What treatments can help fade the dark spots?
There are various creams and gels that can help in fading the dark spots. Some of these products are available over the counter while a few interventions should be performed by a dermatologist. It is best to consult a dermatologist before trying any potentially damaging do it yourself (DIYs) tips or quick fixes for the skin.
- Hydroquinone cream: Your dermatologist will advise spot application of either 2-4% hydroquinone cream to clear the spots. This cream yields excellent results if paired with laser therapy. Hydroquinone cream works on the melanocytes (skin pigment or melanin-producing skin cells) that aggregate and cause darkening. The effect is seen in 4-6 months.
- Face gels: The face gels containing azelaic acid, glycolic acid, kojic acid, retinoid (Retinol, Tretinoin, Adapalene gel, or Tazarotene) can also be applied on the face to treat the dark spots. These work by altering the melanocyte turnover. Spot application of these gels is advised.
- Vitamin C containing gels and face serums can help brighten skin and effectively fade the hyperpigmentation. The gels with high levels of magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, niacinamide, ellagic acid, arbutin, in addition to Vitamin C give even better results if applied regularly and under proper precautions. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that improves the skin cell structure and makes skin supple.
- Grape seed extract, orchid extract, aloe vera extract, green tea extracts, mulberry extract, soy, and licorice extract have also been found to have skin lightening effects. These can be used as home remedies by directly applying to the face. Always do a patch testing for these ingredients behind your ear a day prior to applying them on your face to rule out allergies to these substances.
- Chemical peels containing glycolic acid, lactic acid, Vitamin C are some of the most effective means to treat face marks. Chemical peels work well for superficial scars like those due to acne and sun damage. These must be used under dermatologist supervision and need regular reapplication and touch-ups.
- Micro-needling is a technique performed by the dermatologist for deeper scars. The dermatologist moves a sterile, handheld needle-studded roller across the pockmarks or deep acne scars. This punctures your skin and stimulates healing at deeper levels. This treatment shows effect at around 9 months.
- Microdermabrasion is a technique where the dermatologist uses a device that gently scrapes off the top layer of skin. You may need around 15 to 20 sessions to see good results.
- Laser treatment: This is the final and most aggressive resort to fade the scars. It works on deeper scars due to burns or injuries. They must only be done by an experienced licensed dermatologist.
What are dos and don’ts for preventing the face spots?
Following a regular skincare routine is especially important to prevent face spots and keep the skin young.
- Effective treatment begins with sunscreen: Regular application of sunscreen over the face and neck is essential. It must be used daily even when it is snowing or raining. The sunscreen prevents further skin darkening and age spots. Always use a sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher and is noncomedogenic.
- Diet: A diet rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals is essential to maintain an overall good skin tone. Make sure to include lean meat, eggs, fruits, green tea, nuts in your diet for good skin health. Always make sure you are well hydrated.
- Skin products: Use good quality skin products and make sure you store them properly. Use water-based makeup to make sure you do not get acne flare-ups because of your skin products.
- Remember that some skin lighteners do more harm than good. Lighteners containing mercury or bleach are bad for your skin. The steroids in some products can cause skin infections and thinning. Always check with your dermatologist before using a new product.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
WebMD. How to Fight Dark Spots on Your Skin. https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/dark-spots-skin-hyperpigmentation#2
American Academy of Dermatology Association. Acne Scars: Diagnosis and Treatment. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/derm-treat/scars/treatment
UpToDate. General Drug Information. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/hydroquinone-drug-information?