If you’ve been noticing dark spots appearing on your face, chances are that you want these gone as soon as possible. Don’t worry, you have plenty of options – here are six ways to get rid of dark spots on the face.
What Causes Dark Spots to Appear on the Face?
Dark spots, which are also known as age spots or liver spots, can be caused by a few different factors.
Although the exact mechanisms behind this aren’t fully understood yet, sun exposure plays a key role. Other forms of UV exposure, such as tanning beds, have the same effect.
It is believed that the UV rays cause the skin to over-produce melanin, which is the pigment that gives the skin its color. These melanin cells then end up clustering under certain parts of the skin, giving those areas a darker color.
Dark spots can appear anywhere on the face or body. However, it tends to be the areas that are most exposed to the sun that develop dark spots in the highest frequency. This includes:
- The face
- The shoulders
- The backs of the hands
- The forearms
- The upper back
Just about anyone could develop dark spots, but they do become much more common with age. Those who have fair skin, as well as those who have spent lots of time in the sun without wearing sunscreen, are also more prone to dark spots.
There are also a few other factors that can contribute to dark spots, such as:
- Wounds, whether this may be a cut, a burn, or an insect bite
- Irritation from cosmetic products
- Inflammation caused by skin conditions, such as acne or eczema
- Certain medications and their side effects
- Hormonal changes, especially during pregnancy
How to Get Rid of Dark Spots on the Face
There are several different steps that you can take to get rid of dark spots on your face. Ideally, try to go for a combination of methods, as this gives you much more chance of success.
Targeted Serums and Creams
The very first thing that you should do when dealing with dark spots is purchase skin care products that have been designed to lighten and brighten dark areas.
There are certain ingredients out there that are known for their incredible ability to lighten dark spots. They target the parts of the skin with excess melanin, leaving the “normal” areas of skin alone.
Some of the best ingredients to use include:
- Vitamin A – you’ll see this listed as retinol or retinyl palmitate. It does a great job of resurfacing the skin, encouraging those darker skin cells to be shed away
- Vitamin C – this is most commonly listed on a skin care product as ascorbic acid. It’s a must-have for skin brightening, and is known for the way in which it focuses on areas with excess melanin
- Lactic acid – ideally, you should be using a chemical exfoliant on its own (more of this later on), but a serum that also contains lactic acid will help to encourage the shedding of darker skin cells even more
- Licorice extract – this is one of the best botanical ingredients out there for lightening dark spots
- Kojic acid – this is another natural skin lightening ingredient, this time derived from mushrooms
Try to incorporate as many of those ingredients as possible into your skin care routine. If you’re having trouble finding a suitable product that contains all of them, look into the OROGOLD Bio-Brightening Collection.
There are two products in this collection; the 24K Bio-Brightening Dark Spot Solution, which is a nighttime serum, and the 24K Bio-Brightening Pigment Balancing Mask. Together, they contain all of the beneficial ingredients listed above, plus a few extra for skin that really glows.
Be Wary of the Dangerous Skin Lightening Products Out There
Whether you’ve been swayed by some really good advertising or you’re trying to save a few dollars, you may be tempted to purchase a bargain skin lightening product, instead of one that costs a bit more.
There’s nothing wrong with saving some money, but it’s important that you ensure that the product, as well as the brand, that you plan on using is a reputable one.
Some skin lightening products can be downright dangerous. Many have been found to contain mercury or steroids, neither of which were listed on their ingredient lists. You may not notice any immediate damage, but use these harmful ingredients for an extended period of time and your skin will really suffer.
Another ingredient to be careful about is hydroquinone. This is a common addition to skin lightening products, with over-the-counter products allowed to contain 2% of the ingredient. In fact, this is the only cosmetic ingredient out there that the FDA has classified as a bleaching agent.
So, what’s wrong with hydroquinone?
Research has found that it can be toxic to human skin, and is also a known allergen. Some experts also believe that this ingredient could cause cancer, although more studies in this area are limited.
Nevertheless, certain countries, such as South Africa, have completely banned this ingredient. Other countries, such as Canada, have recognized its toxic properties and discourage its use.
While this may be a popular skin lightening ingredient, there are better and safer alternatives out there, so try to give hydroquinone a miss.
Exfoliation can really turn things around for your dark spots.
It encourages the skin to naturally shed its older skin cells at a faster rate. This means that it won’t be long before those darker skin cells make their way to the surface of your skin, where they can then be shed.
However, regular exfoliation is key. It’s not enough to simply exfoliate once or twice a month whenever you happen to remember – it needs to be done on a regular basis if you really want it to make a difference to your dark spots.
What sort of exfoliant should you use?
