Not everyone develops dark spots, but if you do, you know how annoying they are. Those pesky dark-colored marks can appear on the face, hands, back, and other body parts. And while they aren’t dangerous, dark spots are unsightly; especially when they’re somewhere visible. What’s worse, they often become more common as you age.
But what causes dark spots, and how can you treat them? Dark spots result from either hyperpigmentation or scarring. Hyperpigmentation is often a result of sun damage or an underlying condition while scarring is usually related to post-inflammation from a blemish. Regardless of what caused your dark spots, the goal is to make them disappear.
This article will highlight a few tips to help you treat the dark spots on your face. From using hydroquinone to getting a laser treatment, here are four treatments you should consider:
If you’re looking for a tried and true dark spot treatment, look no further than the lightening agent hydroquinone. This topical works by inhibiting an enzyme called tyrosinase, a key ingredient in melanin production. This is significant because extra melanin can cause dark spots. Producing less tyrosinase means you’ll produce less melanin and, in turn, fewer dark spots.
As mentioned, hydroquinone is a lightening agent, coming in different strengths. You may need a lower or stronger-dose based on your skin type and the severity of your dark spots. For instance, if you suffer from a severe case of melasma, you’ll probably be prescribed a higher dose of hydroquinone cream. This is especially true if your skin tolerates the ingredients well.
Like any skincare remedy, it can take time to see results. Some report a difference in weeks, while others notice a change after a few months. Do your best to stay patient and be consistent so that you can see a noticeable improvement.
Chemical peels are an exfoliating treatment that remove layers of dead skin. This process stimulates the production of new skin cells, leading to skin rejuvenation and improvement in various skin concerns — including dark spots. As new skin generates, dark spots begin to fade over time.
As a bonus, chemical peels also help stimulate collagen production. Collagen is a protein found in the skin and other connective tissues that provides structural support and elasticity. It plays an important role in maintaining overall skin health and reducing signs of aging. By promoting collagen production, chemical peels can help improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, and uneven skin tone.
A benefit of chemical peels is how customizable they are. The depth and strength of the chemical peel determine the extent of collagen stimulation. Superficial or mild peels primarily target the outermost layer of the skin and promote mild collagen production. Medium to deep peels penetrate deeper into the skin and can stimulate a more significant collagen boost.
You can even pick whether to buy an over-the-counter product or have a dermatologist apply a chemical peel. Choosing the latter may be more effective, considering healthcare professionals can access higher-grade chemicals. Additionally, dermatologists can help you choose the right strength peel for your specific skin. If you opt for an at-home chemical peel, research the product. And make sure you do a patch test before applying the peel to your face.
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that helps slough off dead skin cells, leading to a smoother and more even skin texture. When it comes to reducing dark spots, retinol can regulate melanin production and promote a more even distribution of pigment. It can also help unclog pores for those who suffer from acne, exfoliate the skin, and even increase collagen production. It’s almost as close as you can get to a cure-all.
Retinoids come in different strengths and types. So, before applying retinol to your face, test it on your palm to see whether you have a reaction. If you experience excessive dryness, redness, or irritation, it may indicate that the retinol concentration is too strong for your skin. You may need to switch to a milder formulation, but luckily there are a variety of concentrations available.
While retinol starts working immediately, visible results may take several weeks or months to become noticeable, especially when it comes to addressing dark spots. Be patient. It’s also wise to apply moisturizer and reduce sun exposure when using this product. It can dry out your skin and increase sun sensitivity.
Skincare products aren’t the only treatments for dark spots — there’s also laser therapy. With this, a dermatologist, or another healthcare professional, uses light to break up and eliminate the pigment in the skin to remove unwanted spots. After laser therapy, some people notice 70% fewer brown spots brought on by sun damage. So, it’s usually worth trying.
There are many different types of laser therapy. A popular one to treat dark spots is an intense pulse light (IPL) laser. As the light from the laser is absorbed by the pigment, it is converted into heat. This process helps destroy the pigments in the skin that are causing dark spots.
A typical laser therapy treatment takes between 15-30 minutes. And it’s typically an in-and-out procedure. You don’t have to worry about needing lengthy downtime. However, it’s important to note that laser treatments can be expensive. Prices are often based on the size of the area being treated.
Dark spots are common, and that’s because they’re often the result of sun damage or acne scarring. Chances are, you’ve experienced at least one of these before. The good news is you don’t have to let dark spots control how confident you feel about your skin. The tips above can help you fade your spots once and for all.