Dark spot or hyperpigmentation on your body, particularly your face, has many underlying reasons. According to Dr. David Bank, the director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic &Laser Surgery, NY, it could be due to excessive sun exposure. That’s because sunlight facilitates the excess production of melanin (a pigment that gives color to your skin and hair) in the skin. Moreover, hyperpigmentation can be a result of hormonal imbalance, aging, medication, application of products containing harsh chemical products, and more.
However, there are many skin-lightening topical treatments and home remedies to get rid of dark spots. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Products Containing Hydroquinone
Hydroquinone is one of the most popular ingredients for fading dark spots. Its credibility as a skin-lightening agent can be measured by the fact that it’s the only ingredient that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) categorizes as the bleaching agent. Besides, it has been proven effective in treating discoloration caused by facial melasma.
A chemical peel is a solution that exfoliates your skin and helps promote the growth of healthy skin. Though there are many types of chemical peels to treat dark spots, a widely known peel for this purpose is Cosmelan peel.
According to Iconic Skin Clinic, a popular treatment provider of Cosmelan peel in Los Angeles, Cosmelan peel helps lighten the appearance of dark spots by decreasing melanin production. This treatment is usually done over three months. After getting this procedure, a special skincare routine must be followed to see the desired results.
Retinoids, the derivative of vitamin A, effectively treat discoloration over time. Retinoid products include retinol, tretinoin, adapalene gel, and retinoic acid. This acid promotes skin health, removes dead skin cells, and increases the production of new cells. With this cell turnover, new skin is a fresh layer of cells with less or no spots at all.
A word of caution: Retinoid products make your skin susceptible to UV light so don’t forget to apply sunscreen before exposure to the sun. Furthermore, doctors don’t recommend using retinoid products during pregnancy as vitamin A can cause complications during childbirth.
Vitamin C is known for effectively treating dark spots by reducing melanin production. Consequently, the overall look of dark spots diminishes with consistent use. Not only that, but it also prevents pigmentation from returning.
Chemical exfoliators contain mild acids that remove the top, dead skin layer. For instance, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), azelaic acid, lactic acid, etc., have been shown to help remove the dead layer of skin.
The upside of using these exfoliators is that they are less irritating than physical exfoliators like sugar scrubs, etc., which may cause more irritation. However, you shouldn’t go overboard with chemical exfoliators because your skin takes time to repair and regenerate itself.
For stubborn hyperpigmentation, dermatologists suggest laser treatment. Such treatment uses a concentrated light beam to help fade dark spots. Laser therapy works by targeting melanin, destroying its structure, and burning off the darkened skin layer. Additionally, it shows results faster than other topical serums or creams.
However, laser poses a significant risk of discoloration going worse. Therefore, a patch test before the actual therapy is highly recommended.
Microdermabrasion is another effective treatment for dark spots where your dermatologist will use a device with an abrasive surface. What’s unique about this treatment is that the device completely removes the outer layer of skin. The end result is the same as all the other treatments- the production of new skin cells with little to no hyperpigmentation.
It’s a specialized procedure whereby a dermatologist applies liquid nitrogen to the pigmented areas. This liquid nitrogen freezes dead cells, eventually destroying their structure. The injured skin then gradually heals with lighter pigment.
Home Remedies for Treating Hyperpigmentation
There are surefire ways to cure dark spots with home remedies. However, they’re effective for the initial stages of hyperpigmentation. In case of stubborn and long-sitting dark spots, you should seek a dermatologist’s advice.
Some of the most effective natural ingredients to treat hyperpigmentation are:
Papaya– Papaya contains a fruit acid alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA)that acts as a natural exfoliator to help remove dead skin cells like any other exfoliator.
Turmeric– Turmeric is long-known for its health benefits. However, it also inhibits melanin production and helps reduce dark spots.
Almond Oil– Sweet almond oil is fortified with vitamin E, which helps lighten pigmented spots. Adding it to your skincare routine will also improve your overall skin texture.