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How to Remove Dark, Scaly Age Spots (Actinic Keratosis) Easily and Cheaply By Yourself

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Tom Lohr is a navy veteran, world traveler, adventurer, baseball fan and hot dog aficionado. He loves dogs and hates political correctness.

Large, nasty age spot

Large, nasty age spot

Tick Tock

There are no two ways about it: getting old sucks. Not only do you have to deal with waning stamina, libido, energy and strength, it is also a struggle to maintain a presentable appearance. Having children shriek when they see me is not my idea of an ideal retirement.

In addition to graying hair, hair loss, ear hair, wild eyebrow hairs, wrinkles, sagging parts of the body and other unpleasant aspects of aging, your skin can become unsightly. There are ways and treatments to stave off and delay the inevitable, but eventually, you will experience most of these symptoms. You can submit, or you can fight off Father Time for as along as possible.

One of the most common (and most unsightly) symptoms of maturing is age spots. Called actinic keratosis, most folks just refer to them as age or liver spots. Many are light in color and don't make you look like a leper, but occasionally a few get nasty. The really dark and scaly age spots can be seen from afar and make people wonder if you should see a dermatologist.

I was unfortunate enough to get a nasty looking spot that was extremely visible on my forearm. It bothered me for a few years until my doctor referred me to a dermatology specialist. The dermatologist basically froze the spot with some liquid nitrogen and called it day: and charged me $300. In addition to it being extremely overpriced for a simple treatment, it didn't really do anything to remove the age spot. The clinic said I should come back for a second treatment; I could hear the cash register ringing in the background.

Determined not to be fleeced again, I decided to tackle the spot myself. I took a few science classes in high school, so how hard could it be? All I had to do was get some super cold spray stuff and wait. As it turns out, it really is that easy. Here's how:

All you need for treatment

All you need for treatment

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1. Prepare the Treatment

Get a cotton swab, plastic cup, and a can of extremely cold spray. You could get some nitrogen spray, but just as good and cheaper is a computer coolant spray that I used.

2. Let It Snow!

Spray a good amount into a plastic cup covered with a tissue. If you do not cover to the top of the cup while spraying, it will blow back on you. The coolant comes out in a mist/spray and needs to be trapped in the cup so that is collects into a liquid on the bottom.

The coolant exits the can as a mist

The coolant exits the can as a mist

3. A Little Dab Will Do You

Once there is about ¼ of an inch of liquid in the bottom of the cup, dip the tip of a cotton swab into it and hold the swab onto the age spot as long as you can stand it. It will sting a little, but nothing extreme. Repeat this process three times.

Directly after treatment. Notice the redness around the age spot from freezing.

Directly after treatment. Notice the redness around the age spot from freezing.

4. Patience is a Virtue

Removing the age spots is an exercise in patience. Once you have frozen it the first time you will need to leave it alone for at least a week; probably longer. Some of the discolored skin should begin to flake away by then.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

It is possible, but unlikely, that one treatment will remove the age spot. Repeat the process at least one or two more times. Each time more of the age spot will flake off. Expect full results in about 4-6 months.

After third treatment and about six months later. The spot is now barely visible.

After third treatment and about six months later. The spot is now barely visible.

Don't Give In

It is an uphill battle against the detrimental effects of aging. I hate to be the one to tell you, but it's a battle we are all destined to lose. The goal is to fight off the clock as long as possible. Age spots are part of that process, and there is no reason to fork over hundreds of dollars to dermatologists cashing in on senior vanity. Take control of some of the aging process, and tell time to kiss your ass.

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