Zap Age Spots

To get rid of dark patches, incorporate these steps into your skincare routine.
Zap Age Spots
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Dark patches of skin can cast a shadow on an otherwise perfectly clear complexion. Whether triggered by sunlight, stress, or inflammation, discoloration reflects an excess of melanin, says Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, M.D., a dermatologist in San Francisco. To get rid of spots, incorporate these steps into your skincare routine.

1 Exfoliate with a product that contains fruit enzymes or AHAs such as lactic acid (found in sour milk) or glycolic acid (derived from sugar cane) to remove overpigmented skin cells and allow active ingredients to penetrate. Try Dermalogica Tri- Active Cleanse ($38;, formulated with lactic acid.

2 Apply a serum or cream containing active natural ingredients such as licorice, kojic acid (a derivative of fungus), niacinamide (part of the vitamin B group), or bearberry extract to slow the production of melanin. (Avoid lightening creams that contain hydroquinone, which the FDA is considering banning as a carcinogen.) Look for Aveda Enbrightenment Brightening Correcting Serum ($50; or Derma E Skin Lighten Natural Fade and Age Spot Créme ($25;

3 Slather on at least SPF 15 to prevent future spots. Check out DDF Protect and Correct UV Moisturizer SPF 15 ($58;, which also contains niacinamide to help further lighten spots, and Olay Definity Color Recapture Tinted Moisturizer ($25; at drugstores) with niacinamide and glucosamine.