You have two main options:
- Physical exfoliants, such as scrubs
- Chemical exfoliants, such as acids
They each have their pros and cons. Scrubs tend to be harsher than acids, but they do also help to break up those excessively pigmented skin cells, which allows them to fade faster. On the other hand, chemical exfoliants are known for being more effective than physical. The downside is that they make the skin more sensitive to the sun, and, as you already know, UV exposure is something that will make your dark spots even worse.
Ideally, pick a gentle chemical exfoliant, one that won’t leave your skin too vulnerable. The 24K Multi-Vitamin Deep Peeling + Mandelic Acid is a good choice, since mandelic acid is one of the gentlest, yet still very effective, exfoliating acids out there.
At-home remedies for getting rid of dark spots on the face are always more convenient, but they aren’t as powerful as in-office treatments. There are a few professional treatments that you could consider:
Chemical peels work in a similar way to exfoliation. The difference is that professional chemical peels are much stronger than at-home exfoliants – they usually contain a combination of different potent acids.
Of course, even professional peels vary in strength. Your dermatologist will be able to advise you on the best strength for the dark spots you’ve got.
Whichever you end up going with, a chemical peel will help to remove the outer, damaged layer of dead skin cells, allowing the fresh and clear layers beneath to show through.
Microdermabrasion makes use of a hand-held device that blasts out small abrasive crystal particles at specific areas of the skin. Again, it works in a similar way to exfoliation, but much more intense, buffing away imperfections and dark spots.
Microdermabrasion is also a great way to brighten up an overall dull complexion and stimulate collagen production for a smoother and firmer finish.
Laser resurfacing is a more intensive treatment, but, because of this, it also tends to bring about results surprisingly quickly.
How does it work?
It makes use of concentrated light energy to basically burn away those darker skin cells. This may sound like an easy instant fix, but keep in mind that laser treatments come with a whole host of possible side effects, including:
- Redness and swelling
- Textural changes in the skin
How to Prevent Dark Spots from Appearing or Worsening
It’s not enough to only work on lightening your existing dark spots – you need to also be taking the necessary steps to prevent new ones from appearing, while also preventing your existing ones from getting any worse.
The most important thing that you could do to prevent your dark spots from getting worse is protecting your skin from the sun.
As mentioned, UV exposure is one of the biggest causes of dark spots. Even if you’re making use of the best skin care products and professional treatments in the world, your dark spots aren’t going to go anywhere if you keep exposing your skin to UV rays.
Ideally, you should be using an SPF 30 sunscreen throughout the year. Yes, that’s right, even in the winter months. Although the sun may not feel as hot in the middle of the winter, those damaging UV rays are still around.
Try to use a sunscreen that also contains other ingredients that would be beneficial to your dark spots. The 24K Skin Tone SPF 30 is a good example. In addition to its SPF, this moisturizer has also been infused with:
- Vitamin A
- Green Tea Extract
- Aloe Vera Extract
All of those ingredients can work wonders on dark spots when used on a regular basis. However, don’t just apply your SPF moisturizer in the morning and expect it to stick around all day. You should be reapplying your sunscreen every two to three hours, or more often if you happen to be sweating or swimming.
In addition to making sure that any exposed skin is always covered with sunscreen, you should also be taking additional steps to protect your skin from the sun. Protective clothing, meaning long clothing that covers all of your skin, is always useful, as are sunglasses and sun hats. Staying out of the sun at its hottest hours, meaning the time when UV rays are at their most damaging, will also give your skin some extra protection.
Should You See a Dermatologist?
Dark spots aren’t usually anything to worry about. They don’t cause any pain and are usually just a superficial skin issue, meaning that they won’t cause any deeper damage.
However, if you’ve noticed that your dark spots are appearing unusually frequently, then seeing a dermatologist or a doctor about them would be wise. This also applies to those who find that their daily life is being affected by their dark spots.
What can a dermatologist do?
They will guide you when it comes to the best topical products and ingredients to use for your dark spots. Sometimes, depending on what has caused your dark spots, different approaches may be necessary. Your dermatologist will be able to put together an appropriate treatment plan for you to follow, and may also recommend some of the professional treatments mentioned earlier to help you to get rid of those dark spots on your face even sooner.
Dark spots may not be anything to worry about, but they can definitely make your skin tone look unbalanced and uneven. Fortunately, there are several ways out there that you can get rid of the dark spots on your face, bringing back the flawless clarity you used to enjoy. However, don’t be impatient when it comes to this – depending on how deep and severe your dark spots are, it can take several months for them to fully fade. The important thing is that you continue being consistent in your treatment methods – one day, you will wake up and your dark spots will be gone!