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How to Get Rid of Age Spots on the Hands?

Dark spots on the hands typically appear with age. Most often harmless to health, they can nevertheless be considered unsightly by the subjects concerned. Find here our advice and recommendations to reduce their appearance but also to prevent their appearance.

What Are Causes for Dark Spots on the Hands?

Dark or age spots are due to a disturbance in the pigmentation process (melanogenesis). Melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its natural color, is overproduced in certain areas, which leads to the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

On the hands, they generally appear after the age of 50. Their appearance is linked to repeated exposure to the sun's UV rays. Indeed, with age, the skin is no longer able to protect itself completely from external aggressions and deteriorates.

When this happens, it becomes more vulnerable to UV rays, which leads to sun spots, also called age spots or lentigo, on the most exposed areas, i.e., the hands, but also sometimes the face, shoulders, or back. In addition, certain drug treatments that affect hormones are likely to cause the appearance of brown spots on the surface of the epidermis.

Removal of Dark Spots on Hands.

So, how to get rid of age spots easily and naturally? 

To eliminate these irregularities, aesthetic medicine is particularly effective. However, there are less invasive and gentler age spot treatments to reduce their appearance or remove them naturally. Such as the use of skincare products rich in lightening agents, e.g., hand cream for age spots. Below is a non-exhaustive list of molecules known for their depigmenting action in skincare:

This dicarboxylic acid derived from cereals reduces the ability of melanocytes to produce melanin by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase and regulating the activity of the enzyme thioredoxin reductase. In addition, it targets only pigment-laden or atypical melanocytes. Therefore, it does not interact with healthy cells.

Often referred to as a natural hydroquinone because of its pigment-regulating nature, arbutin acid's remarkable effectiveness against dark spots is due to its perfect affinity with the active site of tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in melanin formation. Thus, this competitive inhibition of the active site of the enzyme blocks its activity, and consequently the synthesis of melanin. 

This AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) is a chemical exfoliant: it gets rid of melanin-rich skin cells on the skin's surface. This phenomenon can even go so far as to provoke cell renewal in the basal layer of the skin, i.e., the deep layer of the epidermis, where the melanocytes, the melanin-producing cells, are located. This helps to reduce remove dark spots naturally that are caused by age and the sun and thus to lighten the complexion.

Designated as “Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract” by INCI, the extract of licorice contains 95% of glabridine, a compound intervenes at several levels to regulate the phenomenon of hyperpigmentation. It considerably reduces the amount of endothelin-1 (a mediator involved in the pigmentation process) released by keratinocytes after UV exposure. In addition, it inhibits the activity of phospholipase A2 (PLA2), an enzyme released by epidermal keratinocytes after UV exposure or during inflammation that stimulates tyrosinase activity and therefore melanogenesis.

This synthetic derivative of lysine, an amino acid found in the skin, acts on skin hyperpigmentation by blocking the interaction between skin cells and melanocytes, thus limiting melanin synthesis. Tranexamic acid then visibly reduces skin color irregularities and improves skin tone uniformity.

How to Prevent the Appearance of Dark Spots on the Hands?

Dark spots are caused by a phenomenon called oxidative stress. This is the deterioration of healthy molecules and compounds in the skin by oxygen radicals (free radicals) generated in excess by the sun's UV rays. These are particularly unstable and reactive because of their single electrons. They destabilize the cellular mechanisms of the skin, which then produce too much melanin, resulting in brown spots. 

Some compounds can stabilize these free radicals, making them much less harmful to the skin and preventing the appearance of several deteriorations such as dark spots but also wrinkles, skin slackening, etc. Among these preventive molecules on hyperpigmentation, we find vitamin C, ferulic acid, resveratrol, etc. which will neutralize free radicals. Regular use of a vitamin C hand cream will help prevent the appearance of age spots.

Furthermore, to avoid dark spots, it is essential to protect your skin with asun care product adapted to your skin tone. Even if sun cream can protect the skin from hyperpigmentation spots, we recommend avoiding sun exposure between 11am and 3pm.

Sources :

  • LOWE N. J. & al. Azelaic acid 20% cream in the treatment of facial hyperpigmentation in darker-skinned patients. Clinical Therapeutics (1998).

  • GAO J. & al. The use of botanical extracts as topical skin-lightening agents for the improvement of skin pigmentation disorders. Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings (2008).

  • CHANG T. S. An updated review of tyrosinase inhibitors. International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2009).

  • SARKAR R. & al. Cosmeceuticals for hyperpigmentation: what is available ? Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery (2013).

  • H. MOHAMMADAMINI & al. A comprehensive review of the therapeutic potential of alpha-arbutin. Phytotherapy Research (2021).

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