What is a dark spot? Simply put, it's an area that appears darker than the surrounding tissue. You'll want to read this page if you have dark spots on your skin. They can appear on any part of your body, including your face and body. However, they're more likely to appear on visible body parts like your hands, arms, neck, and face than on concealed areas.
They're also known as hyperpigmentation and are caused by an overproduction of melanin in your skin cells (melanocytes). This happens when melanocytes produce too much melanin in response to damage or injury to the cells.
What causes dark spots on the skin?
These are small patches of darker skin that appear in areas where there is usually minimal pigmentation. They are most common in the face and hands but can be found anywhere on the body. They may be raised or flat and are usually permanent.
This condition causes brown patches on your face, especially around the eyes, mouth, and nose. Melasma is most common during pregnancy or after taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy (HRT). It is also more common in women with darker skin types than those with lighter skin types.
Acne scars remain after an acne lesion has healed. These scars can be flat or raised, ranging from red to purple, depending upon how much damage occurred during the initial breakout of acne lesions (pimples/zits).
Skin damage from the sun (photoaging)
Skin damage from too much exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays speeds up this process even more quickly. Over time, sun exposure can cause damage to your skin's collagen and elastin fibers. This damage is called photoaging, leading to wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of aging skin.
Exposure to certain medications or medical treatments (topical)
Certain medications and treatments can cause dark spots when applied directly to your skin in high concentrations — for example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and psychotropic drugs.
Injury or trauma
Trauma to your skin's surface can also cause hyperpigmentation.
Top 6 Ways to treat dark spots
There are several ways to treat these dark marks and make them fade away.
Hydroquinone is considered the most effective ingredient for treating hyperpigmentation and dark spots on the skin. It's available over the counter in 2% concentrations but can also be prescribed in higher strengths by your doctor if 2% isn't strong enough.
It can sometimes cause side effects such as irritation, sensitivity, or burning. Before using hydroquinone, consult your dermatologist to ensure it's safe for your skin type.
The best way to check if hydroquinone suits your skin is to test it on a small area first.
Retinoids have become the go-to anti-aging ingredient in recent years. These Vitamin A derivatives treat acne and sun damage but also stimulate collagen production and cell turnover in the skin, helping prevent wrinkles and lighten dark spots.
Retinoids come in various forms, including prescription tretinoin (Retin-A) and over-the-counter retinol (Vitamin A). While both are effective in combating dark spots, tretinoin is more potent than retinol, which is less irritating and can be used more frequently — every other day instead of daily — for those with sensitive skin.
3. Alpha hydroxy acids
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are a group of exfoliants derived from fruit and milk sugars used in skincare products. AHAs can help reduce wrinkling, hyperpigmentation, acne scarring, and rough texture.
Alpha hydroxy acid exfoliation is an effective method for improving the appearance of the skin by reducing fine lines and wrinkles and getting rid of dead skin cells while stimulating collagen production. The skin becomes smoother and more even-toned, with fewer visible pores.
AHAs are available in different strengths, but you should always consult with a professional before using any treatment product on your face.
4. Glycolic acid peels
Glycolic acid peels are a great way to eliminate sun damage and hyperpigmentation. They can be used on the body, face, neck, and chest.
Glycolic acid peels do not cause scarring. The most common side effects are redness, flaking, and peeling. These usually last 1-3 days and can be treated with topical skin care products.
Glycolic acid peels are typically performed in a dermatologist's office or medical spa. You will need to make an appointment for the procedure and should avoid using any other exfoliating products before your treatment date. The actual procedure varies depending on how deep the peel is designed. Deep peel treatments might require more time under anesthesia and several days' recovery time afterward. Milder treatments can be done as an outpatient procedure with minimal recovery time after treatment
5. Laser treatments
Laser treatments are one of the most effective ways to treat dark spots. Laser treatments can be used for the face and body, and many different lasers can be used.
Laser treatments use light energy to target the pigment in your skin that causes dark spots. The laser breaks down the pigment, which then fades away over time.
If you're interested in getting a laser treatment for your dark spots, talk with your dermatologist about the best options. Remember, it is an expensive process, and the outcome will depend on your skin type.
Microdermabrasion is a treatment that removes the outer layer of dead skin cells. It can also help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, scars, hyperpigmentation, and acne scarring. The procedure is performed by a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon, who will use a machine with a vacuum tip to rub the top layer of your skin gently.
