Now that your tan has faded, you may be noticing hyperpigmentation more than ever. Whether from sun exposure, breakouts, or other issues, it can feel like your skin tone is never going to even out. But there is light—or at least, balanced skin—at the end of the tunnel.
Want to diminish the appearance of dark spots? Here’s what you should (and shouldn’t!) do.
- Start with prevention: I know when your in the throes of dark spots now the last thing you want to do is think about more of them in the future. But what you’re seeing didn’t happen overnight. So be sure to prevent more hyperpigmentation by using an SPF every day—even when it’s cold outside. If your skin is acne-prone, try an elimination diet (with the aid of your primary care physician), and even try removing skincare items one by one to see if any of those may be the culprits. Identifying the cause of dark spots is the first step in preventing them.
- Do deep cleaning: And by deep cleaning, we don’t mean making your face so raw and red that the dark spots look light. We mean using a skin-cleansing brush a few times per week to help slough off dead skin cells. This is also helpful in preparing the skin to absorb treatments that can speed the healing process.
- Address trouble spots: Patience is key in dealing with dark spots, but products such as those containing retinoids can speed cell turnover, leading to a quicker healing and fading (note: fading is not the same as skin lightening which can be damaging). Vitamin A, the source of retinoids, can also mean more collagen production, which evens out skin tone, reduces the appearance of fine lines, and makes you look more youthful. But retinoids can be drying and definitely require the use of sunscreen as skin becomes more sensitive. Look for products that specifically address dark spots (with natural ingredients, of course), and use as directed to help reduce their appearance.
- Don’t pick! Zits are a primary cause for dark spots and while they can be irritating, picking at them can make matters much, much worse and slow the healing process instead of speeding it up. Tie a string around your finger or make a Pick Jar you have to put a quarter in every time you feel like clawing at your skin to keep you from doing it.