Getting rid of dark spots from your face
Do you have dark spots on your face? Are some brown or reddish in color? Do the spots annoy you because they take away from your appearance?
If you are answering yes to these questions, you wouldn’t be alone. Many people – men and woman alike, struggle with this unwelcome issue. Let’s face it, dark spots can be embarrassing because they make us look older than our years.
In this article, I’m going to walk you through the world of dark spots and how to get them off your face. Here’s what you’ll learn:
- What causes dark spots
- How aging affects dark spots
- Natural remedies to get rid of facial spots
- Dark spot fading creams and removers
- How to prevent freckles from forming
- Several myths associated with dark spots
- Dark Spot on face poll
WHAT CAUSES DARK SPOTS ON FACE?
There are a number of reasons that dark spots appear on the face. Generally speaking, there are seven primary causes. These include:
- Excessive Sun Exposure
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Liver Damage
- Skin Disorders
- Acne Scars
Let’s take a look at each of these to help enhance your understanding of why these red and brown discolorations show up on your mug.
In a nutshell, hyperpigmentation is term used to describe skin that been damaged due to melanin; a complex polymer made up from the amino acid tyrosine.
People who have lighter skin tones and/or are from European decent often see hyperpigmentation. Additionally, people with light colored eyes, such as green and blue, commonly sexperience freckles.
Related: Learn all about blue green eyes
Excessive Sun Exposure
Hand in hand with dark spots on the face is excessive exposure to the sun. In fact, this is the primary reason the previously mentioned hyperpigmentation occurs in the first place.
When your skin is exposed to solar rays, it compensates by producing melanin. Because sunlight operates on a spectrum, it is not possible to see with the human eye all of its hews or elemental properties.
What’s important that you know is that direct and indirect sunlight carries ultraviolet radiation, a skin damaging and cancer causing entity that rides along the spectrum wave.
For reasons we don’t fully understand, hormonal imbalances and changes within the body can trigger skin discoloration and spots. This is particularly true from women who are pregnant.
Some people who have certain forms of liver damage experience dark spots on the skin, including the facial and torso areas. The hepatitis virus (both B and C types) are examples.
Additionally, cirrhosis of the liver and different forms of liver cancer can encourage the onset of spots.
There are some skin disorders that can cause freckle like spots to appear on the face. Eczema and rosacea are some of the more benign types.
More serious skin disorders include fungal issues such as candida and impetigo. As a side note, skin disorders by definition need to be treated by a qualified medical professional, such as a dermatologist.
If you have ever had pimples, you already know that they can leave scarring. Sometimes, when you have a bad breakout, some pimples can become quite large, resulting in discoloration on the skin’s surface long after the zit goes away.
People who are of European decent (particularly northern Europe) seem to be more prone to facial dark spots than others. Specifically, we’re talking about folks of Irish, Swedish, and English ancestry.
Additionally, if you are Danish, Finnish or Norwegian, you are more prone to freckle formation.
This is not to say other groups can’t or don’t get dark spots because they most certainly do. I’m simply suggesting that the epidemiological research seems to suggest people from higher latitudes are most likely to develop sun spots.
This final point leads us to our next area of discussion; aging and facial dark spot formation.
AGING AND DARK SPOTS ON FACE
As you age, your skin changes in tone, texture, thickness and suppleness. In other words, the older you get, the less plump and firm your skins looks.
The bad news is that some of these changes are beyond your control. Genetics, for example, isn’t something you can cream away.
The good news is there are many things you can do to slow down the process and reduce the visible signs of aging. Later on, I’ll walk you through some tips and suggestions.
How skin changes as you age
Before we look at how to get rid of those dark spots on your face, let’s take a quick peek at what influences skin aging and dark spot formation:
- Environmental factors
- Genetic makeup
- Diet and nutrition
- Sun exposure
As you age, the outer layer of your dermis thins and becomes fragile. On top of that, reddish brown spots on the face become more pronounced, back dropped against duller, paler and more translucent skin.
