Skin Types

Sun Spots Aren't Forever — Here’s Why

Written by Dahvi Shira

Here at YSE, we believe that age only makes you wiser.  With each lap around the sun, we have the opportunity to grow, learn and transform, carrying that advanced inner wisdom into the next year.

So, although age should (and will) never define you as a person, there are some things that do come with years passed – and years spent in the sun.

Ever notice dark discolorations on the skin that are completely flat, but nonetheless, a total nuisance?  These stubborn spots, known as hyperpigmentation, dark spots and sun spots, naturally accumulate over time (and with those years of wisdom).

Commonly shown over the age of 50, these dark spots are harmless, but still frustrating to deal with – and understandably so.   Rest assured, though, they’re not impossible to tackle and with a wide variety of options available to treat them, brighter skin is just a few steps away.

Sun Spots + Age Spots

First off, let’s figure out if the discoloration staring back at you in the mirror is definitely an age spot.  To note, we always recommend regular dermatologist visits to ensure any changes to the skin are properly checked and rested.

In short, age spots are light brown to black discolorations of the skin and typically appear on the face, hands and décolletage.   They form as a result of sun exposure, but even if you’ve always been diligent about sun protection, it can still be quite common to develop even minor age spots over time.  It comes with those years of wisdom – lucky us.

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Facial Spots

Like we said, as the years pass, it is very common to notice hyperpigmentation and discoloration on the face – especially in your 40s and 50s.    Typically appearing in areas such as the cheeks, forehead and nose, age spots occur when the top layer of the skin expands with more pigment.  And again, these spots are a result of sun exposure;  So, if you’re young and spend time outside (and without sun protection), you’re most likely going to start noticing these, too.  Sunscreen, people.

Hand Spots

The hands – another common susceptible area.  On the hands, these spots can appear flat and brownish in color, almost resembling brown stains, and are completely flat on the skin.  Again, it comes with time and age, but it doesn’t mean they have to stay forever.

Body Spots

Depending on how often the rest of your body has received sun exposure over the years, (we’re looking at you, athletes and beach bums), age spots can also commonly appear on the arms, shoulders, legs, neck and decolletage.  However, it’s not always just the sun that causes these spots.  The overload of pigmentation can also develop from hormonal changes, like pregnancy or side effects from medications, making it especially important to see a dermatologist first in determining exactly what type of spot you’re seeing.

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Dealing with Dark Spots

Now that you understand how to spot the age spots, let’s get into what really causes them.

Excessive Sun Exposure

The primary cause of age spots is excessive sun exposure over the years. UV rays trigger the production of melanin—which leads to more pigment being produced, in turn darkening the skin and revealing age spots.

Laps Around the Sun

The more years you live, the more rays you’ve probably caught – even if you weren’t an advocate for tanning!  As people age, their skin becomes more susceptible to the sun and environmental stressors, which causes the skin barrier to weaken.  Because of this, the skin’s ability to regenerate and repair itself diminishes, making it easier for melanin to accumulate in certain areas.


Of course, genetics – the one thing we can’t control.  Hereditary factors can absolutely play a role in the development of pigmentation, which is unfortunately inevitable, if you have it in your family.  However, rest assured.  If you’re quickly noticing these spots, turn to The Problem Solver Brightening Treatment –  the solution to your discoloration woes.  Designed to directly target dark spots and improve photo-damaged skin, this efficacious blend reduces hyperpigmentation, strengthens the skin barrier and brightens the overall skin.


A woman’s favorite word, hormones.  Literal.. sigh.  And yes, although we love being women, we also can experience a complete lack of control when our hormones decide to take over our bodies (simply stated).  So whether you’re pregnant, just had a baby, or are in the middle of menopause, just know that hyperpigmentation and sun spots are completely common.  Annoying?  Yes.  Permanent?  Not at YSE.

Make the Spots Fade

Like we said, reducing the appearance of age spots is totally doable, and you don’t need to receive a crazy amount of expensive and painful treatments to do so.  To effectively minimize their existence, there are a wide variety of methods to try, which we always suggest starting simple first.

Start with Skincare

First and foremost, adopt a skincare routine that specifically targets age spots and hyperpigmentation by incorporating cleansers, serums, moisturizers and a sunscreen that can help fade the discoloration and improve photo-damaged skin.

