DARK SPOTS ON SKIN: CAUSES & PREVENTION
Dark spots on face are a common issue that effects everyone. Find out what causes them, as well as how to get rid of dark spots in a daily skincare regime.
Dark spots on the face are a common skin concern that can be experienced by people of all skin tones and skin types. Whether your dark spots are caused by acne-prone skin, UV exposure or something else, discolouration on the face is often an unwanted addition to our complexions.
Read on for a guide to how to get rid of dark spots, curated by the Kiehl’s skincare experts. We’ll also walk you through a specially designed skincare routine consisting of products for dark spots from our Clearly Corrective range.
WHAT ARE DARK SPOTS?
Dark spots can show up anywhere on the skin, although they are more common on areas of skin that tend to be exposed to ultraviolet light, such as the neck, hands and face.
These spots can vary in appearance depending on your skin type and the underlying cause. Most dark spots range in colour from light brown to very dark brown. Some dark spots can also look blue or grey.
Dark spots of various kinds can occur throughout the lifespan. However, they are more common with age which is why certain kinds of dark spots are colloquially known as ‘age spots’.
WHAT CAUSES DARK SPOTS ON THE FACE?
If you’re experiencing dark spots, identifying the cause(s) will help inform your preventative and corrective skincare routine. The ultimate cause of dark spots on the face is irritated or damaged skin. When skin is irritated or damaged in some way, it can be triggered to produce an excess of melanin, the pigment that colours our skin.
There are two main types of skin damage that can cause dark spots: irritation or physical skin damage and UV damage caused by prolonged sun exposure.
WHAT IS HYPERPIGMENTATION AND POST INFLAMMATORY HYPERPIGMENTATION?
When dark spots are caused by skin damage or irritation, they’re known as hyperpigmentation. This term refers to a common skin condition where skin becomes discoloured usually after becoming inflamed. For example, people with acne-prone skin often also experience darker skin where they have healed acne scars.
Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) is discolouration that remains on the skin after underlying skin events occur. This can be seen through dermatitis, insect bites and skin infections. Incorrect extraction methods of comedones and acne can also lead to PIH. The personal extraction of comedones is not normally recommended as it can cause trauma to the skin.
Post Inflammatory pigmentation (PIH) can also create a higher risk for Fitzpatrick skin concerns (3-6). This can cause the skin to produce a gray appearance at the site of injury.
How does sun exposure cause dark spots?
In the same way that sun exposure can cause tanning, skin damage from UV radiation can also lead to uneven dark spots. In addition to causing sunburn and fine lines, sun exposure can deepen existing dark spots and cause new ones.
PREVENTATIVE TIPS FOR DARK SPOTS
Even if you’re not currently experiencing dark spots, there are some steps you can take to prevent this skin concern from emerging. These measures also help prevent existing dark spots from deepening.
For dark spots associated with acne-prone skin, managing blemishes is the key to prevention. Apply targeted skincare products to blemishes as soon as you notice them and avoid popping, picking or scratching at all costs. Agitating your skin increases the chance of dark marks after the blemish has cleared.
For dark spots linked to the sun, we recommend wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen every single day, including overcast days. This preventative measure will also reduce your risk of skin cancer and minimise fine lines.
If you’re looking to create a skincare routine that will help prevent dark spots, it’s all in the ingredients list. We recommend looking for vitamin or botanical ingredients with skin brightening properties like niacinamide, peony flower and black currant oil. Liquorice root extract and vitamin C are also known for their ability to help even out your complexion. Another recommended ingredient to add to your routine is vitamin A, which remains a melanogenesis regulator.
HOW TO GET RID OF DARK SPOTS ON THE FACE
Still wondering how to remove dark spots on the face? While it might not be possible to completely erase intense discolouration, skincare for dark spots can create impressive results.
Follow our specifically tailored skincare routine to fight uneven skin tone and achieve a bright, blemish-free complexion.
CLEARLY CORRECTIVE BRIGHTENING & EXFOLIATING DAILY CLEANSER
Start your daily routine with a gentle exfoliating face wash like our Clearly Corrective Brightening & Exfoliating Daily Cleanser. This cleanser is enriched with botanical peony flower extract to efficiently remove impurities while brightening your complexion.
CLEARLY CORRECTIVE BRIGHTENING & SOOTHING TREATMENT WATER
Once your skin is free of dirt, makeup and impurities, follow up with our comforting Clearly Corrective Brightening & Soothing Treatment Water. This hydrating toner is infused with Liquorice Root and Illuminating Minerals to visible brighten dull or uneven complexions.
CLEARLY CORRECTIVE DARK SPOT SOLUTION
Next, intensely target existing dark spots with our Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution. This highly effective dark spot remover provides deep, visible correction and clarity through the power of Activated C, a potent form of vitamin C. White Birch and Peony extracts make this a multifaceted dark spot corrector serum.
CLEARLY CORRECTIVE BRIGHTENING & SMOOTHING MOISTURE TREATMENT
Seal in some hydration with our Clearly Corrective Brightening & Smoothing Moisture Treatment. Gently massage this corrective moisturiser into your face and neck and let the glycolic acid gently resurface your skin.
Lastly, always complete your skincare routine with a broad-spectrum SPF product. Including sunscreen in your daily routine will help break the cycle of new or darkening spots.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE. Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection so wear protective clothing and seek shade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, towelling and perspiring in accordance with directions.
Now that you’re fully informed on the topic of how to fade dark spots on the face, it’s time to further expand your skincare knowledge. Learn how to target fine lines and wrinkles, another result of UV exposure. Read our article How Retinol Works in Anti Ageing Skincare.