Preventing darkening of “sun spots” with self tanner – is there a solution?

Hello Doctor Irwin Trie everything for lower arms sun damage, has faded a bit with Obagi Sunfader and much use of rubbing fresh lemon juice 2 times daily but when I use a fake tan freckles come up dark brown there any solution for fading sun damage in order to use fake tan with a nice result@ thanks a lot Liz

Well, there’s not a perfect solution but there IS improvement and here’s why. Some sun damage spots (lentigoes) are just those completely flat tan or brown spots and if you run a finger over them you can’t feel ANY texture change. Other sun damage spots are just barely rough or rough. If there’s any question about these, see your dermatologist first. The rough or very slightly rough ones have a thicker outer dead skin layer – the stratum corneum. And, it absorbs self tanner unevenly and more.


If you want to improve this, you have to smooth that dead layer with weekly use of a body scrub and a daily body lotion that thins and smooths it like Amlactin (drugstore) or a Neostrata Body Lotion 10% with glycolic. I also like the SkinCeuticals Face, Neck and Hand product for this. If that fails, then you will need a laser treatment, liquid nitrogen or peel done by an experienced dermatologist.


Hope this helps,


Dr. I


Learn more about anti aging products by reading our article about sun damage repair creams.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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