By Karyn Maier

Age spots, also called liver spots, are most commonly seen in people over the age of 50, but serial sun worshippers can expect to see them appear at a much younger age. These telltale dark spots typically appear on areas of skin that have had the most sun exposure, like the back of the hands, shoulder tops, the décolletage area and the face. If you just peeked and didn't like what you found, you might want to reach for some coconut oil.

Coconut with coconut oil in jar on wooden background
credit: Lecic/iStock/GettyImages
How to Use Coconut Oil for Age Spots

Face Spots Head On

Coconut oil provides several benefits that help to eliminate accumulated deposits of the skin pigment melanin, which leads to age spots. The oil, a solid at room temperature, contains a number of fatty acids, including the skin-loving lauric acid, as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and antioxidant compounds. Collectively, these substances target and fight invading pathogens and free radicals that speed up the aging process. Most important, the antioxidant activity of coconut oil encourages cell turnover, helping you shed your old skin and reveal a new, glowing you.

Getting Under Your Skin

Coconut oil penetrates skin to hydrate, heal damaged skin cells and help to correct hyper-pigmentation. Antioxidants, like vitamin E in particular, go to work quickly to reduce oxidative damage in cells because they have a small molecular weight, which allows them to get past the gatekeeper that is your epidermis. A simple way to use coconut oil to reduce the appearance of age spots is to apply a light layer on clean skin as a nighttime moisturizer, paying special attention to spotty areas. Rinse with warm water in the morning and repeat each night. For the best results, be sure to use virgin, organic, cold-pressed coconut oil.

Lighten Up With Lemon

Lemon juice is a natural whitening agent, as your preteen self might remember from trying to go blonde in summer. Combined with coconut oil, age spots are up against a one-two punch. For this daily treatment, squeeze 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice into a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and mix well. Apply to the affected areas of your skin with a cotton ball. Rest for 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water and pat the skin dry.

Turn Back Time With Turmeric

Turmeric, the same spice that flavors curry, can help to even out skin tone. The root of this herb gets its vibrant golden color and high antioxidant value from curcumin, a plant polyphenol that has been shown to inhibit the production of melanin from the pineal gland. This treatment is in the form of a mask made with 2 tablespoons coconut flour; 1 tablespoon coconut oil; 1 teaspoon organic, raw honey; and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder. Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and apply with fingertips to clean skin. Wait 30 minutes, then rinse with warm water, using a washcloth, if needed. Splash with cool water to close the pores and pat the skin dry. For best results, repeat weekly.

Enlist the Essentials

Many essential oils provide anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, a few drops of which can enhance any coconut oil treatment. Certain essential oils improve the appearance of other skin issues that leave their mark, too, like stretch marks and scars. A sampling of these allies includes lavender, Helichrysum, carrot seed, frankincense and tea tree essential oils.