Harmless dark flat spots emerge as we get older. They look like freckles but they are called ‘age spots’. What causes them? The Sun. It triggers the body to produce a substance known as melanin, which announces itself as dark spots on the skin. Also there is an increased internal breakdown of materials which eventually shows up as brown spots on the body. There are at least four ways to help prevent this evidence of a long life lived in the sun:
1. avoid excess sun,
2. use sunscreen,
3. exercise each day,
4. eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and
5. use antioxidant supplements to discourage cellular damage to the skin.
The key antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and selenium.
Folk medicine from various countries has favored the application of castor oil on age spots.
Directions: Dab on the oil with a cotton swab. Apply daily as needed.
In the past, many fair—haired German women deliberately ate several raw carrots a day. They believed it helped keep their skin looking young and also helped control age spots. Carrots are one of the many yellow-orange vegetables that contain vast amounts of the antioxidant beta—carotene, a nutrient that may help counteract some of the damage caused by the sun.
Directions: To control age spots, some nutrition—minded physicians prescribe 50,000 international units (I.U.) of beta carotene each day. Note that this is considered a high dose, so only take this amount after you’ve consulted your doctor. And do not take it if you are an alcoholic, or if you have any liver disease.
Northern Italians are often fair-haired and fair—skinned. Occasionally they use a traditional Northern Italian cosmetic poultice to lighten the age spots and freckles that threaten their fair complexions.
Directions: Beat two whole eggs, add a tablespoon of heavy cream and a teaspoon of Epsom salts, then blend with a fork. Use a cotton swab and apply the mixture to brown spots. Wash off about ten minutes later. To prevent drying the skin, apply oil to the spots afterwards.
Lake Constance is a breathtakingly beautiful area between Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. The local women have a cosmetic tradition to mildly bleach age spots.
Directions: Grate two tablespoons of horseradish into four tablespoons of milk and simmer for two or three minutes.
Gently apply the paste to the age spots. Allow it to dry, then gently wash it off. Apply oil to the area to prevent drying the skin.
Panax ginseng is an ancient Chinese herb mentioned over 2,000 years ago in the Chinese pharmacopoeia, Shen Nung Pen Ts’ao. Panax means panacea, and this root continues to be used to overcome general problems of aging such as recovery from an illness, low energy levels, impotence and hot flashes. Chinese, Korean and Russian studies show ginseng is a general and useful tonic for many of the indispositions of aging. Ginseng is available as a tea, tablet, capsule, powder and extract.