From freckles and dark or age spots to scarring, many things can make your complexion appear uneven. The discolored spots on the skin can range from light brown to dark brown. The color of dark spots will depend on the tone of a person’s skin. The spots are the same texture as the skin and are not painful.
Dark spots also differ in size and can develop on any part of the body but are most common in areas often exposed to the sun. Typically, dark spots are common in the following areas:
- back of the hands
Begin with understanding why you get this discoloration so that your treatment can be effective. Many spots will fade on their own if you can eliminate the root cause, and you can prevent new ones from developing.
How do dark spots start on your skin?
People appear to get dark spots and patches when something causes their skin to create extra melanin, the chemical that gives skin its color. Hyperpigmentation can suddenly show up on the skin but there is always a reason for their appearance. Several everyday activities can trigger extra melanin in people who have colored skin.
Dark spots and patches show up when
- acne clears up
- a wound caused by an insect bite, scratch, cut, burn, or other damage heals
- you take (or apply) certain medications
- a skin or hair care product causes skin irritation
- Hormone changes happen, for example during pregnancy
- sun exposure.
Getting rid of the spots can take time
Once you avoid or stop what triggers the dark spots, fading can occur in time. In general, a spot that is a few shades darker than your skin will fade within 6 to 12 months. However, if the color is deep in your skin it can take years to fade. Treatment can speed up the fading process of dark spots and patches.
Effective treatment begins with applying sunscreen
Sunscreen is essential to fading the dark spots or patches, whether you are treating them on your own or seeing a dermatologist. Apply it daily, also when it is raining or snowing outdoors, sunscreen can prevent further darkening.
Always apply sunscreen to all skin that is exposed and not covered with clothing. Sunscreen is vital to effective spot fading. Use a sunscreen that offers SPF 30 or higher, broad-spectrum protection, and zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to get the protection you need.
Check for the words “won’t clog pores” or “non-comedogenic” if you have oily skin. This will help avoid breakouts which could lead to darker spots.
Do Not Pick That Pimple
Whatever that causes your skin inflammation last longer, like squeezing or rubbing an imperfection and picking a zit, can increase the likelihood of your post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. You know the ugly outcome if you have in the past given into temptation and picked the pimples in your face. As a result of skin trauma, you get an inflamed red or brown mark (which can stick in for months). Instead, treat the spot with an acne cream or stick an acne patch on it.
Use A Chemical Exfoliant
Do not use a physical face scrub because they are usually too harsh for skin that is prone to hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Chemical exfoliators include alpha-hydroxy acids (such as glycolic and lactic acids), beta hydroxy (salicylic acid), and fruit extract enzymes. All three kinds help dissolve the “glue” on the surface of your skin that holds dead, discolored cells together and leaves you with clearer, brighter, all-around, more glowy skin. Besides, by sloughing away dead cells on the surface, your skin is better able to absorb any spot treatments or brightening serums that you subsequently apply, which helps make them more effective.
As a rule of thumb, use a chemical exfoliator with salicylic acid (the ingredient is anti-inflammatory and helps clear excess oil from pores) for dark spots caused by acne, whereas dark spots and patches from UV damage are better off exfoliating with an AHA like glycolic acid.
Apply Skin-lightening Products
A brightening serum can accelerate the fading. When you eliminate what causes the discoloration and shield your skin from sunlight, skin-lightening products can be more effective. You might achieve success with a product that you can buy without a prescription. Look for a product which contains one of the following ingredients when choosing a skin-lightener:
- azelaic acid
- glycolic acid
- kojic acid
- vitamin A (retinoids, retinol, tretinoin, adapalene gel, or tazarotene)
- vitamin C
Above mentioned ingredients can lighten existing spots. The ingredient may also in some cases slow down melanin development, which is what causes the dark spots.
When To Begin Treatment
It is best to begin treatment when the scars are new. In general, even tiny dark spots will continue to grow bigger. This means the sooner you start with your treatment, the less intervention is needed. Another main element when it comes to dark spots is moisture. The more subtle the skin is, the smaller is the risk of scars occurring. Keeping your skin well moisturized and hydrated with toners and creams can reduce the appearance of existing dark spots and prevent the formation of new ones.
Let us know in the comments below about your skincare concern.