Dr. Herzog: How To Remove Brown Spots On Hands


A Family Savvy reader asks Dr. Herzog how to remove brown spots on hands….

photo of JoToday, Dr. Herzog answers a question that I emailed to her regarding a problem I have – brown spots on both hands. She offered some wonderful options for dealing with this.


Dr. Jo, now that it is cooler and I’ve stopped using self-tanner, I’ve noticed that my hands look like those of a much older woman and are covered with tiny brown spots. What is the quickest, most economical way to remove or lighten these? Thanks! Jamie


Dear Jamie,

The problem you have with your hands is not uncommon. Many of us have this problem because we forget to treat our hands the way we treat our face. Why have a young, spotless face when your hands give away your age?

Most of the “spots” that we get on our hands as we age are the result of sun exposure. This causes freckling and lentigines-brown spots. Use a sunscreen on your hands and chest the same way as you would use it on your face-don’t go out without it.

I tell my patients that the same applies to using Retin-A (tretinoin) and any anti-aging creams that they would use on the face. Apply them to your hands, neck, and chest when applying to the face. The use of these products will help prevent these spots and might even be a good start at lightening them.

In addition to using a topical tretinoin product, dermatologists may prescribe a bleaching cream to use for 8-12 weeks at a time. This will also aid in lightening  these spots. However, I do not think that constant use of creams that help a small amount is the most economical way to treat this problem.

Laser is not an expensive treatment for hands, as the area is small and easy to treat. Chemical peels can also be done on the hands. A $500 laser treatment that can later be maintained with sunscreen and Retin-A might be much more economical in the long run and much more satisfying than buying twenty $50 bottles of  “spot removers” or such that make great promises but don’t deliver. If you have fractional CO2 laser, it will also tighten the skin and make it look younger.

Hands can look old for other reasons also. Crepe-like skin and protruding veins can make hands look old. We can now inject fillers such as Radiesse  into hands and within minutes have them looking much younger.

Keep in mind that whatever you do to solve this problem will be a waste if you do not wear your sunscreen after the problem is resolved as it will come right back to where you started.

Hope this helps, Jamie,

Dr. Jo


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