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What Causes Dark Spots?
July 22, 2016

To have a complexion as flawless as a Disney princess may seem like a fairytale or something only achievable with the help of Pixar or Photoshop.  Unfortunately, factors come into play that can cause us to have uneven skin tones in the form of dark spots or hyperpigmentation. So, what exactly causes us to have imperfect complexions, and most importantly, what can we do about it? Find out below.


The Sun and Environmental Damage

You probably already know by now that protecting your skin against the sun and environmental aggressors, especially during the summer, is vital. The effects of the sun on your skin not only include wrinkles, sun burns, and put you at risk for skin cancer, but the sun creates dark spots on your face. So while a tan may look nice now, once September and October come, you may look in the mirror and notice a more 101 Dalmatian-like complexion.

The solution: Prevention begins with limiting your time in the sun and protecting your skin every day (Watch: skin protection tips) Incorporating skin-brightening skin care with natural brightening ingredients like bellis daisy, licorice extract, hexapeptide-2 and kojic acid into your routine can also help brighten dark spots to create a more even-toned complexion.


Harsh Peels and Over-exfoliating

When it comes to exfoliating your skin it’s important to do it the healthy way. Harsh chemical peel treatments, using exfoliating products at-home that are too aggressive, or over-exfoliating, can damage the skin and destroy the skin’s natural barrier. When this occurs, the skin is left susceptible to free radical damage, which can trigger hyperpigmentation and dark spots.

The solution: When seeing a skin care professional, opt for facial peels that are safe. Understand ingredients used in exfoliating products, particularly acids that benefit your skin, and choose safe facial exfoliants.



If you’ve never experienced a breakout consider yourself lucky. Aside from having to deal with looking in the mirror to see pimples on your face, once the pimple is gone, the nightmare isn’t necessarily over – a brown spot can emerge in the pimple’s place. This is why we say to never pop your pimples, as spots can result from popping!

The solution: Treat pimples with a pimple cream that contains skin-brightening ingredients, like kojic acid, licorice root, and mulberry extracts, that help to prevent brown spots from forming. Additionally, see an esthetician who can treat your acne and make proper recommendations to help reduce the risk of acne marks and, even worse, acne scars, from forming.



An increase in hormones can also lead to dark spots. Cholasma is a common skin condition that refers to dark spots and patches that result from an overproduction of pigment in the skin caused by hormonal changes and sun exposure. During pregnancy this condition is known as melasma which translates to the “mask of pregnancy” but can also result from an increase in estrogen from medications such as birth control pills.

The solution: Time. The discoloration usually begins to disappear once the hormonal trigger is removed from the environment, as in once the baby is born, changing birth control, or stopping hormone replacement therapy. Visiting the spa for a facial for dark spots can help speed up the process.

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What Causes Dark Spots?