Sun Spots Starting To Form? Don't Worry: Here 3 Treatments To Reverse The Look Of Dark Spots On Hands
Dark spots are the result of inflammation in the skin triggering melanocytes to produce more pigment. This can be the result of physical damage (as in the case of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), overall inflammation, and most notably, sun exposure. Sun exposure is actually the No. 1 cause of premature aging in the skin, accounting for up to 80% of visible signs of aging1.
Considering the hands are some of the most exposed and unprotected areas of the body, it's no wonder they're so susceptible to sun spots. While one of the best things you can do to improve your overall complexion is to wear sunscreen (it's never too late to start!), you may be already seeing the residual effects of past sun damage.
So, what can you do to fade already existing dark spots? Well, you have options, from daily habits to professional treatments. Here, what to know.
Antioxidant-rich hand cream
If you haven't already, invest in a high-quality hand cream. The hands deal with a lot, including frequent washing, exposure to UV radiation and pollution, and just general wear and tear. All of this makes the hands age faster than the rest of your body, so you'll likely experience concerns like dryness, crepiness, fine lines, thinning of the skin, and sun spots.
A hydrating, antioxidant-rich moisturizer will help alleviate some of these issues and protect it from further damage.
Antioxidants in particular are important for dark spots, as they can help improve brightness, even tone, and fade pigmentation. Look for the following ingredients, which have been shown to help improve the appearance of dark spots and even tone:
- Coenzyme Q10
- Vitamin C
- Plant oils (like moringa seed oil, jojoba oil, and oat oil)
- Shea butter
- Fruit and plant extracts (like watermelon, apple, or berry extract)
mindbodygreen's postbiotic hand cream uses a blend of organic aloe vera, shea butter, cold-pressed moringa seed oil, oat oil, a trio of fruit extracts, coenzyme Q10, and more, to provide the skin antioxidant protection.
Retinol at night
Retinol is one of the most effective and well-studied healthy aging ingredients available. The ingredient helps fade dark spots as it actually increases cell turnover in the skin. By spreading up the skin cell life cycle, younger, more vibrant skin cells underneath are revealed—cells undamaged by UV radiation.
Retinol body products have become quite popular and can be used as excellent nighttime treatments for the hands. When using it on the hands, just be sure to pay close attention to how your skin is tolerating the ingredient, as retinol can come with some challenges. Most notably, the ingredient can be irritating for sensitive skin.
Only use a small amount a few nights a week. You can further buffer the active by pairing it with a gentle cream (like the hand creams mentioned here), which will help alleviate any drying effect.
Here are some of our favorite retinol serums and creams—plus, how to use them.
If at-home treatments and topicals are great day-to-day options to improve the overall appearance of the skin—as well as the long-term health. But, for more dramatic results, professional intervention might be needed.
We tend to think of visiting the dermatologist or aesthetician for facial concerns, but there are lots of things that can be done to help fade dark spots on your hands.
- Chemical peels
- IPL lasers
Next time you have a facial or derm appointment, ask them what can be done to help the area.
Dark spots on the hands are a shockingly common concern for folks—or perhaps it shouldn't be all that surprising, considering how many external stressors the hands are exposed to. If you haven't already, we really encourage you to use sunscreen on the area daily. And as for reversing dark spots, opt for an antioxidant-rich hand cream, retinol, or even in-office options.
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.