How to Get Rid of Sunspots on Your Skin

by Linda Robison

It's possible to lighten age spots with inexpensive treatments and preventive measures like sunscreen.

No matter how small, sun spots anywhere on your skin (especially your face) are embarrassing!

But here's the good news: This guide is all about affordable and doable solutions you can try right at home. From creams to at-home DIY peels, I've got your back.

I've even got some impressive self before-and-after pics to prove it works!

Ready to reclaim your even skin tone? Let's do this! 


Anyone who gets regular sun exposure will eventually begin to notice dark spots on their skin. 

Sunspots, (solar lentigines, brown spots, or age spots as they are also called), are caused by prolonged exposure to the sun, specifically ultraviolet rays. 

They usually look like flat brown or coco colored dots and appear on areas that get the most sun exposure.

NOTE: If you see changes or discoloration on your skin, please always check with a dermatologist to make sure it's not something more serious before trying any suggestions on this page.

How do I get rid of my sunspots

Banish Sun Spots: Effective Strategies for Smoother Skin

There are several ways to lighten sun-induced hyperpigmentation, including:

Topical Treatments: There are various over-the-counter creams that contain retinoids, alpha arbutin, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), and vitamin C and B3 (niacinamide) that can help fade sunspots over time.

Chemical Peels: Dermatologists can perform chemical peels to exfoliate the top layer of skin, which can reduce the appearance of sunspots.

Laser Therapy: Laser treatments, like intense pulsed light (IPL) or fractional lasers, can target and break down the pigment in sunspots, leading to their gradual fading.

Cryotherapy: Some sunspots can be removed through cryotherapy, which involves freezing them with liquid nitrogen. Although, I'm not sure anyone does this anymore. 

My Experience: I've tried cryotherapy, and the expensive laser therapy and my spots came back overtime. Even though, I used sunscreen as much as possible. 

So, for this reason, in this article, I'll mostly cover over-the-counter topical treatments and at-home chemical peel options.

Why? Because you can do them all the time for little money and keep those spots from coming back or prevent new ones from become too dark. 

Topical treatment: Vitamin C to lighten skin discoloration

Vitamin C can help lighten and brighten skin tone and discoloration. And, help keep skin younger looking by promoting collagen production. 

So it's a win-win! And, it's cheap! 😘

Vitamin C naturally helps suppress pigment formation, so over time, those brown sunspots on your face and hands will begin to lighten up.

According to The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology (JCAD) "Vitamin C is the most powerful antioxidant in the skin, vitamin C has been shown to protect against photoaging, ultraviolet-induced immunosuppression, and photocarcinogenesis. It also has an antiaging effect by increasing collagen synthesis, stabilizing collagen fibers, and decreasing collagen degradation. It decreases melanin formation, thereby reducing pigmentation. 1

Proof: At-home treatment really works!

In the first two pictures below, you can see my results after only a few months of using a vitamin C serum that contained freshly mixed ascorbic acid.

Compare the dark sun spot on my neck skin (on the left)  to the after picture on the right. It's almost gone and the middle ring around my neck is smoother.

However, you can still see a lot of sun damage and tiny spots on my skin.

Spots on neck. how to reduce sun spots on skin with vitamin C lightening treatments

Several months later, my skin looks better, smoother and while you can still see the sun spot, it's much lighter and less noticeable.

Sun spots on neck skin lighter after a few months of vitamin C treatments.

Reducing dark spots with vitamin C: Facts

Sounds too good to be true? Well, there are some facts you need to know to get the best results.

Most treatments usually work better on the facial skin because it’s thinner. Treating sunspots on your arms and legs can be really difficult due to the thickness of the skin in those areas.

Here are some tips to get better results when trying to lighten sun spots.

L-Ascorbic Acid Powder

This is the best form of C to lighten sun spots and discoloration. However, this form degrades quickly. So the chances of getting good results are slim, unless you use fresh vitamin C. 

Most store bought creams that contain vitamin C are not potent or fresh enough.

The best way to get good results is to mix up a fresh batch of serum and use it within 30 days, then make another fresh batch. 

See how to mix fresh C serum to lighten sunspots and get important facts for the best results.

Update: I recently started adding niacinamide powder to my vitamin C mixture too. Too early to tell how well it's working, but niacinamide is known for its anti-aging, skin discoloration abilities. So it can't hurt, and it's cheap!


Regular exfoliation is especially important if you're going to use C serums to help lighten spots. It helps encourage the removal of damaged old cells. And offers faster results.

You can use a variety of methods to do this, including:

Peels: Home peel for sunspots

What are some other treatments to get rid of sunspots on skin? Face peels.

