Dark spots are a problem that most women encounter at some point in their lives. These dark spots or brown spots generally appear in and around the cheeks, arms and hands. People with fair or wheatish complexion are more prone to brown spots. Sun exposure is one of the main reason for appearance of dark spots, and the problem with brown spots is that they can make you look older than your age. Hiding behind a layer of foundation or concealer is not the answer and you need to know the causes for the appearance of dark spots on face, before you can consider some of the remedies for fading them.
Causes of Dark Spots on Skin
There are various reasons why dark spots appear on the face. The most common cause is extensive sun exposure. Our skin contains melanin, and in order to protect our skin from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun, melanin absorbs the rays resulting in tanning of skin. Excessive exposure to sun for a long period of time causes a concentration of melanin, which results in the appearance of dark spots, sun spots or age spots on the skin. Dark spots on the face might also be due to fluctuating hormones during pregnancy or menopause. Stress, aging, acne, genetics, use of birth control pills and liver diseases might also cause pigmentation in the form of brown spots.
How to Get Rid of Dark Spots
There are a couple of ways in which you can fade brown spots or dark spots from your skin.
One of the best way to counteract this problem is to prevent the occurrence of dark spots by minimizing sun exposure. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, even when you are indoors. A broad spectrum sunscreen shields the skin against both UVB and UVA rays. For added protection apply a sunscreen over an oil free lotion that contains green tea or vitamin C. Products containing active ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, vitamin C and Retin A helps in fading dark spots by sloughing off dead skin cells. To eliminate the toughest of dark spots, use a skin lightening cream that contains hydroquinone or kojic acid. However prolonged use of these ingredients can cause discoloration of the skin, so always consult a reputed dermatologist before applying them.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL)
Intense pulsed light therapy (IPL) can be highly effective in eliminating dark spots from hands and face. The laser light penetrates deep into the skin and it is absorbed by the area with dark spots, which darkens over the next couple of days. The skin looks dark and blotchy for about a week, then the spots slough off revealing clear, fresh skin. There may be a slight amount of redness and stinging, but it disappears within a week. People who want to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, can also greatly benefit from intense pulsed light therapy.
A non-surgical, safe and highly efficient method for removing dark spots from face is microdermabrasion. In this process the skin is very gently abraded with microscopic crystal particles, generally aluminum oxide crystals. It is a painless procedure, and you can resume your daily activities immediately.
For safe and efficient treatment of brown spots you can also consider chemical peels. This is very effective in removing dark spots on face caused due to acne. An acid of mild concentration, usually glycolic acid is applied on the skin to "peel" off the outer layer of skin. A neutralizer is then applied over the skin revealing fine-textured healthy skin free of pigmentation. Six to eight sittings are required to get the best results.
Home Remedies for Fading Dark Spots
Here are some home remedies for removing dark spots.
- Apply a mixture made by combining equal amounts of lime juice and tomato juice on the dark spots. Leave it overnight and wash off with lukewarm water.
- Apply a mask made of raw grated potatoes on your face and leave it on for ten minutes.
- Mix sandalwood with rose water and apply this mixture on dark spots.
- Applying a mask of honey mixed with a little juice of raw turmeric works wonders in reducing brown spots.
- Finely grate a red onion, and squeeze out the juice. Dab this juice on your skin and wash off after ten minutes.
- Sour cream also helps in lightening dark spots. The lactic acid present in sour cream acts like a mild peeling agent.
- Dried orange peels mixed with yogurt is also helpful in reducing the appearance of dark spots.
- Grind some fresh parsley leaves and add it to two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Soak a cotton ball in this mixture and dab it over the brown spots. Wash off after ten minutes.
The best way to prevent the appearance of dark spots is regular application of a good quality sunscreen that contains SPF of above 30. Also avoid prolonged exposure to sun. Over the counter bleaching agents are your best bet if you are looking for an easy and inexpensive option to fade away dark spots. For quicker results, you can always opt for chemical peels and intense pulsed light therapy.