  • Vitamin C: an antioxidant that works to brighten the skin and improve the overall texture and tone.  Turn to our Morning Cocktail Vitamin C Serum for a powerhouse blend of stabilized Vitamin C that dare we say, is like a time machine in a bottle.
  • Niacinamide: a form of Vitamin B3, also found in our Skin Glow SPF 30 Primer, that works to reduce the appearance of dark spots and photo-damaged skin
  • Tranexamic acid: a brightening agent that directly targets discoloration and hyperpigmentation, as it works to interfere with melanin production.  P.S. This ingredient is The Problem Solver’s dirty little secret. 
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1. Cleanse and Tone

In both the morning and the evening, use a gentle cleanser to remove dirt and impurities, preparing your skin to absorb the nourishing ingredients in your care routine.  

2. Smooth with Serum

In the mornings, give your skin a dose of Vitamin C to brighten your skin and fade those spots.  Vitamin C also protects your skin against environmental stressors, like additional UV exposure and pollution, making it a significant step in this regimen.  In the evening, reach for retinol to transform skin into supple, bright and youthful.  Skeptical of retinol?  Serve your skin with a formula designed for sensitive skin, like our Last Call Retinol Seurm, which contains Niacinamide to improve those dark spots.

3. Hydrate & Protect

Next up?  Hydration.  Applying a moisturizer after these serums is essential, as it locks in all of these skin-loving ingredients.  Our Xtremely Rich Moisturizer can be applied morning or evening, as its lightweight formula not only hydrates the skin, but it also contains Licorice Root Extract, which also brightens the complexion. 

4. Wear SPF

Now, we’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again – wear your sunscreen.  Over the greasy feeling of SPFs, though?  We get it, which is why our founder, Molly, developed our Skin Glow SPF Primer to protect the skin against UV rays and visibly reduce sun-induced spots with its Niacinamide formulation.  It’s a real multi-tasker, because it also blurs imperfections and gives skin a subtle glow.  Yeah, just grab two.  

5. Brighten Up

Last but certainly not least, incorporate a brightening treatment regularly into your routine. Start using the formula 2-3 times per week to acclimate your skin, then work your way up to daily use, depending on how stubborn your spots prove to be.

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Other Brightening Methods

Diet & Nutrition

Now, we’re not saying eating healthy is going to magically disappear those spots, but it definitely won't hurt.  When you adhere to a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, your skin can naturally work to its highest potential. Eating nutritiously – and drinking lots of water – encourages cell turnover, which in turn improves skin tone and texture. 

Additionally, fresh fruits and vegetables have several ingredients that can naturally lighten the skin, especially those containing Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin E and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Laser Therapy

Now, let’s say none of the topical skincare treatments are working… Laser treatments may be the next answer.  Laser treatments, such as intense pulsed light (IPL) or fractional laser therapy, can target and break down melanin in age spots, leading to a reduction in their appearance.  Again, ask your dermatologist before diving right into this one.


You may be familiar with this term, given the many opinions that surround this topic.   However, despite both positive and negative reviews, microdermabrasion is still considered a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure, in which a special instrument is used to gently exfoliate – and basically buff away – the upper layer of the skin.  It is known to renew overall skin tone and texture, restoring brightness and a fresh complexion.  Again, consult a professional for this one.


This one might be a mental battle, but if you can endure the freezing temps, cryotherapy is another potential solution.  For this practice, liquid nitrogen is applied to the discoloration to directly freeze and destroy the excess melanin, leading to their eventual fading as the skin heals.

This procedure treats the spots by using a cotton-tipped swab to apply liquid nitrogen for five seconds or less.  Dependent on your tolerance for pain, this one can definitely feel uncomfortable, but rest assured – it is quite quick.  

Like many things in life, there are potential side effects, which is why it’s crucial to see a board-certified dermatologist in performing this procedure, to ensure permanent side effects don’t occur.

So, like we said… stubborn, yes.  Impossible to solve, No.  Hyperpigmentation, discoloration, dark spots, age spots all used to be skin issues once thought to just be inevitable with age.  But with age comes wisdom, and your YSE (wise) self knows better than that.