked by a dermatologist.


Sunspots are harmless pigmented spots on the skin. You can observe sunspots on the sun-exposed areas of your body. If you are looking for the best ways to get rid of them, there are many at-home remedies and professional treatments available. Consult your dermatologist in case you observe any growth in sunspots.


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  1. Age Spots
  2. Mechanisms Regulating Skin Pigmentation: The Rise and Fall of Complexion Coloration
  3. Melanogenesis and Antityrosinase Activity of Selected South African Plants
  4. Aloe vera: A review of toxicity and adverse clinical effects
  5. Effects of aloesin on melanogenesis in pigmented skin equivalents
  6. On the novel action of melanolysis by a leaf extract of Aloe vera and its active ingredient aloin potent skin depigmenting agents
  7. The Hunt for Natural Skin Whitening Agents
  8. Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review
  9. Cosmeceuticals for Hyperpigmentation: What is Available?
  10. Phenol-castor oil: modified peel for dermal melasma
  11. In-House Preparation and Standardization of Herbal Face Pack
  12. Topical proteolytic enzymes affect epidermal and dermal properties
  14. Pre-Feasibility Study: Rose Water
  15. Evaluation of Ubtan- A Traditional Indian Skin Care Formulation
  16. Tyrosinase inhibitory effect of quercetin 4′-O-β-D-glucopyranoside from dried skin of red onion (Allium cepa)
  17. Clinical evaluation of photoprotective effect by a topical antioxidants combination (tocopherols and tocotrienols)
  18. Hydroquinone
  19. Topical retinoic acid for treatment of solar damage
  20. TRI-LUMA- fluocinolone acetonide hydroquinone and tretinoin cream
  21. Skin-lightening agents: New chemical and plant extracts -ongoing search for the holy grail!
  22. Skin Hyperpigmentation in Indian Population: Insights and Best Practice
  23. Lentigo and Solar Lentigines
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