Black spots on your skin aren’t normally a serious medical condition and some of them get cleared away even without treatment. Hardly anyone, however, likes living with black spots, especially when they occur in some highly visible places, like on the face or the neck. There are many home remedies that may help you speed up the process of healing dark spots so that you can enjoy even-toned and younger-looking skin again. The first step is to find out what causes the dark spots on your skin and – if possible – eliminate that problem.
Why do i have black spots
Dark spots occur due to hyper-pigmentation, which is caused by the inflated level of melanin, the hormone that is responsible for the colour of your skin and for your tan. When the level of melanin is balanced in the skin and you expose your skin to the sun, your skin turns gold or light brown. However, if there are some abnormalities, the skin gets darker in certain areas where melanin accumulates. It may happen due to skin damage (e.g acne, burns or abrasive skin treatments), hormonal changes (e.g related to age, pregnancy, menopause, thyroid dysfunction or the use of contraceptive pills), excessive tanning or the use of photosensitizing drugs. If your skin has a tendency for hyper-pigmentation, always inform your doctor about it when you get some medicines prescribed. If possible, he will choose an alternative that will not affect your skin.
Home remedies for black spots
Depending on the reason that causes your dark spots, they may be a problem that affects only the superficial layers of your skin – in which case home treatment will be sufficient – or some deeper layers, which are more difficult to penetrate and will need more time to heal. In both cases, you can get visible results by trying some of these simple home remedies for dark spots.
When you exfoliate the skin, you remove the top layer of dead skin cells. If the discoloration has appeared only recently, chances are that it’s contained within the layers that are relatively easily accessible and exfoliation will give you some really good results. You can prepare a homemade scrub by mixing one tablespoon of sugar with two tablespoons of olive oil. Apply the mixture to the dark spots on your skin and perform a gentle massage with circular motions. Sugar can be replaced with ground raw almonds or oats.
You can also consider buying an electric face brush that cleanses and exfoliates the skin through sonic vibrations. It’s gentle on the skin, cleanses and exfoliates it plus minimises the pores significantly.
Citrus juice has been used for centuries to brighten the skin thanks to the fact that it contains a high level of vitamin C, which is a natural exfoliator. You can use the juice on its own by soaking a cotton bud in freshly squeezed lemon, lime or orange juice and dabbing it onto your skin. Leave it on for 20 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water. For best results, repeat the treatment daily.
You can also make a face mask of two teaspoons of honey and the juice of half a lemon. Mix the ingredients well, put the mask on the skin and leave it on for 30 minutes. Honey nourishes the skin and leaves it soft and smooth. It’s also very gentle on your skin so you can use this mask as often as you wish.
If possible, choose organic products for your home skin treatments. This way you will avoid any potential toxins that non-organic fruits and honey might contain.
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain which helps remove dead skin cells, therefore, is a natural exfoliator. Papaya mask is very easy to make. All you need to do is peel half a small papaya, remove the seeds and mash it with a fork or blend it until it becomes a smooth paste. Apply the mask to the dark spots or the whole face and leave it on for half an hour. Papaya contains a high level of vitamin E so it additionally stimulates the skin regeneration. Rinse the mask off with warm water and apply a moisturiser to the treated area.
As we mentioned above, vitamin E boosts the skin rejuvenation process. It works best when you combine vitamin E topical treatment with a diet rich in sunflower seeds, dried apricots, nuts, almonds and peanuts. You can also buy vitamin E in capsules or vitamin E oil. Massage the oil onto the dark spots before bedtime and let it work overnight. This treatment gives fast and long-lasting effect.
Everybody knows about the salutary effect aloe vera has on our skin. It soothes, nourishes and rejuvenates the skin as well as helps brighten the skin. You can either buy aloe vera gel in a drugstore or use aloe vera pulp straight from the plant. Break one leaf, squeeze the pulp out and apply it on the dark spots. You can leave it on for as long as you wish, but don’t rinse it off before 30 minutes.
Another home remedy that does wonders on your black spots is cucumber puree. Grate one cucumber, add one tablespoon of milk and a few drops of lime. Apply the puree on your skin and leave it on for 15-20 minutes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water. This mask exfoliates, rejuvenates and nourishes the skin and can be used on all kinds of skin.
