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Ask the Skin Expert: Can I Treat Sun Spots Without Chemicals?

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Q. Can I minimize sun or age spots without having to use harsh chemicals?

A. You can! But the results depend on what kind of skin damage you have. If the spot is raised, with a flat surface and even brown color, that's a keratosis. These stubborn growths are trickier to treat. I recommend two dermatologist-adminstered procedures:

In microdermabrasion, tiny particles are blasted on the skin to remove its outer layer. With a Fraxel laser treatment, a laser is used to create tiny penetrations in the skin, stimulating new collagen growth.

But if your spot has irregular borders and uneven color, try over-the-counter treatments. Dab a little lemon juice on the area daily to lighten dark patches, then use an exfoliating scrub twice a week to remove the dead skin cells. The key is sticking with this regimen: It'll take about six weeks to notice any change.

For more tips, read our guide to treating and preventing skin blotches and sun spots.

Ahmet Altiner, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist, an assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical University, and owner of UWS Dermatology & Skincare in New York City.

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