"Everybody's got them: old, young, middle-aged, men and women," explains Drew of the YouTube channel Fitlife.
You know what he's talking about: age spots. The little brown spots that appear on the skin after significant time in the sun can be beautiful, but they are also signs of aging. This is why age spots appear most often and in higher concentration on people over the age of 50. However, anyone who spends a significant amount of time in the sun can see them pop up on their skin. At the height of summer, you may notice sun spots on your own skin.
What causes them?
Drew explains in a YouTube video that age (or sun) spots are caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun. When your skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays, the body produces melanin as a way to tan the skin, effectively building up an armor to protect the deeper layers of skin. This is why age spots typically appear on the arms, neck, shoulders, face, and other areas of the body that are most often exposed to the sun.
While sun spots are not ordinarily dangerous, if you notice some are much darker than others, have been growing quickly, or have oddly shaped borders, you should visit a doctor. If they are red, tender, or bleeding, you should see a doctor immediately.
What to do about them?
Even if your age spots are harmless, you may be tired of looking at them. Luckily, Drew explains in the following video, there is a method for removing them! The method, which was developed by Doug Willen, D.C., a NYC nutrition expert and author of Quantum Paleo, uses just two simple ingredients: onion and apple cider vinegar.
To make the homemade solution, dice fresh onion and put the pieces in a plastic bag. Then, using some sort of heavy object, crush the onions to extract their juices. Pour the onion with 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar into a blender and blend until well-mixed.
Next, dip a cotton ball or cloth into the mixture and apply the solution directly to the age spots. For best results, Drew recommends doing this once a day. After 2 to 4 weeks, you should see improvement.
"This remedy might not be an overnight fix, but it's extremely effective," says Drew.
He explains the solution works because onions have an antioxidant property that neutralizes free radicals and encourages healing on the outer layer of the skin, while the alpha-hydroxy acid in apple cider vinegar works to remove the layer of dead skin, where most age spots actually reside.
Can you prevent them?
Though Dr. Willen's recipe for age spot removal can work miracles, the best way to deal with age spots is to prevent them from appearing in the first place!
According to Dr. Ray Peat, Ph.D., in an article for Harpers Bazaar, age spots are not only caused by the sun. Your hormones and diet can also play a role. Unsaturated fats and excess iron are culprits related to diet. To prevent age spots, eliminate polyunsaturated fats from your diet and talk to your doctor about finding out whether your iron is too high.