Fuss-free tips to fade dark spots without all the ado!
In our quest for beautiful skin, dark spots and blemishes can cause quite a challenge. This is mainly because they come out of nowhere (so it seems) and they are hard to treat.
The medical name for one cause of these dark spots is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Some people just call it hyperpigmentation for short.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Getting rid of hyperpigmentation begins with finding out why you get these dark spots or patches. If you can eliminate the cause, many spots will clear on their own; and you can prevent new ones from appearing.
Melanin production and sun exposure
People who have medium to dark skin tones get dark spots and patches because something triggers their skin to make extra melanin, the substance that gives skin its color. Many everyday things can trigger extra melanin in people who have darker skin tones. However, many people struggle with dark spots and patches due to sun-exposed areas of the face.
This manifests as darker patches of skin that can be irregular. However, when severe, it can cause significant cosmetic disfigurement. Unfortunately this can have a significant impact upon one’s social life and the ability to enjoy leisure activities.
Dark spots and patches can also be linked primarily to various alterations in female hormones. In fact, 90 percent of cases occur in women. Potential skin changes can also occur in the third trimester of pregnancy. This is when estrogen and progesterone levels are higher. As well as among women who take oral contraceptives.
The breast cancer drug tamoxifen, which blocks estrogen receptors, also has been linked to the development of dark spots and patches. So has hormone replacement therapy. Menopause may increase the chance of getting dark spots and patches in other areas beside the face.
Dark spots and patches often appear when:
- A pimple or patch of psoriasis clears.
- A wound caused by an insect bite, cut, burn, or other injury heals.
- You take (or apply) certain medications.
- A skin or hair care product irritates your skin.
How do you treat hyperpigmentation?
Treatment depends upon what’s causing your hyperpigmentation. The following explains the treatment for each cause:
A skin condition like acne, eczema, or psoriasis:
To get rid of hyperpigmentation caused by a skin condition, you must effectively treat the skin condition first. When the breakouts or flare-ups stop, you get rid of what’s causing the hyperpigmentation. Most dark spots will then fade on their own over time, but it may take a long time
As the wound heals, you may see a dark spot or patch. In time, the hyperpigmentation will fade if you don’t re-injure your skin.
Skin care product:
When a skin or hair care product irritates your skin, the product can cause dark spots on your skin. If you’re seeing dark spots, try using gentler products. They’re less likely to irritate your skin. Products that are gentle on the skin are often labeled “for sensitive skin.” You may also see “fragrance-free” on the label.
We recommend adding Hernuvin to your skin care routine. It has a great range of skin care products that are gentle and made to restore traumatised and over-exposed skin.
When your skin is no longer irritated, new dark spots tend to stop appearing and existing spots often clear on their own over time.
Some medications can cause dark spots
Don’t stop taking medication, even if you think it’s causing dark spots on your skin. That could make you very sick. Ask your doctor who prescribed the medication if discoloured skin is a possible side effect. If it is, ask if you could switch to another medication.
How long does it take for hyperpigmentation to fade?
Once what’s causing the dark spots or patches is found and stopped, fading can take time. A spot that is a few shades darker than your natural skin color will usually fade within 6 to 12 months.
If the color lies deep in your skin (like Melasma), however, fading can take years. Discoloration that lies deep in the skin is often slate blue to grey in color. It may also be brown, but the brown is much darker than your natural skin color.
What treatments do dermatologists recommend for hyperpigmentation?
Effective treatment for dark spots and patches begins with sunscreen. Whether you’re treating the dark spots on your own or seeing a dermatologist, using sunscreen is essential when you’ll be outside. Applied daily, sunscreen can prevent new dark spots and patches. It can also help to clear existing ones.
You’ll want to apply sunscreen to all skin that clothing won’t cover.
To get the best result, dermatologists also recommend wearing a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outside.
To get the protection you need to prevent (and help clear) dark spots, use a sunscreen that offers all of the following:
- SPF 30+
- Broad-spectrum protection
- One (or both) of these active ingredients, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide
- Non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) formula if you have oily skin
Are you tempted to skip the sunscreen because it leaves a white cast on your skin?
We do recommend Hernuvin Sun Care as it has been specially formulated to protect and recover your skin from damage and trauma. It does not leave a white cast on your skin and works well with make-up.
Use a product that can even out your skin tone
Once you eliminate what’s causing the dark spots and protect your skin from sunlight, a product that can fade dark spots (or even out your skin tone) tends to be more effective.
Retinoids, which are derivatives of vitamin A, work well to treat dark spots and patches. Add Hernuvin Retinol Serum to your skin care routine. It provides the optimal retinol concentration for clinical effect and encourages collagen production to heal tissue.
However, some products that fade dark spots do more harm than good
You might’ve been recommended to use skin-lightening agents such as hydroquinone, azelaic acid, mequinol or kojic acid. The side effects of these substances include redness and irritation of the skin, even peeling. Worst of all, bleaching agents can cause a decrease in pigmentation, so in addition, you may have to deal with patches of non-pigmented skin.
When buying a product that can fade dark spots, you want to choose carefully. Some products contain ingredients that can be very harmful to your skin and your health.
Researchers have found steroids or mercury, which weren’t listed on the product’s label, in skin care products imported from other countries.
The steroids in these products can cause pimples and rashes. If you unknowingly apply it to your skin for a long time, the steroids can cause your skin to become thin and fragile or permanently discoloured.
Never use liquid bleach
Liquid bleach is a harmful treatment for removing dark spots and patches. You should never apply it to your skin.
Is hyperpigmentation curable?
While you can get rid of the dark spots and patches, unfortunately new ones can form.
Even though you cannot cure all forms of hyperpigmentation, you can prevent it from developing again. Here’s what dermatologists recommend:
- Apply your sunscreen every two hours, and after swimming or sweating.
- When outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat.
- Try to avoid being outdoors when the sun is strongest, which is between 10 am and 2 pm
- Use skin care products that are gentle on your skin. If a product burns or stings when you apply it, stop using it.
- Continue to address the cause of the dark spots. For example, if you have a skin condition, continue to treat the skin condition.
We know it can be frustrating, but keep in mind that the dark spots may be more obvious to you than to others. Also, be patient and kind to your skin. We have seen some very positive results with people using Hernuvin but it does not happen overnight. It takes daily consistency and persistence to heal your skin.
You are also welcome to talk to us about your skin care concerns.
Thank you for taking the time to read our article. Until next time, take care of yourself and your skin. You deserve it!
WHY HERNUVIN SKIN CARE
Medically designed and scientifically formulated by a specialist plastic surgeon (whose anaesthetist is a breast cancer survivor), Hernuvin is specifically formulated to address the side effects of Chemotherapy and traumatised skin.
Whether your skin is normal, showing the signs of ageing or recovering from the effects of chemotherapy and estrogen depletion, the Hernuvin Skin Care Range offers a simple skin care regime that facilitates the restoration of ailing skin, as well as providing effective prevention and protective assistance for all skin types.
Heath CR and Taylor SC. “Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.” In: Kelly AP, Taylor SC. Dermatology for Skin of Color. McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2009:337-340.
Manuskiatti W, Triwongwaranat D, et al. “Efficacy and safety of a carbon-dioxide ablative fractional resurfacing device for treatment of atrophic acne scars in Asians.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010;63(2):274-83.
Roberts WE. “Melasma.” In: Kelly AP, Taylor SC. Dermatology for Skin of Color. McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2009:332-6.
Robert Ashley, M.D. For The Salinas Californian