Face peels, also known as chemical peels, are effective in removing brown spots for 3 reasons:

1. Exfoliation: They work by exfoliating the top layers of skin, which includes the damaged and pigmented cells responsible for brown spots.

2. Stimulate Skin Renewal: Peels encourage the production of new skin cells, which are more evenly toned. This can help fade brown spots over time as new, healthier skin replaces the old.

3. Even Skin Tone: Peels can improve the overall tone and texture of the skin, making the spots less noticeable.

A less costly treatment includes lightening serums and lotions formulated for sun damaged skin.

Two good ones to consider are: 

Zenmed Skin Eraser. This one is a great option because it combines 2 steps, a light scrub, with a light peel. You only need to use this one a few times a year. **I use it during the winter months for best results.

City Beauty – Illuminating Dark Spot Corrector

Lasers & Cryotherapy: Optional spot removal options

Prescription retinols and exfoliating creams such as Tretinoin and Renova are also good at fading spots as well. 

More extreme measures to remove spots from sensitive facial skin are chemical peels, IPL (intense pulsed light) and laser resurfacing like:

  • Fraxel
  • CO2 laser
  • Clear & Brilliant

Ask your dermatologist which is best for your condition.

Over-the-counter retinols can help lighten sunspots on the face (not the body), but my take a longer time to achieve desired results. 

A relatively quick, in-office procedure is Cryotherapy. This procedure freezes the spot using liquid nitrogen. 

But, unfortunately, this option didn't work for the age spots on my body.

My leg is covered with age spots and nothing really gets rid of them.Spots on my legs

NOTE: This may not work for deep spots on the arms and legs. I've had this done several times and still have spots on my lower legs.

Final: Is it possible to lighten sun spots at home?

At-home remedies and over-the-counter products like the ones mentioned above can help lighten spots on thinner areas like the face and neck. And religious use of sunscreen can help keep them from coming back.

This guide has provided a range of options, from topical treatments to at-home DIY peels, all designed to help you regain an even skin tone.

The effectiveness of these methods is supported by my impressive before-and-after pictures, proving that at-home results possible.

Remember, anyone regularly exposed to the sun will eventually encounter dark spots, but with the right strategies, you can lighten and prevent them from becoming too prominent. So, are you ready to reclaim your smooth and radiant skin?

For the thinner skin areas like your face, it will be an ongoing process. If you're prone to brown sun spots like I am (Irish descent), it's just something you'll have to work on daily. 

And remember to wear UVA/UVB sunscreen of at least 30 SPF daily.

FAQ: Sun spots on skin

Q: Do you get vitamin C from the sun

A: No, you do not directly get vitamin C from the sun because it's not synthesized by sunlight.

However, exposure to sunlight can indirectly affect your vitamin C levels. Sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D in the skin, and vitamin D plays a role in enhancing the absorption of dietary vitamin C.

So while the sun does not provide vitamin C directly, it can influence your body's ability to utilize vitamin C from food sources. 

Q: Are freckles and sun spots the same?

A: Freckles and sunspots are not exactly the same, although they are both related to sun exposure.

Freckles, also known as ephelides, are small brown spots that often appear on the face, arms, and other sun-exposed areas of the body.

They are typically genetic and tend to darken with sun exposure. Freckles are harmless and are caused by an increased production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color.

Sunspots, on the other hand, are also known as solar lentigines or age spots.

They are flat, tan, brown, or black spots that appear on areas of the skin frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, shoulders, and arms.

Sunspots are usually larger than freckles and tend to develop later in life, hence the name "age spots." They are caused by an accumulation of melanin in specific areas due to prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

While both freckles and sunspots are influenced by sun exposure and involve an increase in melanin production, sunspots are generally associated with aging and long-term sun damage, while freckles are more commonly associated with genetic factors and may fade or lighten during the winter months when sun exposure is reduced.

Q: What can sun spots look like?

A: Sun spots are typically tan, brown, or black in color. They can range in shade from light to dark, depending on the individual and the amount of sun exposure.

They're often round or oval. And have well-defined with smooth edges or slightly irregular in shape.

They can vary in size, ranging from small spots to larger patches on the skin. They are typically smaller than a centimeter in diameter.

You can see pictures of what sun spots on the legs look like. 

Q: Can you recommend a home face peel for sun spots?

A: Sure. I highly suggest the Zenmed Skin Eraser kit. It does a great job of exfoliating the dead, darkened skin cells and evens out your skin tone. You only need to use it about 3 times a year, if you're using vitamin C daily.

And most important: Make sure you're using a cream or serum containing fresh vitamin C every day. I mix my vitamin C powder into my morning moisturizer daily.