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How To Reduce Dark Spots On The Face

Dark spots on the face can affect hyper pigmentation, a common skin condition that occurs when the skin makes too much melanin. Hyper pigmentation can be due to sun revelation, scarring, aging, and more.

Several dark spots are harmless. However, if a person desires to reduce their appearance, they can usually do so through topical treatments.

This article examines the dark spots caused by hyper pigmentation. It discusses its causes, how to get rid of it, and some treatment options. It also explores approaches and ingredients that people should avoid.

What Causes Dark Spots on The Face?

Dark spots can appear on the face when the skin produces too much melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color. This is known as hyper pigmentation.

Hyper pigmentation can develop as a result of:

Aging, hormonal changes, e.g., during pregnancy or menopause, exposure to the sun.

Skin harm can also cause post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation (PIH). People can develop PIH due to:

Acne, bites, cuts and burns, excessive or improper hair removal techniques, ingrown hairs, harsh skincare products, psoriatic scars, or other skin conditions

Hyper pigmentation isn’t the only reason for dark spots on the face. For this reason, it is significant for a person to speak to a doctor if they notice changes in existing moles or dark spots, especially variations in texture, color, and extent.

Topical actions for dark spots

dark spots

There are several over-the-counter (OTC) products that can help fade dark spots. They usually contain active elements such example:

These goods will have instructions on how to use them on the label. However, it is best to speak to a dermatologist before trying them out, as some risks are involved.

The following sections explain some of the pros and cons of these products in more detail.


Hydroquinone is a popular ingredient in hyperpigmentation products. It works by reducing melanin production. Over-the-counter products contain about half the amount of hydroquinone as prescription products.

Some countries have banned hydroquinone for safety reasons. For example, a 2007 study by Trusted Source suggests that hydroquinone can cause cancer in rats. However, scientists have not shown that this also happens in people.

Hydroquinone can reason skin irritation, mainly when people use higher concentrations. It can also lighten the skin around dark spots if a person doesn’t apply it carefully.

Koiic Acid

Kojic acid is another available treatment for hyperpigmentation. However, it might not be as active as other treatments.

A 2013 study, Trusted Source, compared a kojic acid concentration of 0.75% with 4% hydroquinone for treating melasma in 60 people. Researchers suspect that hydroquinone is more effective.

Kojic acid can also irritate delicate skin, so it may not be suitable for everyone.


Retinoids derived from vitamin A. They increase the renewal of new skin cells, which can cause dark spots to fade over time.

Doctors may prescribe a professional retinoid like tretinoin for severe hyperpigmentation. These products may take 3 to 6 months to effort. The stronger the retinoid, the more possible it is to cause frustration.

Products covering retinoids are not suitable for use during pregnancy, as vitamin A can sometimes cause congenital disabilities.

Retinoids also raise the skin’s sensitivity to UV light, so it is essential to use a safe sun protection factor with daily use of retinoids on the face.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are acids that dissolve the top layer of skin cells. These include alpha hydroxy acids like lactic acid and beta hydroxy acids (BHA) like salicylic acid.

Chemical peels also work by increasing the renewal of new skin cells. They can also be appropriate for dry or delicate skin. However, as with retinoids, these acids raise the skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

Cosmetic procedures for dark spots.

When topical products don’t reduce hyper pigmentation enough, some people may want to consider cosmetic procedures.

Some possible options include:

Laser therapy:

Here, a dermatologist uses a beam of light to combat marks. There is a risk that laser action will worsen the discoloration, so a patch test is essential.

Chemical peels:

Professional chemical peels are more potent versions of over-the-counter acid peels. Stronger peels work on the deeper layers of the skin, but they also have longer recovery times.


This exfoliation treatment uses tiny particles to remove dead skin cells. There is no recovery period, although the skin may temporarily become irritated or swollen.

People prone to HIE or scarring or who have used isotretinoin in the past six months may not be able to undergo microdermabrasion, chemical peels, or laser therapy.

Choose the treatment:

How a person uses hyperpigmentation products depends on several factors. These discussed in more element in the following sections.

Skin color

People with dark skin tones should be careful when using hyperpigmentation treatments. This is because using the incorrect product or a highly concentrated product can lighten other areas of the skin. There is also a risk that the products reason extra hyperpigmentation.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) commends the following treatments for dark spots on skin tint:

2% hydroquinone

Azelaic acid

Glycolic Caustic

kojic acid

Retinoids such as vitamin A1, tretinoin, adapalene gel, or tazarotene

vitamin C

A skin doctor with experience treating hyperpigmentation in dark skin can advise you on the best course of action.


People may need to treat skin conditions that cause hyperpigmentation to prevent dark spots from appearing.

For example, if a person has PIH due to acne, treatment can target discoloration and prevent acne and acne scars.

Treatment can include:

BHA, which can fade discoloration over time and help treat acne.

Retinoids that people can apply topically or orally

Diet or lifestyle changes

Find out more about how to prevent pimples here.

Sun damage

If a person has dark spots due to sun damage, they should add an effective sunscreen to their skincare regimen. Sunscreen prevents existing hyperpigmentation from darkening and prevents further damage from UV rays.

Everybody should wear sunscreen every day, regardless of their skin tone. The AAD recommends choosing one that:

has a sun safety factor of at least 30?

protects against UVA and UVB rays

it’s waterproof

Vitamin C can be a beneficial treatment for sun damage. A 2017 report from a trusted source found that topical vitamin C prevents melanin formation and protects against premature aging from UV exposure.


Some topical and oral medications can cause or worsen hyperpigmentation. People can check the label of each medicine to see if this side effect is possible. In this case, a doctor can recommend the best course of action.

The AAD states that once a person has eliminated the cause of their hyperpigmentation, existing spots should go away in 6 to 12 months. However, it may take longer for very dark spots to disappear.

Hormonal changes

Dark spots caused by hormonal changes are not always avoidable. However, slight discoloration may go away over time once a person corrects the cause.

For example, if one is pregnant, the spots can fade after the pregnancy.

Melasma can be more challenging to pleasure. Melasma is a more profound form of hyperpigmentation that can happen due to hormonal changes. Even if melasma fades, it can reappear if a person exposed to the sun.

If a person is pregnant or breastfeeding, they should seek medical advice when hyperpigmentation treatment or procedure is safe.

Do Home Remedies Work for Dark Spots?

Many products and sources on the internet claim that various home remedies can reduce hyperpigmentation. Some examples are:

Aloe vera gel

Beta carotene

Green tea

Licorice root

Pomegranate extract

Soy milk

Tea tree oil


Lemon juice

However, there is limited or no evidence for most of these claims.

Some home-based remedies for dark spots can be harmless; others can damage the skin.

Lemon juice, for example, is very acidic and too strong to be used undiluted. Likewise, people shouldn’t use pure essential oils on their skin.


In many cases, the hyperpigmentation on the face will fade on its own over time. Over-the-counter and prescription treatments are safe to fade discoloration. A dermatologist can recommend the best approaches based on a person’s skin type and tone and the cause of their hyperpigmentation.

Significantly, people see a doctor right away if any existing dark spots grow, change, or multiply.