Get The Scoop on Removing Those Pesky Dark Spots!Posted on September 29, 2023 Written by: 100% PURE®
Dark spots are cute on many things – giraffes, cheetahs, ladybugs – but not so adorable as dark spots on our faces. As if uneven skin tone, breakouts, and post-acne marks were unruly guests in our quest for clear, blemish-free skin, we have those pesky dots and spots – and their groupies – age spots and sun spots.
Let’s face it, while everyone is expecting a fine line or wrinkle in time, dark spots are like the Houdini of skin complexities. Those shady dots appear on a whim, and temporarily disappear with a traditional dark spot remover – only to reappear, again!
Dark spots are skin frustrations at their finest (or lowest). But with recent advances in skincare innovations, there are effective and natural dark spot removers that have the real magic to remove those pesky, dark skin sorrows. Let’s unveil everything about dark spots and what you can do about them!
Can you spot the difference between dark, sun, or age spots? They really all fall under the opulent umbrella of hyperpigmentation or areas of skin that are darker than the surrounding skin. Like a magician’s sleight of hand, dark spots and their causes can be tricky to understand. But that ‘ah-ha’ moment is knowing how they form so we can make them disappear – for good!
Dark spots can form for a variety of reasons, like sun exposure, hormonal changes, and aging. The biggest culprit of these dark nuisances is UV exposure. Sun damage is a slow burn; it is the accumulation of UV skin damage that becomes more apparent towards the start of fall. As the skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful rays, it triggers the production of melanin, which causes the skin to darken. Yes, while those freckles seem cute, those sun-kissed speckles are a sign of too much sun exposure.
Hormonal changes, such as those experienced during pregnancy, can also lead to dark spots. Due to changes in estrogen, this ‘mask of pregnancy’ is skin splotches that are darker than the skin around it. This could also be small, dark spots resembling freckles, while others may have a few larger, blotchy, confetti-like patches. Exposure to the sun worsens the discolorations.
As we age, we may even notice the appearance of more frequent, unexplainable spots. Similarly, our skin becomes less able to repair itself and becomes more prone to developing dark spots and other discolorations, each with distinct characteristics.
Sun spots, also known as solar lentigines or liver spots, are caused by long-term sun exposure and appear as flat, brown spots on areas frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, and shoulders.
Age spots, on the other hand, are like sun spots but tend to develop with age. They appear as small flat dark areas located on parts most exposed to the sun.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) occurs because of skin inflammation or injury, such as acne or picking at blemishes, burns, or cuts, and presents as dark spots or patches that linger after the initial inflammation has resolved.
Melasma is characterized by large patches of darker skin, and freckles, which are small, concentrated areas of increased pigmentation. Melasma is sometimes known as “pregnancy mask,” because it often occurs in pregnant women.
Like the smoke and mirrors with magic, once you understand the trick, you can have your ah-ha moment with dark spots. Now that we have broken down how these skin clingers are formed, the real magic happens in ‘the turn’ where, if you introduce a dark spot remover to your routine, something special will happen. Dark spots will disappear. Let’s uncover the magic!
The specific formulation of dark spot removers may vary, but they often include a blend of ingredients. Natural formulations also have active ingredients that work to fade existing dark spots and prevent future hyperpigmentation, as well as address specific skin concerns. Some formulations include:
For Oily or Acne-Prone Skin: If you're prone to breakouts, look for a dark spot remover that contains ingredients like salicylic acid or glycolic acid. These ingredients can help to exfoliate and unclog pores, leaving your skin looking clear and smooth.
For Dry Skin: If your skin tends to be on the dry side, look for a dark spot serum that contains vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant can help to brighten and even out your skin tone, while also providing essential moisture.
For All Skin Types: If you're not sure which dark spot formulation to choose, go for one that's suitable for all skin types. Look for one that contains hydrating ingredients like bearberry and red algae, as well as kojic acid, which has skin-lightening properties that can help moisturize your skin and tame spots.
The science behind conventional skin-lighteners in dark spot removers featuring hydroquinone essentially stops the production of melanin in the skin. Melanin exists in your skin to protect it from UV exposure, and stripping your skin of its melanin can make your dermis more sensitive and prone to cellular damage from the elements.
