4 ways to get rid of dark spots on your skin

How can you get rid of dark spots on your skin? There are four main methods for dealing with the cosmetic aspect of dark spots.

4 ways to get rid of dark spots on your skin

Age spots

Age spots—also called liver spots or sun spots—can start to appear on the face and hands at around age 40.

  • They are usually a sign of sun-damaged skin and are caused by repeated exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
  • The spots look brownish because of deposits of melanin in the skin cells; melanin is the pigment that colours the skin.

1. Depigmentation creams

Applying an over-the-counter depigmentation cream morning and evening for about two months can significantly reduce the appearance of your spots.

  • The creams work to reduce melanin production and exfoliate the skin to promote cell renewal.
  • Higher dosage prescription creams can be obtained from a dermatologist.

2. Laser treatments

One or two laser treatments are sometimes enough to lighten age spots.

  • The heat of the laser removes the surface layer of the skin, allowing new, healthy skin cells to replace it.
  • The skin looks smooth and unmarked after a few days’ healing.

3. Chemical peeling

The application of glycolic or salicylic acid removes the surface layers of the skin.

  • New skin cells are regenerated, leaving the skin looking fresh and new.

4. Cryotherapy

This technique involves the freezing of the pigmented area with liquid nitrogen.

  • The surface cells are destroyed and the skin exfoliates.
  • Laser treatments, chemical peeling and cryotherapy should always be performed by a dermatologist.

The different kinds of spots

Besides regular sun freckles, there are three main types of spots:

  • Lentigo. Although often referred to as age spots, lentigo is not always caused by the aging of the skin. When these spots, which look like large freckles, are the result of too much sun exposure, it is called solar lentigo.
  • Melasma. This pigmentation is caused by a hormonal imbalance that can occur during pregnancy or when taking the contraceptive pill. When the dark patches appear around the mouth, forehead, cheeks and temples it is called chloasma, or the “mask of pregnancy.”
  • Seborrheic keratosis. This non-cancerous skin pigmentation can resemble a large, flat mole. It is often hereditary and occurs with greater frequency beginning in middle age.

How to prevent spots

Knowing how to get rid of dark spots is great, but learning to prevent them is even better. As most dark spots on the skin are caused by sunlight, the best way to prevent them is to protect yourself from the sun.

  • Don’t go out without sunscreen, wear a wide-brimmed hat and avoid being in direct sunlight between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Some anti-aging skincare products are also designed to prevent spots.

If you’d like to learn more about how to get rid of dark spots on your skin, ask your dermatologist or cosmetician.

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