After taking a quick glance at your skin, you might have noticed that you have some dark spots or what’s known in dermatology as hyperpigmentation.
“Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition in which areas of the skin appear to be darker in some areas. These areas of the skin can appear as patches of brown, gray, or tan,” says Dr. Michael Jacobs, Medical Technology Director at Cortina and Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Hyperpigmentation can be due to the increased production of melanin which can be due to ultraviolet ray exposure and inflammation of the skin.”
With that in mind, there are some ways you can protect yourself from developing hyperpigmentation. Keep on reading to find out five dermatologist-approved on how to remove dark spots and prevent hyperpigmentation.
Sunscreen is one of the best means of protection against sun spots on skin, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation.
“Sunscreen can help protect your skin and reduce your exposure to UV rays,” says Jacobs. “Reducing UV exposure can decrease excess melanin production.”
In essence, wearing sunscreen can help prevent the development of hyperpigmentation. You’ll want to apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30, offers broad spectrum protection, is water-resistant, and contains titanium oxide and/or zinc oxide. For best results, apply sunscreen approximately 30 minutes prior to sun exposure all over your body including the face — yes, you can develop dark spots, black spots, and skin discoloration on your face.
According to an article from the American Academy of Dermatology, applying sunscreen on a daily basis can help prevent new dark spots from developing and keep your skin protected from further sun damage.
Now, we’re not saying to stay in your house for the rest of your life, but instead try to limit your sun exposure. For example, if you go to the beach often, you’ll want to take breaks from the sun (in addition to wearing sunscreen.) Another example would be if you go on a lot of hikes, you’ll want to make sure to find a trail with lots of shade to keep you out of the direct sunlight to prevent the development of sun spots on skin.
Jacobs says some other ways to protect yourself from the sun include staying in the shade, wearing a hat, or using an umbrella.
Take a second to think about your current skincare routine — does it include a Vitamin C serum or another skin lightening treatment? Well, if it doesn’t, then you’ll definitely want to get a discoloration correcting serum like this one if you’re looking for a skin treatment for hyperpigmentation.
“Incorporating a Vitamin C serum into your skincare routine can be beneficial for hyperpigmentation,” says Jacobs. “Additionally, Vitamin C serums can be used to brighten your complexion.”
According to the AAD, some other products you may want to consider to help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation on the face include:
For many people this can be hard, especially if there are pimples that look ready to pop or you just have the tendency to pick your skin. According to Jacobs, “If you have any acne, do not pick at your skin. Picking at your skin can cause excess inflammation and can lead to hyperpigmentation.”
For this tip, all it takes is some self-awareness and will power to keep your hands away from your face and the rest of your body. However, if you have a clinical skin-picking problem, known as dermatillomania, you may want to consider consulting with a mental health professional to deal with that as that may be a bit more difficult to kick on your own.
If you don’t already have an exfoliation and moisturizer routine set up, then you’ll want to consider one as part of your game plan for preventing the development of dark spots on your face and beyond.
“Keeping your skin moisturized and hydrated is key to having overall healthy skin,” says Jacobs. You may even consider using a custom healing cream to aid in the removal and lightening of hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
Ludmann, P. (2022, March 23). How to fade dark spots in darker skin tones. American Academy of Dermatology. Retrieved October 4, 2022, from https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/routine/fade-dark-spots