Natural skin lightening products target areas of discoloration, like post-acne marks, sun spots, age-related hyperpigmentation, and scarring. In other words, these brighteners look to heal areas of melanin concentration in your skin that exist due to damage that has occurred in a specific area. The broader goal is to restore brightness, radiance, and vitality to your skin – to bring or rejuvenate your skin back to its original healthy complexion, before it was variously scarred/ irritated/ discolored (you get the idea).
By now, we know that the sun can work in mysterious and harmful rays. Skin that’s been overexposed to the sun is more prone to dark spots and other harmful damage. If you’ve been battling dark spots thanks to that fiery ball in the sky or due to hormonal or aging effects, here are some of the best natural ingredients for diminishing dark spots!
Hydroquinone: As mentioned, this classic lightening agent is in most conventional dark spot and skin-lightening formulations. Hydroquinone is a bleaching agent that works by decreasing the chemical building blocks of melanin in your skin. It’s manufactured by combining it with other harsh chemicals that are non-negotiably toxic.
Vitamin C: As an antioxidant warrior, vitamin C helps brighten the skin and lessen the production of melanin. It also promotes collagen synthesis, which can improve the overall appearance of the skin and contribute to a more even, glowing complexion.
Retinoids: A ‘retinoid’, or animal-derived retinol, is often found in conventional products. Use naturally occurring retinoids, which can help speed up cell turnover and balance skin tone for even, bright skin. Examples are carrot seed and opt for synthetic forms of vegan retinol. Our retinol alternative, bakuchiol oil, is great and gentle for all skin types, including sensitive skin!
Kojic acid: This natural ingredient derived from fungi has skin-lightening properties. Kojic acid works by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in melanin production, effectively lightening dark spots and preventing further pigmentation.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs): AHAs, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, exfoliate the skin's surface, removing dead skin cells and promoting cell turnover. This helps fade dark spots and reveal brighter, more even-toned skin.
Niacinamide: One of niacinamide’s best-known benefits is its ability to fight dark spots. It reduces inflammation and evens out skin tone. Whether you’re combating acne scars or sun damage, niacinamide deserves a place in your treatment plan.
Licorice Root Extract: A gentle botanical brightener that combats dark spots by hindering melanin and free radical production. You can use this natural ingredient to brighten your skin during summer without worrying about painful photosensitivity. However, still, apply your sun protection!
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Now that we’ve uncovered some magic behind natural ingredients that can lighten and brighten skin, let’s introduce our best dark spot removers featuring these skin gems and how they help remove dark spots – plus why you should add them to your skincare routine for an even, radiant complexion.
An effective serum for visibly reducing dark spots and age spots, without the use of chemical lighteners or bleaching agents. Even skin tone with highly effective, safe, and natural ingredients like sake, matsutake mushroom, lime, and papaya. This all-natural dark spot remover includes hydrating aloe juice and moisturizing, restorative rosehip oil.
Get brighter, firmer-looking skin with our vegan super C serum! Formulated with aloe gel, green apple, grape, and alpha lipoic acid (ALA), this lightweight serum promotes collagen production while fighting oxidative damage. It's the perfect addition to your skincare routine for a radiant complexion.
Get ready for smoother and even-looking skin thanks to our powerful yet gentle facial oil! Infused with age-correcting bakuchiol, a botanical that's just as effective as retinol, this formula is designed to hydrate and soften your skin like never before. Plus, the clinically proven percentage of Bakuchiol lightens dark spots for a more even skin tone and texture.
If you’re looking to lighten dark spots while getting some SERIOUS anti-aging benefits, this PM serum is for you. With a whopping 10% vitamin C and 10% niacinamide, plus 1 % CoQ10 and 1% retinol, this serum lessens fine lines and firms crepey skin and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to eliminating dark spots.
This skin-illuminating serum features Japanese sake and brings with it ferulic, malic, and kojic acids to delay signs of aging, even skin tone, and stimulate cell turnover with gentle exfoliation. Natural skin lighteners niacinamide, shiitake mushroom, licorice, and bearberry arbutin can also be found in this formula. Scented with purifying essential oils like bergamot citrus, vetiver grass, and blood orange.
