Republished with permission from Musely an Evio Community Partner
Many of us know the frustrating feeling of FINALLY having your skin calm down from a breakout after being diligent with your routine, only to be left behind with dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Even when our skin is smooth and pimple-free, having an uneven skin tone can make us want to reach for the cover-up.
But what exactly are dark spots? According to plastic surgeon, Melissa Doft, M.D., she says that “Dark spots or hyperpigmentation are due to the overproduction of melanin in the skin by melanocytes. Hormones—both estrogen and progesterone—can increase the level of melanin; the sun can increase the level of melanin (why we have more dark spots after the summer); and age can increase the size of the melanocytes (why we see dark age spots in older patients),” Other factors, like skin irritation as a result of acne, waxing, and harsh scrubs, can also cause dark spots.
While NO ONE has or will ever have perfect skin, here are some helpful tips from experts to fight those pesky dark spots:
No matter how cloudy it is outside, it’s always important to apply sunscreen every single day. Alan J. Parks, M.D. who is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of DermWarehouse says that, “Dark spots will get darker with sun exposure. Sunscreens, and particularly physical sunblocks that have either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, can block out most of the rays that will darken the dark spots.” So clearly prevention is key when it comes to avoiding hyperpigmentation.
No, I’m not talking about orange juice. Did you know that vitamin C can be used as a topical antioxidant which helps to block free radicals from causing oxidative damage to the skin? Sumayah Jamal, M.D., of Schweiger Dermatology Group says “It also inhibits enzymatic processes that produce melanin in the skin, as such it can help to reduce dark coloration of the skin.” Plus it’s good to know that Vitamin C doesn’t lighten “normal” skin but only targets the problem areas with pigmentation.
While that word might sound scary, it’s actually a lot safer than most people realize. However, besides being extremely effective at reducing dark spots, lasers are also the most expensive method. Dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and director of Skin Specialty Dermatology Fran E. Cook-Bolden, M.D. says that’s because they “use a focused beam of light that has a specific target or chromophore (pigment) to break up and eliminate the pigment particles in the skin. Most dermatologists recommend 1-6 treatments every 3-4 weeks depending on the severity of the hyperpigmentation.
These work extremely well just as long as you don’t mind looking a bit scaley for a couple of days. This treatment essentially removes the upper layers of dead skin, reducing dullness and leaving behind a much glowier complexion. Dr.Jamal explains, “Over time, these treatments can stimulate collagen production, enhance cellular turnover, and reduce the appearance of dark spots.” Dermatologists typically recommend between 3-6 treatments to really see results.
Dermatologists have been using tretinoin to keep their skin youthful for years. Products containing tretinoin will overturn overexposed skin cells, giving you smoother skin with fewer wrinkles and an evener skin tone overall.