How to banish brown spots


We can live with the odd laughter line but blotchy skin is not negotiable. An uneven complexion makes skin appear dull, adding years to any face. Not to mention how tricky brown spots are to conceal with makeup.

The term hyperpigmentation covers everything from age spots to sun damage and freckles. While the sun is the chief culprit, oestrogen fluctuations due to menopause, pregnancy and the contraceptive pill all trigger excess melanin production, which accelerates brown spots on skin.

So with all that to consider the search for clarity begins with the most wallet-friendly purchase ‒ sunscreen.

“We can’t go back in time, and the truth is that brown spots appear as we age, due to the number of years we have spent in the sun,” says Angela Frazer, appearance medicine nurse at Prescription Skin Care in Auckland. “However the more sun exposure you get the darker and greater in number brown spots become.”


For a less patchy and more perfect-looking complexion, try: 1. Thalgo Brightening Regulating Essence, $175. 2. Elizabeth Arden Skin Illuminating Advanced Brightening Day Serum, $150. 3. La Mer The Brightening Serum Intense, $380. 4. Murad White Brilliance Illuminating Night Moisture, $112. 5. Perricone MD Blue Plasma, $170.

Frazer says sunscreen is still the simplest and cheapest way to prevent more brown spots from appearing. “Get into the habit of wearing sunscreen every day. If you’re not prepared to do this, then don’t waste your money on skin-lightening serums.”

For best results use a sunscreen that contains a high percentage of zinc oxide to reflect the sun before it has the chance to absorb into skin. We like Invisible Zinc Tinted Light Daywear, $40, which doubles as a foundation thanks to its beige tone.

For those with very dark pigmentation, a speedy solution may be blasting it with the Laser Pigmentation Removal from $225 (at, but you’ll need to commit to at least three sessions.

And for surface discolouration, this is the time to nip it in the bud before hitting the beach. Thanks to new technology a raft of antioxidant skin-brightening alternatives including serums and peels is on offer.