When you’re out soaking in the sun, you tend to forget about the rays of sunshine beating down on our skin. The big red ball of fire in the sky is a great source of Vitamin D for our bodies, but sometimes we tend to go overboard. Sooner or later, these dull-colored spots begin to appear on your face when washing up in the morning and you wonder just how they got ther
. Well, good news for the sun is that it’s not the only cause of dark spots, which we will dive into deeper. In other good news, dark spots typically don’t stand a chance against the use of natural skin care products used at your own convenience, and sometimes without the need for medical assistance. Right on!
What causes dark spots on my skin?
Dark spots typically have different names, depending on their cause – some popular ones are hyperpigmentation, age spots, solar lentigines, or liver spots. They are usually created in a process called hyperpigmentation, when an area of the skin forms excess melanin, which is the pigment responsible for bronzing of the skin after it is exposed to sunlight.
With enough sun exposure over time, these sometimes light brown and dark spots of all sizes will begin to appear on the skin in a typically oval shape. Even though sun exposure is not a main cause, large bouts of time spent under the sun can have harmful effects on the skin. But, you already knew that. To put it in a different way, your melanin can go on overdrive.
Lesser-known causes of dark spots
Some other lesser-known causes of dark spots on the face include hormonal imbalances, scrubbing the skin too hard, post-acne skin stress, and even pollution. A study conducted in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology linked “traffic-related air pollution to facial dark spots.” Assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University, David Bank, M.D., says, “the sun isn’t the only villain, now that we know how damaging pollution really is.” Dr. Bank throws us a curveball when he says that light from light bulbs can also cause an increase in pigment production, much like UV light. Dim those lights, people.
Let’s not get dark spots confused with sun spots, though. What’s the difference? Well, sun spots and dark spots can both be caused by the sun, but the difference lies in the root of the cause. As mentioned earlier, dark spots have different causes other than the sun. You want to be careful in discovering the cause of your dark spots.
If you’re experiencing sudden discoloration and dark spots on your face, it might be best to consult with your dermatologist. Sometimes, it can be a skin condition you had no idea about, like Melasma (skin condition caused during pregnancy) or Erythromelanosis follicularis – if you can even read that one fast enough. Or even a form of skin cancer, yikes!
SIMPLE STEPS TO PREVENT AND TREAT DARK SPOTS
First and foremost, if you are wondering whether dark spots are painful, they are not. Phew! On another note, some people resort to cosmetic means of removing dark spots, which can possibly cause some pain. Laser treatments and chemical peels are common options, but the risk of damaging your skin further is just not worth it, from a financial and health standpoint.
Let’s keep it simple and start off with using a natural sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every time you go out in the sun. Dr. Howard Sobel, a New York-based dermatologist gives sunscreen the thumbs up for being an essential and effective barrier against the formation of dark spots. It is primarily the active ingredients in sunscreen – Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide – that provide a natural SPF.
According to Deanne Mraz-Robinson, M.D., they are both natural minerals known for blocking the sun’s radiation by forming a barrier on your skin’s surface. You may also want to adopt a hat when entering the great outdoors.
Consult with your kitchen cabinets
If you’re the DIY type, you might want to consider some natural remedies right in your kitchen. For example, squeezing a fresh lemon and applying the juice to your dark spot with a cotton on a daily basis can help reduce its appearance. The acid in lemon juice works as an organic “bleaching” agent to fade them out. Plus, it’s a really affordable and easy method of brightening your skin naturally. Bet you didn’t see this next one coming, but a horseradish and vinegar combo is also a powerful formula against dark spots.
Horseradish contains vitamin C, which helps to slow the production of melanin. Mix horseradish with just a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar, which is naturally acidic, and it becomes an excellent exfoliating compound and also removes dead skin cells with ease. But, make sure that you do not use vinegar alone as it can burn your skin. There have been several accounts of people using apple cider vinegar on the skin, such as this one, and it’s not pretty. As long as it’s diluted with another ingredient, you should be fine!
