Dark spot treatment
Dark spots are caused due to excess production of melanin (the dark-colored pigment present in the skin).
Getting rid of dark spots may take time; particularly if the spot is a few shades darker than your skin color, it would take six to 12 months to fade. If the spot lies deep in your skin, fading may take years. Dark spots are caused due to excess production of melanin (the dark-colored pigment present in the skin). Excess melanin is produced because of the following reasons:
Clearing of pimples
Healing of a wound because of cuts, burns, and insect bites
Following the clearing of a psoriasis patch
Products that irritate the skin
Changes due to the hormone, such as in pregnancy
A few remedies may hasten the fading process, but it would still take some time. Some of the treatments that may speed up the fading process include:
Using sunscreen: Sunscreen helps to prevent further darkening. Use a sunscreen that has sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher, broad-spectrum protection, zinc oxide, or titanium. Choose a sunscreen based on your skin type.
Skin-lightening products: Skin-lightening products hasten the fading process more effectively. Choose products that have one of the following ingredients:
- 2% hydroquinone
- Azelaic acid
- Glycolic acid
- Kojic acid
- Retinoid (retinol, tretinoin, adapalene gel, or tazarotene)
- Vitamin C
These ingredients help to fade the dark spots by countering the melanin production. Excess melanin production seems to be the reason behind dark spots and patches.
Laser treatment: In laser treatment, laser or intense pulsed light therapies destroys the melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) without damaging the skin surface. It requires two to three sessions for complete healing.
Chemical peels: Chemical peels and exfoliating products remove the dead skin cells or top layer of the skin. It involves the application of a chemical solution to the skin to remove the top layers. Eliminating the top layer of the skin gives a healthy and toned skin.
Cryotherapy: This procedure involves dabbing cotton dipped in liquid nitrogen on the spots for five seconds or less. It destroys the extra pigment, thus rendering a spotless face.
Dermabrasion or microdermabrasion: This technique involves sanding down the surface layer of the skin using a brush. You need to undergo two or three sessions of dermabrasion to get the result.
Some of the natural remedies to treat dark spots include:
Green tea: Green tea consists of polyphenols that prevent the formation of acne. Polyphenols also protect from harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiations, thus reducing the risk of dark spots. Apply the used, cooled tea bags on the spots twice a day until the results are visible.
Aloe vera: Aloe vera constitutes of aloesin that helps to reduce dark spots. Moreover, it also protects from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Aloesin also increases the elasticity of the skin. Apply fresh aloe vera gel on the dark spots before bedtime. Rinse the face in the morning with warm water.
Licorice extract: Glabridin in licorice inhibits the activity of melanocytes, therefore helping in skin lightening. Creams containing licorice are available as over-the-counter (OTC) topical products.
Red onion: Studies have found that the components of dried red onion (Allium cepa) have skin-lightening properties. Try products that have Allium cepa in their ingredient list.
Before trying out any natural remedies, it is better to consult your dermatologists to confirm their safety and efficacy.
Medically Reviewed on 12/14/2020
American Academy of Dermatology Association. How To Fade Dark Spots in Skin of Color. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/routine/fade-dark-spots
Binic I, Lazarevic V, Ljubenovic M, et al. Skin ageing: natural weapons and strategies. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. Published online January 29, 2013. doi: 10.1155/2013/827248
Mayoclinic. Age Spots (Liver Spots). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/age-spots/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355864