Dark spots, or hyperpigmentation, are a common bugbear for men and women alike, since it lends the face an uneven or dull look that is difficult to completely cover. These spots are caused by sun exposure, appearing mainly in the parts of the body that are frequently in the sun – including the cheeks, forehead, and upper lip. Melasma, which occurs when larger patches of dark spots occur on the face, appears in up to 15% of pregnant women and up to 25% of women taking oral contraception. Hyperpigmentation can additionally be caused by everything from acne scarring to skin injuries. How can you effectively “get rid of this skin issue” and are there any natural remedies available?
If you have a few spots and you would like to try a natural remedy, making your own pumpkin mask may be a good place to start. Just mix one tablespoon of pumpkin puree, one teaspoon each of honey and lemon juice, and one teaspoon of vitamin E oil. Apply onto your skin and leave for around 30 minutes, rinsing it off afterwards. The bleaching ingredient in this concoction is lemon, but pumpkin will ensure skin remains soft and smooth after application. Another simple solution is to wear a physical sunscreen when heading outdoors. Chemical sunscreens are more absorbable, but physical sunscreens or blocks actually repel UV rays rather than absorbing them. Their effect is similar to when you wear a hat or clothing; the sun never actually reaches your skin.
Chemical Peels for a Deeper Effect
If you have larger areas of hyperpigmentation, one effective solution is to effectively remove the affected layer of skin via a chemical peel. Powerful exfoliants like Alpha Hydroxy Acids are used to enhance skin shedding. Although home peels exist, the most effective ones for hyperpigmentation are carried out as outpatient procedures at a plastic surgeon’s office. The doctor or nurse may recommend a series of peels for full effect. Chemical peels cause noticeable reddening and peeling/flaking off of skin, so consult your doctor about the appropriate downtime and make sure to opt for the treatment when you can take a few days off afterwards.
Zapping Away Dark Spots with Laser
Another highly effective path to smoother skin is laser therapy, which uses high-energy light beams to shatter pigment deposits under skin. One of the best things about laser is how fast it is: with just a few zaps of an IPL type laser, affected skin turns dark and dead skin cells fall off. Although there are many laser treatments available, one that is particularly excellent for large areas of hyperpigmentation is fractional laser resurfacing, which creates tiny micro-injuries in order to stimulate skin regeneration. Not only does Fractional laser resurfacing eliminate dark spots, but it also eliminates fine lines and gives skin a significantly more youthful appearance. Downtime for fractional laser treatments can be as short as four days; skin will be slightly red and swollen for this time, and you should avoid the sun if possible.
Dark spots can be difficult to cover and can wrest from your skin’s natural light and smoothness. Luckily, there are many treatments available – from simple antioxidant masks right through to powerful lasers. If hyperpigmentation is a problem, try a few natural remedies out and if the problem persists, see your dermatologist or plastic surgeon for recommended laser treatments.