Time to Lighten Up


Recently, I took a gander at the world of teen tanning when a “Teens determined to tan, no matter what” headline screamed at me from Msnbc.com. I learned that one in nine teenagers uses sunless tanning products. Cause for “yay, they’re out of the sun,” right? Nope, said teenagers are also using these products alongside tanning beds and bad sun burns.

And dermatologists are noticing. Some report seeing patients in their early 20s with skin more akin to what you get in your mid-30s. This includes the beginning of wrinkles and age spot. Age spots, also known as sun or liver spots, are flat black-brown spots that occur on areas of the skin most exposed to sun. They may be more noticeable on lighter-skinned folk, though all races have them. They like to show up on faces and hands and can also be the result of hormones and acne scarring.

The good news? Age spots are not cancerous. The bad news? If you don’t like them, they can be difficult to rid yourself of them. Some dermatologists use cryotherapy (freezing,) laser therapy, and topical creams. Sun spots are relatively preventable if you start young and are meticulous about wearing sunscreen. But – who was really good about slathering on sunscreen when we were ten years old splashing away in an outdoor swimming pool? If you’re raising your hand alongside me right now, odds are you may be dealing with them.

And yes, sun spots are all part of the natural process of aging. So embrace your age spots – and then, if you choose, send them on their merry way to oblivion. You can consult a dermatologist who will provide you with all sorts of medical options to restore your face to a more even tone – many of which ask you to turn into a chemical receptacle and fork over wheelbarrows full of cash. And so, we’ve already looked at cheaper, homemade remedies to fight dark spots. But this got us thinking – is there a natural product out there that does that trick?


Happily, there seems to be one that helps in La Isha’s Natural Age Spot Eraser ($45.00). La Isha skin care is based on clinical essential oil therapy, inspired when owner Sharon Gnatt Epel’s young son suffered severe chemical burns after a white water river expedition in Panama. (The river was filled with illegal toxic chemicals used by a nearby plantation.) Epel’s son was entirely healed by using medical-grade essentials oil, and she has used the experience to develop a complete line of skin care based on natural essential oils.

But does her Natural Age Spot Eraser work? After using a tiny sample of it for two weeks straight on my most nefarious age spot, I can report that said age spot is, in fact, lighter. Is it gone completely? No, though, to be fair, this product does claim to only gradually fade spots and discolorations. Further, we are instructed to allow a full 90 days for extra stubborn spots.

Containing organic essential oils like “Frankincense, German chamomile, Roman chamomile,” the smell rocks. It feels a bit like aromatherapy when I leave it on my face. And it does not contain hydroquinone or any other harsh artificial chemical-based lighteners. It is pricey at $45, but a little does goes a long way.

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Image: Jason Anfinsen

Katherine Butler

Katherine Butler is the Beauty Editor of EcoSalon and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.