If you have oily skin and suffer from dark spots, you should try to incorporate buttermilk in your skincare routine. Twice a week apply buttermilk on the dark spots, leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse. The lactic acid from buttermilk removes dead skin cells and brightens the skin. You can also make a face mask of half a cup of buttermilk, two tablespoons of ground oats and a few drops of lime and lemon juice. This mask, when applied 2-3 times a week for 20 minutes, removes the excess oil from the skin and helps regulate the level of sebum.
Grapes and apples
Both grapes and apples contain various vitamins and acids that exfoliate, brighten and nourish the skin. To make a grape and apple paste, cut half an apple into small pieces and blend it with 4-5 medium sized grapes. Do not peel the fruits as the highest concentration of precious nutrients is just below the skin. If the paste comes out too runny, you can add half a teaspoon of oats. If it’s too thick, add a few drops of lime juice. Apply the mask on your face and leave it on for 20 minutes. If you have dry skin, you shouldn’t use this mixture more than two times a week as the acids may dry and irritate your skin.
Tomatoes are like large pills packed with vitamins and nutrients. If you want to enjoy even-toned, rejuvenated skin for a long time, you should increase the amount of tomatoes in your diet. To use tomatoes topically, blend one tomato and apply it to your skin three to four times a week. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes, rinse off with lukewarm water and finish the treatment off with a gentle moisturiser, preferably based on aloe vera.
We know that onion doesn’t necessarily smell like an expensive spa product, but red onion works miracles on the skin. Just blend it and put it on the black spots to let the acid from the vegetable reduce the discolouration. Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse it off. Make sure it doesn’t get into your eyes as it may cause irritation. This treatment is obviously not recommended for those who cry like babies when they cut onion.
Pharmaceutical and medical treatments
If you’ve tried it all and none of the home remedies brought satisfactory results after two months of regular treatments, it means that the hyper-pigmentation is contained in deeper layer of the skin and you might need to either take medicines that will help you break the accumulated melatonin or undergo a special treatment aimed at deep skin abrasion and rejuvenation.
There are many creams that contain either alpha-hydroxy, beta-hydroxy acids or retinoids. All of them penetrate the skin, remove its top layer of dead cells and enhance the regeneration of the dermis. They are available only by prescription so you need to speak with the doctor before you start using them. Remember that during the treatment with this type of creams you should avoid exposure to the sun and wear minimum SPF 30 sunscreen every day. In case of retinoids treatment you also have to be extra careful to not get pregnant because they can severely impair the foetus development.
The ingredients of the creams mentioned before are also used in high concentration in some chemical peeling treatments. Deep chemical peeling can be performed only in cosmetology clinics as some treatments aimed at very profound skin penetration or wrinkles correction are performed under anaesthesia.
A less invasive, but more time-consuming procedure is microdermabrasion. It’s performed in many beauty salons as it’s a relatively simple treatment in which tiny crystals are used to physically exfoliate the top surface of the skin. To achieve visible results you need to repeat the treatment 3-4 times or more, with 2-week breaks between the session. The epidermis normally takes 3 weeks to regenerate so the following session needs to be repeated before the end of the regeneration cycle in order to have an effect on the deeper layers of the epidermis. It is vital that you use a good sunscreen during the treatment and three to four weeks after it’s finished. Failing to do so will make you prone to more hyperpigmentation.
IPL or Intense Pulse Light uses a beam of light focused on the dark spot to break up the concentration of melanin and boost the skin regeneration. The skin cells affected by hyperpigmentation absorb the light, disintegrate and get absorbed by the body, then flushed out. Laser treatment is quite expensive and may be slightly painful, depending on the zone where you need the procedure to be performed, but it guarantees good, permanent results. When you check the price of a laser treatment in a beauty salon, remember that stronger discoloration normally requires 4-5 sessions before it comes off. IPL is, however, the only quick and effective method to get rid of older dark spots that have been visible on the skin for more than 18 months.
How to avoid black spots
If you have never had a problem of skin discolouration or just recently finished a long-lasting or costly treatment aimed at brightening the skin, you must follow some basic rules that will let you maintain the skin even-toned.
No matter whether it’s a sunny day or a gloomy winter morning, always put sunscreen on the areas of the skin that get exposed to the UV radiation, i.e on your face, neck, cleavage and hands. Sunscreen protects you from skin discoloration and premature ageing. SPF 15 is the minimum level of protection your daily cream should guarantee.