Unfortunately, it is a fact of life. At one point or another, you will most likely develop dark spots on your skin, also known as hyperpigmentation.
Since the causes vary, no one can be completely immune from them.
That means you have one of three choices: you can just accept those nasty spots, you can try to cover them up with expensive cosmetics, or you can choose to fight them, with the help of a skin-lightening cream.
Luckily, many skin lightening creams are now safe and recommended by doctors.
So, let’s get started finding the best dark spot cream for you.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is simply a discoloration of the skin that causes dark areas.
Hyperpigmentation is a broad term because it comes in many shapes and forms, including freckles, sunspots, melasma, or acne scars. It’s an umbrella term for the different kinds of darkness you may find on your skin.
So, how does it happen? Hyperpigmentation occurs when there is a boost in the production of cells that produce melanin, called melanocytes.
This extra melanin gets deposited in the lower levels of the skin and essentially gets “stuck.” When these spots are exposed to the sun after forming, they may even get worse.
Before we share with you how to get rid of dark spots, let’s look at the many causes of hyperpigmentation, so we are prepared to prevent them.
Sun exposure – When the skin is exposed repeatedly, and for prolonged periods to sunlight, your body causes melanocytes to multiply, which produces an uneven distribution of active melanocytes in the skin. Those areas become darker than others, resulting in these nasty “black” spots.
Acne – Sometimes, after acne spots heal, you might notice lingering dark spots. These are the remnants of inflamed acne lesions, or scars, which may or may not clear up by itself, depending on the severity of the acne scar.
Heredity – If your family has a history of freckles, liver spots, or age spots, your hyperpigmentation may indeed be hereditary.
Disease – Addison’s disease, Cushing’s disease, Nelson’s syndrome, Grave’s disease, and other similar endocrine and autoimmune conditions may result in increased hyperpigmentation.
Aging – Otherwise known as age spots or liver spots, the spots caused by aging occurs as a result of the collective effect from years of exposure to UV light from the sun and/or tanning beds.
Types of treatment available
Choosing the treatment option that works best for you is important. There are options available for people who want to spend a little and who are willing to spend a lot. There are in-office methods and at-home methods. There are also products you may purchase.
Let’s explore each treatment type to determine which route will fit best into your life.
At-home remedies – Usually recommended for daily use, over the period of months or years, with widely varying effectiveness for treatment of black spots, home remedies include a paste of milk and honey, vegetable and fruit extracts, a paste of avocados, Vitamin E ointment, orange peel, mint leaves, and baking soda, just to name a few.
Chemical peels/lasers – Chemical peels and lasers are used to burn the topmost layers of damaged skin, thereby forcing the body to undergo the healing process to regrow new, smoother, clearer skin in its place.
Since some peels and lasers may cause side effects such as scars and infections, be sure to get the facts from your doctor or dermatologist before proceeding.
Hyperpigmentation creams/skin lighteners – Also known as bleaching creams, whiteners, skin brighteners, or fade creams, these products work by reducing melanin in the skin, when applied to the problem areas.
They can use a variety of active ingredients, ranging from toxic chemicals to natural acids (like retinoic acid, which comes from vitamin A), to natural plant extracts. Always read the ingredients before using any such product.
It’s also a good idea to consult with your dermatologist. This is important before using a new product to be sure the ingredients won’t cause any negative side effects on your skin. The last thing you want is an ineffective product that ends up making things worse.
How to pick the best cream?
Before setting out to try a hyperpigmentation cream, you must understand that your dark spots, no matter what the cause, took time to develop. Therefore, only through time and consistent use of the product should you hope to see results.
The amount of time needed can vary greatly, from a few weeks to a few months, but one thing is for sure.
The best creams will be safe for use on most areas, made from natural, organic, and/or safe, non-toxic ingredients (some skin lighteners use ingredients such as mercury, which can lead to mercury poisoning).
No treatment can remove these spots overnight. If a product makes those claims, run in the opposite direction!
When in doubt, take your top few options to your doctor and ask for their opinion on the active ingredients. While the internet is always full of recommendations, the recommendation from a doctor is always one you can count on.
Our top picks
We’ve compiled a list of the top creams for use against dark spots caused by hyperpigmentation. Rating them on effectiveness, customer satisfaction, safe ingredients, and ease of use.
Vitamin C Serums are also known to work well against dark spots. Visit our list of the best vitamin c serums for some of our top picks.
In general, here are some very common over-the-counter ingredients to look for to help lighten up your hyperpigmentation:
- Licorice extract
- Vitamin B3
These are usually pretty affordable options that will be easy to find in drug stores. Because these are OTC options, they won’t work as quickly as the other options we have mentioned.
However, they’re a great way to make progress on your hyperpigmentation without breaking the bank. These should be applied twice daily for results that are more noticeable.
Prevention is the Best Cure
There’s no real cure for hyperpigmentation. However, it’s something that is easily preventable with proper care and diligence. Being aware of the causes and being prepared to treat any spots that show up is crucial to keeping things from getting worse.
How to get rid of dark spots? Here are 3 great ways you can prevent dark spots and enjoy beautiful, healthy skin:
1. Protect Your Skin from the Sun
This is a great rule to follow, always. The sun’s rays are very powerful, and our skin is prone to get hurt if exposed for long periods of time. Wearing sunscreen prevents premature aging as well as sun damage.
Three types of dark spots (lentigines, melasma, and ephelides) are all caused by the sun and can be prevented by using SPF daily.
Another way to protect your skin from UV rays is by wearing the right clothing. This includes hats and sunglasses. You need to block out all direct sunlight with a long sleeve shirt and UV protection glasses.
Of course, you won’t always be able to dress this way, but, if you know you’ll be spending a good amount of time out in the sun, plan accordingly.
2. Eat the Right Foods
Maintaining a healthy diet is a no-brainer. However when it comes down to how to get rid of dark spots, foods rich in antioxidants are key.
Not only will they help prevent dark spots, but they will also brighten up your skin and keep it glowing. A few options include berries, leafy greens, citrus fruits, and any foods high in omega-3 content.
3. Exfoliate and Use Serums
If you’re not doing this already, you need to begin exfoliating your skin 2-3 times a week. Brightening scrubs are a great way to remove dead skin cells while giving your skin a lasting glow.
Serums are also a great way to even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of existing spots. Look no further if you’re wondering how to get rid of dark spots. By following these 3 tips, you’ll be on your way to healthier, more clear skin.