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What are dark spots?

Dark spots can be caused by a multitude of different reasons, they are most usually caused by ‘hyperpigmentation’. Hyperpigmentation is where the skin produces excess pigment known as ‘melanin’, this causes the skin to darken and produce brown patches on the skin. 

How do dark spots occur?

Most people experience dark spots on the face, but they can also affect the skin on the body too. Typically, they occur because of damaged skin, however they are generally not harmful.

What are the main causes of dark spots?

  • Sun Damage A common source of dark spots is excessive sun exposure, this is found in roughly 90% of people over 60 but is also common in younger adults too. It is where the skin produces extra melanin as a protection against harmful UV rays.
  • Melasma This is caused by hormone imbalances and can be triggered during pregnancy, menopause or when using birth control etc. 
  • Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation This is caused when the skin has undergone a form of trauma i.e. acne scars, burns or psoriasis. This is particularly prevalent as we get older, as our skin cells do not reproduce as quickly, these are sometimes referred to as age spots.

Woman with skin concern

How to get rid of dark spots

Firstly, we would always recommend that if you are worried about any changes in your skin that you go see your dermatologist or local GP. That being said, there are a few ways you can improve the appearance of dark spots and even stop them from occurring in the future.

Exfoliation

If your dark spots are new they may only appear on the first few layers of skin, using a good deep exfoliator can help remove those first few layers of darkened skin. Exfoliators which include glycolic or salicylic acid are specifically advantageous. 

Sun protection

If you suspect your dark spots are caused by sun damage then investing in a good sun cream with a high SPF will protect your skin from becoming more damaged and thus reduce the chances of further dark spots. 

Apply sun tan lotion

Woman applying face ceam

Special skin creams 

There are many skin creams on the market that can help reduce the appearance of dark spots, particularly if they are age related. 

The NIVEA Q10 Power Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Age Spot Day Cream has Q10 antioxidants and natural ageing defence. It has an SPF of 30 to protect the skin from UV rays and creatine to help skin cells regenerate preventing further dark spots from forming. 

Home remedies 

Everyone loves getting a little thrifty every now and then, and there are some home remedies which could help the appearance of dark spots too. Vitamins can be helpful, for example applying vitamin E either directly onto the skin or using a product which contains vitamin E. Making sure you get ample vitamin C in your diet, from sources such as strawberries and oranges. Castor oil, green tea extracts, milk, aloe vera, lemon juice and honey can also be used to bleach the appearance of dark spots.