Brown age spots on the hands, arms and legs

I am so glad I found this site recommendation on Ellen Dogan's "Menopause Monday's". I am very appreciative of the wisdom and information given here. I am 58 with brown age spots on my hands, arms and especially legs that are very depressing. I know they have been accelerated from previous years of tanning bed use. I started a year ago trying to diminish them as much as possible. My local dermatologist pa first suggested "The Perfect Peel" with boosters which I had applied all over. I saw little if any improvement. This was especially discouraging due to the high cost. After 3 months, she suggested to try a laser. It was used on a couple of spots to see the outcome, and unfortunately all it did was cause the spot to turn red and when the redness faded the spot was still there. Two months ago she tried "freezing". A few on my arms eventually peeled off leaving a lighter shade of brown. My legs took a longer time to peel but then left red spots which are just now beginning to fade somewhat and mixed in appearance. Half seem to be partially gone and half are lightened. Can you suggest anything that might improve the looks of my arms, hands and legs. I don't expect to have a 20 year old look, just the best possible for my age. I am willing to try topical prescription or otc creams, or other ideas. Thank you for your time and thoughts on this. Debra

Ok good question on brown spots on the hands, arms and legs, but whoa that was a long one!  🙂   Nothing is perfect for these, but here is the best we’ve found so far. It’s really a 3 step process: prevention, skin prep and repair.

Preventing and Treating Brown Age Spots

  1. Prevention: there’s no point to spending time and money on this if you are still letting your skin see light, especially sun light. Wear the Bloxsun driving gloves (I have these in my shop here), sunscreen with zinc at least 9%, reapply frequently and even better, keep the areas covered.  You’ll just keep undoing what you’ve improved!
  2. Skin prep/maintenance: You will need some laser work to improve these brown spots.  Peels by themselves don’t help much. But you can maximize the effect of the lasers by good home care. In addition to the above, for one to two months prior build the health of your skin and use a glycolic lotion 10% or higher if you can tolerate it or Amlactin lotion all over the areas to be treated at night. It will start to rev up cell turnover and help slough the old dead skin.  It must be used with the sunscreen above
  3. Lasers: In my opinion, the best is the Fraxel Dual. Why? Because with the 1927 wavelength, done correctly, with the “roller” style head on it, you can get the whole area evenly. Then you can also spot treat a bit at the end with smaller roller head over very resistant ones. If there is a lot of texture to the brown spots – you can feel them when you run your finger over them, then it gets more complicated – too complicated to explain here – and the Fraxel Dual won’t be quite as effective. In my opinion, methods that spot treat only often leave the area looking blotchy and the entire arm, hand or leg could benefit also from improvement since the whole area is sun damaged.

Hope this helps with brown spots on the hands, arms and legs!  Dr. I

See Dr. Irwin’s articles on:

Color and Texture Problems with your skin

Understanding Pigment Problems, like brown spots and age spots

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
Ask Me Something
SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!