What are the causes of dark spots?

Remove dark spots on face

Dark Spots on Face

Dark spots on the face are a natural phenomenon but most of the time they become darker and give an ugly look to your face. It is a common problem with most men and women.

Symptoms include hyperpigmentation that ranges from light brown to dark brown. The color of dark spots may also depend on the skin tone of a person. Dark spots vary in size and shape and can develop on any part of the body but are extremely common in areas that are exposed to the Sun, like the back of the hands, shoulders, face, and back.

What are the Causes of Dark Spots?

Dark spots can be caused by the following reasons:

The skin of your face develops dark circles because it is exposed to so many things such as environmental pollution, smoking, exposure to the sun, stress, and lack of sleep. Other causes include hormonal changes, sunburn, injury, etc. People who have fair complexion are more likely to get dark spots than wheatish complexion. These are also known as sun spots, age spots, liver spots, or lentigo. Let us dive deep into these causes.

  1. Sun Damage: Damage caused by Sun is also called sunspots, solar lentigines, or liver spots. They can develop into dark spots on the skin after being exposed to the Sun. Areas of our body that are exposed to the Sun are prone to developing dark spots. These areas are hands, arms, and the face.
  2. Hormonal Changes: Melasma is a kind of skin problem that leads to small dark patches of skin discoloration. Studies have shown that hormonal changes can trigger Melasma.
  3. Side Effects of certain Medications: Some medications can also lead to increased skin pigmentation. The most common medications that lead to dark spots are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, psychotropic drugs, and tetracyclines.
  4. Inflammation: Dark spots can develop due to skin inflammation as well and the reasons include eczema, psoriasis, acne, and other skin injuries.
  5. Wound Healing: Insect bite, burn, cuts, etc may remain for a long time. This is another reason for the appearance of dark spots on the skin but it will eventually fade away with time.
  6. Cosmetic Irritation: The use of cosmetic products that contain harsh chemicals can irritate the skin, causing dark patches to appear on the surface of the skin.
  7. Diabetes: Research shows that even diabetes can cause areas of the skin to become darker.

How to Treat Dark Spots Naturally at Home?

Along with prescribed medications, you can also try out some home remedies to accelerate your healing process.

Niacinamide (vitamin B3) has shown excellent results in clinical trials to treat dark spots on the skin. Many other ingredients like soy, licorice extracts, and mulberry are also effective in treating hyperpigmentation.

Pro Tip: Lemon and apple cider vinegar should not be used directly on inflamed dark spots because these remedies are not backed by clinical studies. Many ingredients also contain mercury or steroids that can cause pimples, rashes, and fragile skin over time. This could make dark spots worse.

How to Prevent Dark Spots?

Dark spots can be prevented by avoiding extensive exposure to Sun and even if you need to step out for some time, always apply your sunscreen lotion before stepping out of your house.

Using products that can block ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide can help in preventing dark spots from coming back.

Products that contain azelaic acid, pomegranate extract, vitamin C, beta carotene, and licorice extract can prevent dark spots as they fight against harmful pollutants and various other agents that cause the appearance of dark spots on the skin.

Medical Treatments for Dark Spots

Laser treatments, chemical extractions, peels, etc are some of the widely used techniques to treat dark spots.

Laser treatment uses concentrated light energy that targets the pigment itself. The patches of dark skin are burned off with this technique. Laser treatment works faster than topical products but there are some side effects of these treatments as well like redness, swelling, scarring, infections, etc.

Chemical exfoliating products imbued with gentle acids that can wash off dead skin cells or the top layer of the skin are also popular among artificial treatments for dark spots. Removing the top layer of the skin can help in reducing the appearance of dark patches and the skin becomes evenly toned as well. Some ingredients like alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), azelaic acid, beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, etc are used in chemical exfoliation.

Take Away

Dark spots on the face (also known as melasma, pigmentation on the face, or solar lentigines) are a result of excess melanin (pigment) on the face and other body parts. Melanin is produced by a small gland found in the middle layer of your skin (dermis). This gland is known as the Melanin-producing gland. This results in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that looks like a dark patch on the skin. It can be treated with OTC medications as well but if you have tried all the natural remedies, then consult your doctor to get proper treatment at the earliest.

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