Hyperpigmentation, or dark spots as we usually call them, is much more of a common problem than you think. There are literally millions of women of all races and skin types covering the evidence with concealer each morning, so you are certainly not alone.
These brown patches on the skin are one of the most annoying beauty concerns ever. This is the one thing that will give your true age away, regardless of how hard you have worked to get rid of those pesky lines and wrinkles.
It’s important to mention that not only older people get this problem and, if you’ve already got some dark spots, you aren’t necessarily old. Uneven skin tone upsets women of all ages for various reasons. Today we are going to look for possible explanations why you have them and what you can do about it.
What causes dark spots on face?
Aging is not the only cause of hyperpigmentation. Here are some other underlying conditions or causes that could leave you with those tell-tale spots of darker pigmentation.
- sun damage,
- hormonal imbalances,
- acne scars,
- birth control pills,
- skin disorders,
- liver damage,
Obviously, prevention works best. Using sunscreen to avoid sun damage, having a healthy and balanced diet to avoid any nutritional problems, taking care of your hormonal health will go a long way to help prevent the appearance of dark brown patches on your face and neck.
We are going to discuss the ways of dealing with this issue in a moment, but first let’s rule out the possibility of cancerous growth.
[wp_ad_camp_1]Cosmetic issue or cancer?
Some of you might be wondering whether what you are seeing is merely a cosmetic issue or a sign of something much more serious like skin cancer. While it is true that most probably what you are seeing is a simple sun spot (also known as age spot or liver spot), it is also true that you cannot really tell the difference and, in some cases, treating a dark spot as a simple beauty concern can literally kill you.
Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, can start from an existing mole or from normal skin. If it starts from existing mole it will be raised, hence it cannot be confused with hyperpigmentation. However, when it arises from normal skin, it will be flat and will look exactly like regular dark spots in the beginning. Its color may vary from brown to black and, if left untreated, it may grow out or down.
This means that generally, whenever you see a new dark patch on your skin you should book an appointment with your dermatologist rather than regular skin care specialist.
African American skin
African American and other dark skin types are more prone to dark spots than others. This happens due to the number of reasons, but those black and dark skin types that are sensitive and acne prone are most vulnerable.
The treatment for black skin is no different than for other skin types. Prevention in form of minimizing sun damage, using sunscreen and proper cleansing routine to avoid appearance of acne, rashes and bumps comes first.
For your existing dark spots you can either use home remedies we are going to discuss in a moment or any of available commercial products for bleaching. When it comes to commercial products, not everything will work for you and you will need to become your own investigator by taking a picture of your skin before and after treatment. While many of these products can give good results, there is little research behind them and finding what is best for you is more of a trial and error.
If you are ready for more radical measures, black and dark skin types respond well to laser treatment.
It’s not uncommon to get dark patches on your face and other sun-exposed areas of your body during pregnancy. Women with dark or black skin are more likely to be affected, but white women get that too.
The problem is caused by hormonal changes that lead to increased production of melanin and is likely to fade after a few months after you deliver your baby. You don’t need to do anything special about it, but if you want to minimize the appearance of dark spots while you are pregnant you should avoid sun exposure, always wear sunblock and cover well when you are outside. It is never too early to start taking these preventive measures and if your appearance is a concern, get this right as soon as you find out that you are pregnant.
One thing you should avoid is using skin whitening products and bleaches while pregnant.
The hormones in birth control pills may have an effect on your skin pigmentation, which will result in dark spots as a side effect. If you suspect that birth control pills could be causing this issue find an alternative contraceptive method and see if the issue will resolve on its own. It will usually take a few month for your dark spots to disappear.
Dark spots caused by acne
Sometimes dark spot is actually a scar left by acne. These take time to fade, usually about two to three months. If you are looking to speed up this process, consider chemical peels. In general chemical peels are good for white skin while laser treatment is preferable for darker skin types.
Getting rid of dark spots
If you are already staring into a mirror and seeing dark spots on the face looking back at you, there are a few “erasers” that you can try your hand at.
Vitamins, Vitamins, Vitamins
We already know that vitamins E and C are good for your skin and they can also be handy when it comes to trying to get rid of those dark spots too. Applying a moisturizer that contains vitamin E will give the area of skin a much needed boost of antioxidants that in time, will help to reduce the uneven skin tone. You could even buy the vitamin E capsules that you can get from health food stores, crack it open and apply it neat to the face for an extra boost.
When Life Gives you Lemons…
Lemon juice works as a natural home remedy for a lot of things and one of the best is to use it as a natural bleaching agent. The natural acids in the lemon can counteract the dark patches of pigmentation and over time, can reduce the visibility of the darker spots.
Next time you go shopping, grab yourself a couple of fresh lemons and some small cotton wool balls. Juice the lemon and apply the juice neat on the cotton wool balls. Ideally you should be aiming for once a day for maximum effect. Make sure that you use a good moisturizer at night too after you have taken your makeup off… The lemon juice can dry out the skin a little.
We recently took a look at how castor oil could help your hair to grow faster and stronger but there is yet again, another use for this seemingly special oil. Using the same cotton wool balls, apply the castor oil neat to the face and massage it in, paying extra special attention to affected areas. As well as reducing the visibility of these, you will also find that your overall skin tone will be improved… What’s not to love about that!
In fact, it’s not just castor oil that can be used. Almond oil, vitamin E oil (we’ve already mentioned this), olive oil and even coconut oil can all be used as an effective treatment!