How to Get Rid of Dark Spots on Your Face With 9 Easy Tips
Ways to Fade and Remove Dark Spots on Your Skin
As you age, you realize that wrinkles can make you look much older than you really are. But there are other culprits that can add years to your appearance. One of these is getting dark spots on your skin.
Fortunately, there are home remedies, topical products, and cosmetic procedures that could effectively fade or permanently remove dark spots. Below, I am sharing with you the most common treatments.
How to Get Rid of Dark Spots
1. Lemon Juice
The acidity acts like a bleaching agent and helps reduce discoloration.
2. Aloe Vera
Contains vitamins A, C, and, E, which help to reduce brown spots and even out skin tone.
3. Yogurt or Buttermilk
They both contain high amounts of lactic acid, which lightens and exfoliates the skin.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Contains alpha hydroxy acid, which gets rid of dead skin cells. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals, helping to brighten and heal the skin.
A bleaching agent that helps remove liver spots.
A potent form of vitamin A that encourages rapid cell-turnover. It works by shedding the outer layer of skin and encouraging cell regerneration. It also curbs the production of melanin.
7. Salicylic Acid
Lightens age spots by softening the skin, thereby helping it peel.
8. Glycolic Acid
An AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) derived from sugar. It sloughs off dead skin to promote the growth of new skin cells. Use a formula that contains at least 10%.
9. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy
These medical procedures physically remove any pigmentation imperfections on your skin's outer epidermis.
Natural Remedies to Remove Dark Spots
1. Apply Lemon Juice
Lemon juice's acidity acts like a bleaching agent and helps reduce discoloration on your face.1 Use a cotton ball or Q-tip to apply the juice onto your liver spots twice a day. It is a good idea to test this first on a small area of your face to see how your skin will react to the lemon juice. If you have sensitive skin, I recommend diluting the juice with a bit of water.
2. Use Aloe Vera Gel
The gel of the aloe vera plant is chock-full of antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and, E, which help to reduce brown spots and even out skin tone.2 Vitamin A speeds up your skin's natural shedding process, vitamin C brightens your complexion, and vitamin E renews the epidermis. Aloe works especially well if you have dark spots caused by sun exposure because the plant has been used for thousands of years to relieve sunburns.
You can buy 100% aloe vera gel at a health food store, but using gel directly from the plant is preferable. To do this, cut off a piece of an aloe vera leaf and split it in half. Carve out the jelly-like flesh and apply this directly onto your skin.
3. Use Yogurt or Buttermilk
These dairy products contain high amounts of lactic acid, which lightens and exfoliates the skin. You can apply yogurt or buttermilk directly onto your skin like a mask and leave it on for 20 minutes before washing it off.3
4. Apply Apple Cider Vinegar Toner
Rich in antioxidants and minerals, apple cider vinegar is a popular home product used for treating all sorts of ailments. Those with scarring and pigmentation swear by this simple remedy because the alpha hydroxy acid gets rid of dead skin cell.4
Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. You can apply this over your entire face because it is pH balanced, so it acts as a toner. However, if you detest the smell, let the solution sit for 20 minutes before rinsing.
Topical Products That Reduce Dark Spots on Your Skin
There are a lot of topical treatments on the market that promise to get rid of dark spots. Choose one that contains hydroquinone, a bleaching agent that helps remove age spots and is safe to use on the skin. You can also use one that contains kojic acid, which has bleaching properties as well.
This is a potent manmade form of vitamin A, and it works by encouraging rapid cell turnover. When old skin cells die, they make way for new skin growth. The idea is to shed the layer of skin with the dark spots so that new, unblemished skin can grow in its place. Retinoid also curbs the production of melanin (the pigment your skin produces that creates dark spots).
If you purchase over-the-counter treatments, the ingredient you will find is called "retinol," which is a vitamin A that naturally occurs in the skin. This form of vitamin A is not as potent as retinoid.5
Retinoids are prescription-only and fall under these three names:
- Tretinoin, including the brands Atralin, Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, and Renova
- Tazarotene, such as the brand Tazorac
- Adapalene, such as the brand Differin
These products are 100 times more potent than the retinol found over the counter.6
3. Salicylic Acid
You may have heard of salicylic acid being used to treat acne, but it can also be used to lighten dark spots. Salicylic acid works by causing the outermost layer of the skin to soften and then peel. This helps remove dead skin cells and allows new cells to surface.
4. Glycolic Acid
This is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) derived from sugar and works as a natural exfoliator, sloughing off dead skin to promote the growth of new skin cells. Dermatologists suggest using a product with at least 10% glycolic acid in order to see results.7
5. Medical Treatments
If you have the money and you want fast results, you can opt for medical treatments. Common treatments for dark spots include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy. Chemical peel and microdermabrasion promote skin regeneration by removing the top layer of the skin. Laser therapy involves the use of different types of lasers that reduce accumulated melanin in a certain area. It is best to consult your doctor and ask about which treatment is best for your skin type.
How to Prevent Dark Spots on Your Face
Sun damage is the primary cause of dark spots, so be sure to protect yourself from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
- Steer clear of tanning beds.
- Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30. If you are using vitamin A or a product that exfoliates, your skin will be even more sensitive to the sun, so cover your face as much as possible.
- Make sure to wear protective gear and clothing that minimize sun contact as much as possible. Hats and sunglasses are great accessories to help shield your face from the sun.
- Seek shade whenever possible.
What Causes Dark Spots on Face?
1. Sun Damage (Solar Lentigos)
The leading cause of dark spots, liver spots, and/or freckles is sun damage. Overexposure to UVA/UVB rays, either directly from the sun or through the use of tanning beds, breaks down collagen and causes your skin to produce excess melanin, which leads to discoloration or hyperpigmentation. The damage may not be evident right away, especially if you are young, but you will see the effects of sun damage more prominently when you hit your 40s.
Women are more likely to suffer from this condition. It is characterized by brown to gray-brown patches that appear on the skin. It is usually caused by sun damage but can also appear during pregnancy.
3. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (Acne Scarring)
Acne sufferers often develop dark spots or hyperpigmentation caused by injury of the skin through picking or popping pimples.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Cliff Mendrez