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At-home treatment for sun spots?

Asked by Shelly


I have a few “sun spots” on my face I have been trying to (economically) diminish for some time. My routine is: In the am: 10% glycolic, anti-oxidant moisturizer and a physical sunscreen. In the pm: 0.5 retin A and an anti-oxidant moisturizer. I do a weekly glycolic peel on my entire face and I have tried a 2% hydroquinone on my sun spots. They have lightened up a little, but not what I want to them to be. Do you have any other suggestions that I can do myself that might help to lighten them up?

Shelly answered
    Dr. Schultz 1.86K Rep.

    The treatments you have described are often helpful for “sun spots” or other forms of brown/tan discolorations but they are all technique dependent, ie, dose , strength, duration of use, order of application, etc.

    Depending on these parameters the same ingredients can work or fail…just depends on how they are used. And one needs to be sure that the “sun spots” being treated are really benign brown pigmentation from the sun which is best determined by one’s dermatologist. While it’s not possible to give specific instructions on how to treat real sunspots without seeing them, I can tell you the types of topical products I recommend for my patients with them: Physical sunscreen with Zinc and Titanium, Bleaching products with 4% hydroquinone with or without tretinoin, topical Vitamin C antioxidants, glycolic products that are pH adjusted to DELIVER a therapeutic amount of glycolic to the skin, and if needed, superficial peels in the office using professional strength glycolic or salicylic acid.

    Even these measures with the proper technique may not make real sun spots disappear completely in which case painless laser treatments usually work.

    Dr. Schultz answered

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