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How to Remove Brown Spots

Updated on September 10, 2014
There are many dermotologist approved methods for removing brown spots.
There are many dermotologist approved methods for removing brown spots. | Source

If you are unhappy with the appearance of your skin due to brown spots, there are a number of ways that you can remove them. While it may be good to start with the less expensive and simplest methods, it is useful to point out that brown spots tend to be stubborn and for many it might be worth it to invest the more expensive methods of removal rather than go through months of only slightly effective creams.

What are Brown Spots?

(also known as aged spots, liver spots, solar lentigo)

Brown Spots appear in areas most often exposed to the sun such as the face, hands, shoulders and arms. They are most common in adults over the age of 40 and pose no health threat other than possibly disguising the appearance of skin cancer. Brown spots have many names such as aged spots, liver spots, solar lentigo and vary in color from light brown to red or black.

Following is the most up to date methods for treating brown spots:

After spending months of buying and applying creams with little result, it might be easier to pay for a more expensive and more effective form of treatment.

Hydroquinone Cream

A dermatologist will likely recommend hydroquinone cream as something to try first before moving onto another stronger brown spot removal method. The dermatologist will prescribe this cream but also mention that it has varying levels of effectiveness. One downside is that the cream takes a while to have any effect and needs to be applied twice a day. While this cream may have some effect on reducing or erasing a brown spot, it has been banned in Europe because it has been found to be a carcinogen.

Effectiveness: Varying results

Cost: $

Side Effect: Possibly carcinogenic

How to Get Rid of Liver Spots

Liquid nitrogen is a quick and effective method for removing brown spots.
Liquid nitrogen is a quick and effective method for removing brown spots. | Source

Liquid Nitrogen

I have been very happy with the effect of the liquid nitrogen. Although not every dermatologist will recommend it, it is good to know that you can ask for it. The dermatologist will simply dip a Q-tip in a cup and place a tiny amount of liquid nitrogen on the brown spot. Some dermatologists will use one application and other dermatologists will use less and apply a second application a few weeks later. This method can be very effective for a number of brown spots.

Effectiveness: Very effective

Cost: $$

Side Effects: Tiny tingling small chance of damaging the skin

Intense Pulsating Light (IPL)

Intense Pulsating Light is highly recommended by dermatologists as an effective way of removing an area of brown spots. With IPL, quick flashes of light work to break up the brown spot pigment. 2-3 IPL treatments are spaced out over 3-4 week intervals. These treatments offer great results but it is important that you have this treatment done by a trained professional under the care of a medical doctor. There is some discomfort during the treatments but the treatment is quick. IPL is more costly than the other methods listed here. Treatments start at about $200 a session depending on the size of the area.

Effectiveness: Very effective

Cost: $$$

Side effects: Some minor discomfort and somewhat red skin afterwards

Phloretin CF (Antioxidant)

This is a vitamin C serum that has shown excellent results in both eliminating and preventing sun spots. This serum is recommended in conjunction with IPL as it will prevent further damage after an IPL treatment, but can be used alone to fade brown spots and improve the overall appearance of the skin. There are no known side effects for Phloretin CF but it is a pricey serum costing around $150 for a 3 month supply.

Effectiveness: Very effective

Cost: $$

Side Effects: None


One piece of advice that is always worth mentioning is sunscreen. The need for sunscreen in protecting the skin from sun damage can’t be stressed enough. This is always the first thing that every dermatologist mentions. This is because by using sunscreen you can effectively prevent many forms of sun damage and especially skin cancer. The sun damages the skin slowly over time, each day. Sunscreen can protect the skin from this everyday damage which leads to sun spots. Choose a daily sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher and commit to wearing it each and every day this will protect you from any future damage and an increased number of sunspots.

Effectiveness: Very effective

Cost: $

Side Effects: None

A hat along with suncreen and sunglasses are great ways to protect the skin from developing brown spots.
A hat along with suncreen and sunglasses are great ways to protect the skin from developing brown spots. | Source

Wear a Hat

If you watch old movies it seems everyone is wearing a hat, it is a shame that this is uncommon today, but a hat is another great way to prevent sun damage. Find a hat that suits you and wear it as often as possible.

If you are frustrated with the appearance of brown spots there are many options to remove them. While there are a large number of herbal natural remedies they are not very effective for stubborn brown spots. Some creams can offer limited results, liquid nitrogen and IPL’s are highly recommended by dermatologist and skin care specialists and safe and very effective methods to remove stubborn brown spots. Phloretin CF and sun protection can also offer amazing protection for sun exposed areas of skin.

© 2014 Ariel Laur


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