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Health & Wellness

Essential Oils for Reducing the Appearance of Age Spots

There are few things worse for individuals whose 20s are in the rear-view mirror than waking up one day to discover a dark spot that you’d swear wasn’t there a day ago. That age spot is a sign that your skin’s most radiant days have come and gone.

But that doesn’t have to mean the same for you, you know. Beauty, as they say, is only skin deep. There are solutions for decreasing the aesthetic appearance of your age spots, but your daily attitude is up to you.

Also charmingly known as liver spots, dark spots are areas of increased melanin production called hyperpigmentation caused by sun damage that most likely occurred decades ago, long before you were thinking about all the ways your skin can potentially turn on you.

The sun is responsible for approximately 80 percent of the skin’s aging, and sunspots are usually accompanied by skin that is less radiant and more prone to fine lines and wrinkles.

But it is the sunspots—common in people over 50 because that is the time when skin becomes less able to bounce back and collagen production slows—that often attract the most attention. 1

While you can’t take back the time spent in the sun, you can take steps to slow down the aging process aesthetically, thanks to some of the other gifts from nature.

Essential oils are an excellent way to attempt to combat these unwelcome signs of aging because they have the ability to lighten discolored skin, slough off surface cells, and encourage the production of new collagen and elastin cells. This allows the skin to look younger and more rejuvenated.

Vitamin C and Sun Spots

Some of the most effective essential oils to help lighten or erase sun spots are those with vitamin C.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, inhibits the production of the enzyme tyrosinase, which controls the production of melanin. According to a 2013 study in the Indian Dermatology Online Journal, vitamin C helps protect skin cells from oxidative stress.

Adding it to your skin care regimen is an excellent step toward a more youthful appearance because exposure to the sun zaps vitamin C from the skin, leaving it more vulnerable to free radical damage. 2

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, vitamin C has been shown in some studies to repair or reduce the damage from photoaging, making oils that are high in this nutrient an excellent way to take back your youthful glow. 3

This powerful antioxidant helps speed the turnover of surface cells while promoting collagen production in the skin’s dermis layer, so as dead skin cells are sloughed away, new, more vibrant cells are revealed. Some essential oils rich in vitamin C include:

Bergamot Essential Oil

In addition to vitamin C, this Italian citrus fruit is packed with limonene, an antioxidant that protects collagen and elastin skin protein cells, strengthening the skin’s structural layer. 4

Neroli Essential Oil

Another member of the citrus family, neroli offers vitamin C and nerolidol, a compound that makes it a powerful antioxidant that can fight free radicals, protecting skin from damage while helping it heal.

Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon has long been used as a skin lightener, and lemon oil offers plenty of skin-nourishing benefits. A 1999 study from Italian researchers that appeared in the Drugs Under Experimental and Clinical Research found that lemon oil helped repair tissue damage caused by sun exposure while protecting skin due to powerful antioxidant activity. 5

Anise Essential Oil

Anise is also rich in vitamin C, which protects collagen and elastin cells from signs of aging, including dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. Anise contains two compounds: limonene, an antioxidant that encourages the production of collagen so skin is more elastic and youthful, and linalool, which helps boost the natural production of vitamin E. The two vitamins naturally protect the skin’s dermis layer, made up of collagen and elastin cells.

Other essential oils with vitamin C include tangerine, grapefruit, wild orange, lime, and other citrus oils.

Other Essential Oils for Age Spots

While vitamin C is one of the best-known compounds for targeting dark spots, it's not the only option. Many other essential oils have nutrients that help improve the appearance of skin, restoring your radiant glow.

Helichrysum Essential Oil

Helichrysum is a versatile oil that contains cicatrizing properties, which suggests that it helps repair skin at the cellular level, repairing sun damage and stimulating the production of new skin cells.

Chamomile Essential Oil

The bisabolol in chamomile essential oil helps fight dark spots by speeding cell turnover while encouraging the production of new collagen and elastin cells. As old cells slough away, new cells are exposed.

Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense has many benefits, including helping erase signs of aging. A 2013 study appearing in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine found that the fatty acids in frankincense were beneficial for aging skin. 6

Sandalwood, lavender, carrot seed, geranium seed, rose, patchouli, and myrrh essential oils have also been shown to help lighten age spots and target other unwelcome signs of aging.

The Carrier Oils

The best carrier oils to pair with essential oils are also those packed with anti-aging benefits. When used together, the two can work in synergy to lift away dark spots and help give skin a more youthful, vibrant look. Most carrier oils are similar to the skin’s natural sebum, so they keep the skin naturally hydrated without clogging pores or triggering the production of excess sebum.

Argan Oil

Argan oil is packed with vitamins A and E, two powerful, skin-friendly antioxidants. In a 2015 study in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging, Moroccan researchers found that argan oil helped improve the elasticity of aging skin. 7

Olive Oil

There are Italian grandmothers who swear by olive oil, and it is the only moisturizer they use on their skin. According to a 2012 study from French researchers that appeared in the PLoS One, the fatty acids in olive oil helped protect against oxidative stress while fighting the effects of photoaging. 8

Almond Oil

This gentle, nutrient-dense carrier oil pairs well with essential oils because it offers moisture that penetrates beneath the skin’s surface, where cells can heal. A 2010 study in the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice highlighted the emollient properties of almond oil and its benefits on skin. 9

Jojoba Oil

This carrier oil is rich in vitamins C and E, which help encourage the regeneration of skin cells, so signs of aging are reduced over time.

Pomegranate Seed Oil

A 2009 study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that appeared in Experimental Dermatology found that pomegranate seed oil, which is rich in vitamin C, helped reduce damage caused by sun exposure. 10


If you're looking to reduce the appearance of age spots and give your skin a more youthful, vibrant glow, try a few of the essential oils and carrier oils highlighted above and prepare to benefit the benefits this potent combination will provide for your skin.

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