8 Ways to Help Reduce the Appearance of Dark Spots
Whether caused by the passing of time or from too much time in the sun, skin discoloration is a literal dark spot on your otherwise flawless complexion. These pesky marks or patches, while incredibly common, are often a pain to cover up—especially in the summertime when the less makeup, the better—but thankfully, with a little patience and a few tricks of the trade, you can help to diminish the visible appearance of dark spots and discoloration. We rounded up eight helpful tips below!
Try a Dark Spot Corrector
The first step in fading the look of dark spots is finding a dark spot corrector that works for you. There are a number of great formulas found in serums, creams, moisturizers, and masks—we share a few of our favorites here—so you’ll have your pick of the litter depending on your skin care routine and skin type.
Get Familiar with Glycolic
Looking to fade the appearance of dark spots? Put glycolic acid on your radar. This common alpha-hydroxy acid is a fruit acid derived from sugar cane which gently chemically exfoliates the surface of your skin. Exfoliation is a key step in helping to reduce the look of dark spots on the skin’s surface. And, while you can opt for other facial exfoliators, glycolic acid definitely sits pretty at the top of our list.
Give it Time
One common form of skin discoloration is melasma—often dubbed the mask of pregnancy. Marked by the appearance of grey or brown patches on the skin, melasma is typically caused by the fluctuation in hormones that occurs during pregnancy—and can worsen due to unprotected sun exposure. This discoloration will often go away on its own—a few months after your beautiful bundle of joy arrives—so it’s best to simply be patient and to protect yourself with broad-spectrum SPF when you head outdoors.
Speaking of SPF, one of the most common causes of dark spots and discoloration is failing to use sunscreen or sunblock every day. Prolonged and unprotected UV exposure is a major skin care no-no—both for aesthetic reasons, like keeping dark spots away, and health reasons, like safeguarding yourself from developing skin cancers. Wear a broad-spectrum SPF (this protects you from UVA and UVB rays) of 30 or more each day…even when it’s cloudy!
If you have the time and the budget, consider booking a chemical peel at a medical spa or your dermatologist’s office. Chemical peels help to powerfully—and professionally—exfoliate the surface of the skin to address pigment concerns. The biggest benefit? Brighter-looking skin!
Brighten In Bed
Not to be confused with professional chemical peels, at-home peel products are another great option for improving the look of skin discoloration. Often these puppies work overnight while we’re snoozing, helping to reveal a more radiant complexion in the morning. We share three over-night exfoliators we love, here.
Up the Ante with Antioxidants
An expert tip for helping to diminish the appearance of skin aging—read: dark spots and wrinkles—is to layer products formulated with antioxidants under your SPF each day. Antioxidants like vitamin C—or l-ascorbic acid—can help to neutralize free radicals that are formed by environmental aggressors, so using them each day is a must.
Retinize Your Routine
Another tip to help reduce the appearance of surface-level discoloration? Retinol. A derivative of vitamin A, retinol is an anti-aging power player when used the right way. Apply at nighttime to help to reduce the look of dark spots and wrinkles—win, win! Just remember to apply your SPF in the AM.