I’m mentioning this because dark spot prevention and elimination are uniquely tied to the process of aging. As we continue along the way, we’ll explore this issue a bit more.
HOW TO GET RID OF DARK SPOTS ON FACE
What follows are 7 ways to get rid of dark spots on face. Under each suggestion, I’ve provided a link to scientific research that relates to potential benefits.
Ive also offered a link to products available on Amazon that you have sent right to your home. In some cases, I’ve included a recommendation.
Let’s jump right in!
1. Aloe Vera Gel
For centuries, the aloe vera plant has been used by women and men for its healing properties. And the benefits of aloe vera aren’t just based on myth. Numerous scientific studies have borne out the plant’s medicinal and anti-aging benefits.
If you want to use aloe vera to minimize the appearance of brownish red spots, you can simply buy an aloe vera plant and take some of the gel from a leaf and apply to your face.
If the thought of applying plant juice directly to your face doesn’t sound appealing, you can buy a product that contains aloe components that are specifically designed to fade away and get rid of the spots.
The folks at Murad make an excellent pigment lightening serum that contains aloe extracts, plus other ingredients known to repair discolored skin tone.
2. Lemon Juice
The ancients used lemons for a number of uses that went far beyond enhancing the taste of food. For example, the Greeks and Romans used lemon juice to clean and heal wounds.
They likely used lemon because of its high acidity level, which brings us to our next point.
Lemons contain citric acid; a substance known to eat away at pigmentation and restore balance. On average, lemons contain around 5% to 6% citric acid each.
Should you choose this as a dark spot remover, you can squeeze out a small amount onto a cotton ball or Q-Tip and apply directly to the freckled areas. It is recommended that you test your skin first to make sure you don’t have a reaction.
Some people have found that by using a lemon mask, it helps to fade spots and reduce the visible signs of aging. There are several on the market to choose from.
I personally like Freeman’s Lemon Peeling Gel. It contains lemon and other natural botanicals that work in unisom to help erase discoloration.
Click: Freeman Leon Peeling Gel
3. Topical Hydroquinone
If you’ve been looking at different ways to get rid of dark spots on the face, you’ve no doubt seen hydroquinone. You may be wondering what this substance is?
In a nutshell, hydroquinone is an aromatic organic compound that is used for skin lightening. When combined with alpha hydroxyl acid, the combination cream is clinically proven to fade dark spots on the face in some people.
You can only get hydroquinone at a maximum level of 2%. Higher concentrations require a prescription per FDA.
All of this leads us to the question: What’s the best brand to buy?
Previously, I mentioned Murad’s Rapid Age Spot Lightening Serum. Within this product, a combo of 2% hydroquinone is present, along with glycolic acid.
I mention this because if you buy this product, you’re already getting the topical formula specifically designed to fade the spots. And I’ll say here that this serum is a really great option.
However, if you are looking to spend less money or if you simply want to try something different, a good option to consider is Ambi Fade Cream.
I’ve used this cream and have found that over the course of time, it gradually reduces dark spots and helps to create a more balanced skin tone.
What I like about Ambi Fade Cream is that it comes in different “types”, meaning creams for normal skin and creams for oily skin.
Since I have oily skin, that’s the one I buy. But for most folks, the normal kind is probably a good choice. This cream contains 2% hydroquinone and alpha hydroxide acid. It only takes a tiny amount.
Don’t expect instant results. It can take several weeks before you see dark spot fading to occur.
Click: Ambi Fade Cream
4. Salicylic Acid
When you hear something like salicylic acid, it can sound kind of scary, right? I mean who wants to put acid on their face. Let me assure you that in the case of dark spot removal, this type of acid is completely safe.
Here’s why – salicylic acid is an organic acid, meaning it is derived from the bark of willow trees and some flowering plants. It’s not sulfuric acid, which is what’s used in car batteries.
