People, especially those with deeper skin tones, often struggle with dark spots or patches on their skin which can appear due to a variety of reasons. Not everyone gets them, but for those that do, dark spots on the face, chest, hands or elsewhere on the body can be seriously frustrating to deal with as they don’t go away on their own and sometimes can’t be covered by the average concealer.
Sometimes known as sun spots, liver spots, or age spots, dark spots are caused by hyper pigmentation, an overproduction or inappropriate deposition of melanin (the pigment responsible for giving your skin its natural color). They often appear on the face, hands, arms, and other areas frequently exposed to the sun. Dark spots can form as a result of years of exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. In people with fair skin, overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays are the leading cause of dark spots.
Although they sometimes resemble moles and other growths associated with skin cancer, dark spots are often harmless and don’t need to be treated. If you do want to get them removed, skin-lightening products are a popular option, and strategies such as chemical peels and laser therapy are occasionally recommended, there’s some concern, however, about the safety of certain skin-lightening products. In this article, we look at home remedies and medical treatments for dark spots on black skin.
How to permanently clear dark spots
Another naturally skin-brightening item you may already have in your home is yogurt, which works to fade dark spots by exfoliating the skin. Like the chemically exfoliating properties found in papaya, yogurt breaks down dead skin cells thanks to lactic acid, which is found naturally in dairy products. Using a yogurt with cow’s milk could be effective in calming the skin, since it has lactic acid. Lactic acid is an AHA, which improves discoloration and age spots. This acid is gentler on the skin than other chemical exfoliants. Since it is derived from dairy, it helps to correct pH imbalances. It works to improve tone, texture, and reduces redness.
Yogurt can be applied to clean skin alone or mixed with additional ingredients known to improve the skin’s health like honey which is antibacterial and great for acne-prone complexions. Adding oatmeal to a yogurt mask will help slough and soothe dry skin, just be sure to rinse this mask away carefully, as not to tear or irritate the skin.
2. Aloe vera gel:
The gel extracted from aloe vera leaves can help repair, revitalize, hydrate, and nourish your skin, which explains its widespread use in beauty products and remedies. Its chief compound is aloe which is known to reduce dark spots, hyper pigmentation, and other blemishes as observed in some small-scale studies, but more rigorous research is needed to conclusively establish these claims.
In any case, aloe gel and aloe-based products are extremely gentle on the skin and are unlikely to produce any adverse side effects, so there is no harm in giving them a try.
3. Eat healthy:
What you eat is bound to reflect on your physical health and skin appearance.
Excessive fat intake is known to induce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body which can inhibit natural skin healing and accelerate skin aging. A diet rich in antioxidants has the opposite effect as it helps restrict free-radical activity which is a major source of skin damage and spot formation.
Acne-prone people should follow a low-glycemic diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables, steel-cut oats, and beans to prevent frequent breakouts that can leave behind spots.
Organic turmeric powder is a great product for evening skin tone. In India, this spice is often used as part of a beauty ritual for brides-to-be. A mask made of chickpea flour, milk, and turmeric is applied to the face of the bride before her wedding to give her healthy, glowing skin. Turmeric can also be mixed with honey to create a mask that will bleach spots and heal existing acne. Simply mix ingredients until they form a paste and leave on for 15-20 minutes.
5. Exfoliate with papaya:
Papaya has fruit acids known as alpha-hydroxyl acids, which is a chemical exfoliant. AHAs are used for dry skin and to anti-age, and works to improve skin by removing the top layers of the skin through weakening the lipids that bond them together, thus removing dull and dead skin cells and revealing healthy skin cells. It is very effective in breaking down skin cells and also increasing collagen production because of the removal of dead particles. Papaya specifically will help to brighten and give the skin a youthful radiance. To treat your dark spots with papaya, simply mash ripe papaya in a bowl and apply as a mask to clean skin. When removing the mask, you can also use gentle, circular motions for a bit of added exfoliation to that dead top layer of skin cells.
6. Almond oil:
Another skin-strengthening ingredient that’s used both in the kitchen and on the complexion is sweet almond oil, which is used to treat discolorations in the skin. However, the almond oil commonly used to cook isn’t quite the same as that used on the skin, which is often fortified with additional vitamins and minerals. The presence of Vitamin E and niacin help with hyper pigmentation and improving skin tone, she says. Because sweet almond oil is non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores) you can add it to your nightly routine as a makeup remover or moisturizer to help protect the skin barrier.
Since dark spots are sometimes similar in appearance to cancerous growths, it’s crucial to consult your physician if you experience any changes in your skin (such as an increase in the size of a dark spot). You should also seek medical attention. Other causes for concern include dark spots with a combination of colors, as well as dark spots accompanied by such symptoms as bleeding, itching, and/or redness.
It can be frustrating to see dark spots on your face and you may be tempted to try skin creams and home remedies to fade them, but keep in mind that just because an ingredient is natural and/or plant-sourced doesn’t mean it’s safe for you.
While some of the above ingredients are readily available in skin care products, further research is needed on many natural substances to see if they are effective for dark spots.