This antioxidant-rich moisturizer provides intense hydration to boost collagen production and lessen the appearance of lines and wrinkles. This skin-softening, hydrating moisturizer is made with bakuchiol, which helps to lighten dark spots. Apply a small amount to your face, neck, and décolletage, and gently massage it in using upward motions.
A potent retinol product using vegan retinol and carrot seeds! Carrots and carrot seeds are high in beta-carotene, which enhances the effects of vitamin A on the skin. Made with vegan retinol, which helps to promote a more evenly toned complexion, as well as avocado butter and plant oils to moisturize and restore skin’s radiance and elasticity while you sleep.
This luxurious, ultra-rich multi-vitamin and antioxidant night cream is an anti-aging powerhouse, formulated with dark-spot correcting vitamin C and reparative vitamin A. This nightly dose of nutrients is designed to combat daily damage to the skin, soften and moisturize, and restore youthful suppleness and glow.
Are there any risks associated with long-term use of dark spot removers?
Since the ingredients in natural dark spot removers are gentle to the skin, there should not be any long-term risks associated with using them. But if you have sensitive skin, it’s best to perform a patch test first to avoid any potential adverse reactions.
How do I integrate dark spot treatments into my daily skincare regimen?
Most natural dark spot treatments are safe for daily use. However, those containing high concentrations of active ingredients like vitamin C or acids might be better used every other day or a few times a week, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Can I use dark spot removers while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Not if they contain the common skin bleacher, hydroquinone, often found in conventional dark spot removers. You’ll want to stick with natural dark-spot-removing ingredients, like niacinamide and vitamin C. It’s best to check with your doctor before using any new skincare product.
How long will it take to see noticeable results from a dark spot remover?
The time it takes to see results from using a dark spot remover can vary depending on various factors, including the severity of the dark spots and the individual's skin type. Typically, users might start to see improvements from high-quality products within 4-8 weeks.
However, more stubborn dark spots might require several months of consistent use before significant changes are noticeable. It’s essential to use the product as directed and be patient, as skin regeneration and repair take time.
Do I need to wear sunscreen even if I'm using a dark spot remover?
Absolutely! Some ingredients used to fade dark spots can make your skin even more sensitive to sun damage. Regardless, it’s of utmost importance to always wear sun protection daily.
If you are using a dark spot remover for the first time or have little experience using it, then here are some application tips that will help you get the best results and maximum efficacy from your product.
Apply to Clean and Dry Skin
For optimal absorption, apply your dark spot remover to clean, dry skin. This will allow the active ingredients to penetrate the skin more effectively and deliver maximum benefits. Wait a few minutes after washing your face or using a toner before applying the serum.
Unless the skincare product is a nighttime formula, you can use a dark spot remover during the day, as well as with other products that contain natural skin-lightening ingredients. Be sure to apply sun protection, too!
Be patient and Consistent
As with any skin concern, it can take some time to see the full potential and efficacy of a skincare product. It’s important to remember that fading dark spots is a gradual process and requires patience. Dark spot removers work by inhibiting melanin production, promoting skin cell turnover, and gradually fading the appearance of dark spots over time. Results may also depend on the individual's adherence to the recommended usage instructions and their overall skincare routine. Patience is key.
While we can relate to the frustrations of your dark spots and UV damage, there are rays of sunshine to help reduce or remove them. There’s a reason why new skincare innovations like natural dark spot removers have become so popular, and that’s because many skin types can safely use and benefit from them.
You may not love the appearance of your dark spots, but ultimately, you can incorporate a natural dark spot remover to help with them, and let time and patience do their things. Regardless of what is seemingly deemed as skin imperfections, like dark spots, self-acceptance and love trumps it all.
Embracing the advancements in skincare and the journey to rediscovering one's innate beauty is true magic. And, as for the final magic act, well, there is no ‘prestige’ with a dark spot remover. Those spots and dots are not coming back, but the rabbit can.
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The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.