In the case of facial care, salicylic acid helps to soften up the outer layer of skin on your mug and peel off dead skin cells. Pigmentation also fades off as part of the process.
I will say that using salicylic acid products work best when combined with other treatment approaches, such as some of the topical creams and serums mentioned earlier.
And it is important to note that some people find a drying effect occurs as a result of using salicylic acid. That’s why it’s important to use a high quality facial cream, like CeraVe’s facial moisturizer.
So which salicylic acid product should you use? Many people have found that Perfect Image’s Deep Gel Exfoliating Cleanser does a fantastic job with fading spots while preventing acne.
What I like about this one is that its non-comedogenic; a 25 cent term used to describe products that don’t cause pimples. It’s also great for oily skin types.
The cleansing gel also contains beta-hydroxy acid and tea tree oils (known to kill acne causing bacteria).
5. Vitamin C
Many people swear by the power of Vitamin C. It’s been used by mankind since the Holocene Epoch; which is where we currently sit on the geologic time scale.
When you hear Vitamin C, you probably think of oranges. That’s smart because oranges contain citric acid. How much acid is in each piece of this fruit depends on the orange. Generally speaking, most contain somewhere between 3% to 4%.
You can use the same approach as discussed with the lemon, meaning squeeze a bit out on a cotton ball and apply to the spotty areas. If you choose this route, it is suggested that you do it no more than twice a day.
Some people swear this is an excellent natural remedy for blotchy, spotted skin. I’ve tried it and haven’t had much luck. With that shared, there are topical creams that you may want to consider.
I’ve done a bit of research and the one that I like (and many folks rave about) is Finelicious Cosmetics Advanced Vitamin C Serum.
It helps to not only fade the spots but also smooths wrinkles caused by sun damage. And it’s great at hydrating the skin; something that many spot fading products aren’t very good at.
Click: Advanced Vitamin C Serum
Retinol may sound super fancy but it’s really nothing more than a form of Vitamin A. To get all scientific about it, retinols are diterpenes (aka biosynthesized plant compounds).
We know from clinical research that Vitamin A does have many health benefits, including skin lightening advantages.
So does this mean you should squeeze some apple juice and blot a few drops on brown spots with a Q-Tip?
Remember, Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin C that has been synthesized into an acidic cream form. That’s why you need to buy a product that contains retinol, specifically designed for facial application.
The one I used (and happens to be my favorite) is Body Merry’s Retinol Surge Facial Moisturizer. I like it because it not only contains retinol but also hyaluronic acid, green tea and vitamins – all known to fade dark spots and minimize the signs of aging.
If you decide to get this product, I recommend using it only a few times a week because it is strong. Also, test a patch of skin first to make sure you don’t have a reaction. I use it at night, 3-4 times a week.
I can only speak for myself when I say the product does exactly what it says it does – minimize spots and smooths fine lines.
Click: Retinol Surge Moisturizer
7. Cosmetic Procedures
There are a number of cosmetic procedures available that are specifically designed to help fade discoloration and bring about more balanced skin tone.
There is no way in this one post I can go through all of them. Instead, I will highlight some of the more common procedures. Should you decide to go this route, you will need to check with a qualified dermatologist.
As a matter of full disclosure, I want to share that I’ve had cosmetic procedures, including Botox injections.
Chemical peels are designed to remove the outer layer of skin so that new skin growth occurs. Here are the potential benefits:
- Fade away and remove brownish dark spots on face.
- Improve the appearance of scarring.
- Treat wrinkles and sun damage.
This cosmetic procedure uses monopolar radiofrequency to deliver electrical current to the dermis. It is FDA approved for the treatment of wrinkles around the eyes.
