No Experience Necessary: A Beginner's Guide to Dark Spot Correction
As we inch closer and closer to fall, we begin to pack away our swimsuits, transition our wardrobe, and overhaul our skin care routine. The latter process also includes trying to reduce the visible evidence of any existing skin damage—after three months of fun in the sun, there’s likely to be some—as a result of prolonged UV exposure. Dark spots, freckles, and discoloration are all common side effects that may be visible once summer draws to a close. Aside from sun exposure, the reason for your dark spots could also boil down to simple genetics—thank your parents for that one!—or leftover acne marks from your teenage years. Regardless of the culprit, these stubborn marks are often very difficult to fade…but not impossible! Below, we’re sharing helpful tips on how to help visibly reduce the appearance of your dark spots! Fingers crossed you leave this dark problem behind you.
Think a dark spot from the sun will just improve itself over time? Think again. In fact, the spot may look more pronounced and visible with continued sun exposure. As soon as you notice any discolored marks on your skin, you’ll want to dive in headfirst with a plan of attack. The sooner you address the issue, the easier and more likely it is to noticeably fade. So, act fast!
BUILD YOUR ARSENAL
What exactly should I do first? We’re glad you asked! Assuming this is your first dark spot, you might not have a dark spot corrector handy. Now’s the time to gear up. Lucky for you, we wrote all about a few of our favorite dark spot correctors, here! Look for formulas with retinol, vitamin C, glycolic acid, and/or LHA. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label closely.
Side note: If you’re applying pure retinol, heed with caution—it’s pretty powerful stuff. Also, since retinol can induce a sensitivity to light, apply it at night only and never skip sunscreen application in the AM.
TRY A CHEMICAL PEEL
For a stronger treatment in reducing the appearance of marks on your skin, a dermatologist might recommend an in-office glycolic acid peel to introduce a new layer of skin. Be warned though, not everyone is a good candidate for this procedure. At home, you can reach for a milder daily peel like L’Oreal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Peel Pads—boasting a 10 percent glycolic complex—to help resurface the appearance of a dull, uneven skin tone.
CREATE A BARRIER WITH SPF
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could eliminate the risk for dark spots to begin with? When you’re outdoors, try and limit your sun exposure as much as possible. Avoid peak sun hours—between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.—and always, always, always wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher no matter what. Pair it with an antioxidant-rich serum, like SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, for the best line of protection from harmful UV rays and other environmental assailants.
Note: Some dark spots are superficial, but some are not. In fact, these marks could be an indication of a more serious skin condition, such as melanoma. Always visit your dermatologist before trying any at-home treatments on dark spots for a professional evaluation. Not sure what to expect from a skin check? We detail the answers to the most-common FAQs here.