Stop touching your face
This one’s a tough one, but stop picking at your blemishes! The acne aftermath can be ugly, with dark spots forming around once-touched acne blemishes. Picking at blemishes can irritate the skin and cause redness by forcing the bacteria deeper into the skin, not to mention pesky acne scars.
Acne scars are basically traumatic blows to the skin caused by excessive popping and picking, which actually damages your skin and prolongs the process of your skin’s healing. Simple solution: when you see that whitehead popping out, just ignore it. Be patient and keep your hands at bay. Touch your face only if you have the next best thing for your dark spots, like our next point.
Use plant-based essential oils
Yes! Natural is always better. Essential oils contain natural, plant-based compounds that work to heal the skin on a deeper level. Plant-based oils provide essential nutrients, hydration, vitamins and minerals to nourish and protect the skin. Using essential oils to treat scars and dark spots is a primal option that carries a whole range of other benefits for your skin, when diluted with carrier oils, of course.
It is very important to dilute essential oils with carrier oils as essential oils are very potent and can do damage to skin if not used properly. What matters is that they are safe for use on skin and will cause mild irritation, if any. Rosehip Seed oil is a great example, which is known for improving condition of the skin. Another is Frankincense, which helps soothe and heal the skin, and may promote the growth of new skin cells. Check out this oil glossary to learn more about benefits of each essential oil.
Natural brightening face serum is your new best friend
Brighten your spots using a natural brightening serum, also known as the “dark spot corrector.” Serums are essential for inhibiting melanin production. Brightening serums that include ingredients like vitamin C, kojic acid and retinol are dermatologist-recommended choices. Vitamin C supports the formation of healthy collagen, which is vital for skin elasticity, while kojic acid acts as an antibacterial and skin-brightening agent. Retinol is everywhere and can be found in most beauty products like serums and creams as a magical anti-aging and lightening ingredient.
Retinol does not irritate the skin and can help shrink pores and increase skin regeneration. Although, dermatologist Dr. Sejal Shah, MD, says that like other means of diminishing dark spots, many lightening agents can potentially “irritate the skin, leading to redness, flaking, dryness, or even itchy or burning sensations.” As mentioned, certain ingredients found in skin care products can have a natural “bleaching” affect, but depending on what you’re using, they can cause some serious side effects. For instance, women with darker skin tones may need to be extra careful because they can experience excess peeling of the skin, which can lead to further hyperpigmentation or burn the skin.
Way of Will’s Brightening Serum is all-natural and healthy for the skin
For an all-natural dark spot remedy in one, Way of Will’s essential oil-based Brightening Serum comes packed with pure-grade essential oils and vitamins A and C, which help brighten, tone and revitalize skin complexion. It already includes Rosehip Seed oil, so you’re knocking out two birds with one stone and getting double the skin health benefits. It won’t irritate the skin like other methods and is easy to use in the comfort of your own home.
To dig deeper into the ingredient list, the Brightening Serum is made with 100% pure-grade essential oils. With a base of Jojoba, Grapeseed, and Camellia oils, these oils are great for treating premature aging. Oryza Sativa oil filters the sun’s harmful rays, while Black Currant oil is packed with vitamins and minerals, and contains the ultimate amount of vitamin C essential for collagen formation. Way of Will also adds in Sea Buckthorn oil into the mix, which acts as a natural skin healer and nourishes skin tissues. Take a sneak peek at the other thoughtfully-chosen ingredients in Way of Will’s Brightening Serum!
Take care of your skin before it’s too late
Lastly, pay a visit to your dermatologist. You should stay up to date regarding your skin’s condition if you’re experiencing issue or not. Dark spots can be our worst enemy, but it’s never too late to start taking care of them now. Taking simple measures like wearing sunscreen every day and using a natural brightening serum can hold your skin back from the unwanted discoloration that occurs over time.