Thermage is non-evasive and uses a wand type device that is run over the face. Here are the potential benefits:
- Wrinkle reduction
- Lightening of dark spots
- Fading of fine lines
Yet another cosmetic procedure is laser resurfacing. There are different forms of this procedure so you will want to check with your dermatologist to explore options. Potential benefits include:
- Fading of brownish dark and red spots
- Wrinkle fading
- Facial smoothing
PREVENTING DARK SPOTS
All that you have read above speaks to how you can treat dark spots and ultimately, get rid of them. But I would be remiss in not discussing dark spot prevention.
As a reader, you’re probably a savvy person and done some homework on this topic. Rather than bore you to tears, I’ll quickly highlight the basics of freckle prevention.
- Avoid exposure to the sun when possible.
- Stay away from tanning beds.
- Whenever you go outside, even for short periods of time, always use a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF30.
- The sunscreen should contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
- Make sure the sunscreen you use is non-comedogenic.
- Consider wearing a hat with a brim to shield your face from direct sunlight.
- Wear sunglasses with UV protective coating so that the sun’s rays do not damage the delicate areas around the eyes.
- If you are hanging out at the beach, use an umbrella or some other type of shield to keep the sun’s harmful rays from damaging your skin.
- Apply an all-around facial moisturizer at night that contains hyaluronic acid.
Folks, I am here to tell you that some of the sunscreens and moisturizers on the market are extremely expensive. Here’s what’s important that you know. Most all of them contain the same chemical ingredients.
Many of these creams make wild claims that simply aren’t borne out by the clinical research. Therefore, it’s best to go with a product that is highly recommended by dermatologists and does exactly what it says it will do – prevent skin damage and moisturize.
Best Daytime Sunscreen
Hands down, the best daytime moisturizer is made by CeraVe. Their morning facial moisturizing lotion meets the requirement of containing SPF30 sunscreen.
It also has zinc oxide. Finally, it’s non-comedogenic and contains hyaluronic acid. If you want a very good moisturizer that plumps and makes your skin look supple while preventing age spots, I highly recommend.
Best Nighttime Moisturizer
At night, I recommend using CeraVe’s evening moisturizer. It’s very similar to the daytime cream however, it doesn’t have the sunscreen in it.
And here is the best part – you can buy both of these as a combination package and keep the bottles next to one another. CeraVe already has them marked for AM and PM.
When used in conjunction with the other items mentioned above, you’ll have an excellent facial care regime in place. You can buy both of these at most drug stores or simply order online and have them conveniently shipped to your home.
If you are noticing spots on your face (or other body parts) that seem jagged, raised or irregular shape, it’s really important that you see a medical professional right away.
In many cases, the spots are nothing more than benign anomaly. But sometimes they can be a sign of a more serious problem, such as a carcinoma – a form of skin cancer.
If you want to learn more about the signs and symptoms of skin cancer and related conditions, you can visit the Cancer Treatment Centers of America online. They have an extensive set of pages on this topic.
Spots on the skin, including the face, can also be an indication of an underlying medical condition. If you notice something that looks suspicious, seems to spread or is reoccurring, you need to make an appointment with your doctor so that it can be checked out.
DARK SPOTS ON FACE MYTHS
Over the years, I’ve heard a number of myths associated with dark spots on the face. Some make you scratch your head. Others are just bizarre.
Here are a few of the biggies:
- Black people don’t get dark spots on the face.
- Latinos don’t experience dark spots.
- Aliens place spots on the face to mark the human species.
- Getting rid of dark spots always requires surgery
- Dark spots aren’t caused by genetics
- Only people with green or hazel eyes get dark spots
FACIAL DARK SPOTS POLL
Just for fun, I’ve put up a poll that asks you to share your struggle with dark spots. Your vote is anonymous. Be sure to check back to see how your choice compares against other website visitors.
As we grow older, dark spots, freckles and skin discoloration are part of the norm. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prevent them from happening in the first place.
What’s more, you can do things that help to get rid of dark spots that are proven to be effective. The trick is knowing your skin type. Starting treatments early can also help problems from becoming worse.
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