Before microdermabrasion, your face will be cleansed and numbed with an anesthetic cream. You may feel slightly tingling during the procedure as tiny crystals are applied to your skin using the microdermabrasion device. The crystals gently remove dead cells from your face, revealing new skin.
List of Home Remedies to Treat Dark Spots
Dark spots can be tough to treat, but many home remedies help lighten your skin. Try these easy tips to help fade dark spots on your face.
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for sunburns, but it's also great for treating dark spots! Aloe Vera is packed with antioxidants that help rejuvenate skin cells and fight free radicals that cause skin damage. Apply fresh aloe Vera gel or juice directly on the spot at least twice daily.
Turmeric is an excellent antioxidant that helps prevent free radical damage to skin cells. It also contains curcumin which aids in wound healing and reducing inflammation in the body by decreasing redness and swelling around the area you apply it. Mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder with 1⁄ 2 teaspoon of sandalwood powder and paste. Apply this paste directly to your dark spots twice daily until they disappear entirely!
Cut a cucumber into thin slices, rub them on your face and leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing off with cold water. This will help lighten the dark patches on your skin and bring back a healthy glow to your skin tone.
Yogurt is an effective home remedy to treat dark spots on the face. Yogurt contains lactic acid, which helps exfoliate the skin, remove dead skin cells, and reduce the appearance of dark spots.Yogurt can also be used as a face mask to treat dark spots. Take some fresh yogurt and apply it to your face for 15 minutes before washing it off with cold water.
5. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits, contain vitamin C, which helps remove dead skin cells and prevent new ones from forming. You can use these fruits directly on the affected area (after peeling the skin off) or make a paste of them mixed with milk and apply it to the affected area. Leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water. This remedy works best if used regularly for several weeks.
6. Orange Peel
Orange peel is an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps promote collagen production and protect against free radicals that can cause damage to the skin's connective tissue. It also contains alpha-hydroxy acids that exfoliate dead skin cells from the skin's surface, making it easier for light-colored pigments to show through after healing occurs beneath the surface of your skin.
How to prevent dark spots?
The best way to prevent dark spots is by staying out of the sun. But that's not always possible.
If you want to prevent dark spots, you'll need to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and ensure you're reapplying it every two hours — even if you think it's unnecessary.
2. Clothes and accessories
You should also be sure to wear sunglasses when going outside during the day and consider wearing a hat or scarf if your face is exposed during the day as well.
3. Exfoliate regularly
Exfoliating helps to get rid of dead skin cells and other debris that may be contributing to your dark spots. You can use a scrub or a chemical exfoliant to help prevent dark spots.
4. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is important for many reasons, one being that it reduces the appearance of wrinkles on the face. This can make you look younger and more vibrant overall! It also helps prevent dryness, which may cause dark spots as well.
Treatments for hyperpigmentation or dark spots are easily accessible in today's world. At Kailon, you can take a simple skin analysis to help us understand your skin type and the concerns of our experts to recommend a series of made-in-India, personal care subscription boxes. Designed by doctors, our products are 100% vegetarian and sourced without harming the environment.
Dark Spots FAQs
Can lemon remove dark spots?
Yes, lemon can help in removing dark spots. This is because lemons are high in antioxidants and contain a compound called ascorbic acid, which is effective at lightening skin blemishes. Lemon juice also contains flavonoids – compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties – and these may help to stop the build-up of melanin, the pigment responsible for dark spots. In addition, lemon has astringent properties, which can tighten pores and shrink smaller lesions.
Can hydrogen peroxide lighten dark spots?
Yes, hydrogen peroxide can lighten dark spots. It is a potent oxidizer. It can eliminate the accumulated melanin in skin cells, which appears as black patches or lesions. This eventually leads to lighter skin tone and less sun sensitivity. You should apply hydrogen peroxide daily to the affected areas for the best results.
What causes dark spots on the skin?
Many skin problems can be caused by several factors, including genetics, environment, and lifestyle choices.
- Prolonged sun exposure or UV light might increase production of melanin that causes the spots to appear
- Excessive intake of alcohol or caffeine
- Hormonal changes such as pregnancy
- Acne vulgaris
- Too much dirt
- Oils in the diet