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Clinical skincare for diverse skin tones
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Clinical skincare for diverse skin tones
Free shipping is back! No minimum! Domestic orders only.   Learn More

6 Ways to Get Rid of Dark Spots On Your Face

While we’re a big fan of a starry face full of freckles or an uber-chic beauty mark, we have to admit, one of the most aggravating things that can appear on your skin is dark spots and spots. They’re usually harmless, but when you’re a queen when it comes to skincare, it’s frustrating to have any kind of blemish to your ideal complexion.

Whether your dark spots are spots, age marks or something else, there are many ways to address and treat your dark mark concerns.

Can You Prevent Dark Marks?

The answer is, annoyingly, yes and no! It’s important to realize that whether you haven’t missed a day of skincare since you were thirteen or barely remember to wash your face, there are so many factors that contribute to the look and feel of our skin—including our environment and our genes—that sometimes… things just happen.

That said, the best thing you can do to avoid dark spots and marks on your face is to wear sunscreen. Daily application of our ShineBlock™ Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30 if you’re worried about more than just the sun’s shine as it will help defend your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Don’t skimp on cloudy or rainy days, either—just because you can’t see the sun doesn’t mean the sun can’t see you. In addition to helping to prevent premature signs of aging, wearing SPF will help protect any spots or marks you do have from darkening and undoing any work you’ve done to try to fade them.

1. Tranexamic Acid

Tranexamic Acid is a type of acid that can help fade discoloration, brighten skin overall and reduce the appearance of pesky acne spots. If you have dark spots, Tranexamic Acid can be a holy grail addition to your skincare routine. It works well on its own, but it also pairs well with similar skin saviors like Vitamin C, Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid.

If you haven’t heard of Tranexamic Acid before, you might recognize the name hydroquinone instead. Hydroquinone is a topical fading ingredient that can help hyperpigmentation or other discoloration caused by scarring or aging.

Tranexamic Acid has a similar bevy of benefits to Hydroquinone, with less of a risk of negative side effects, like skin irritation, dryness and swelling. On the plus side, Tranexamic Acid can be used by pregnant or nursing women.

Because of this, it’s a great call if you’re looking to lighten dark spots but have sensitive skin. It does tend to have slightly less intense results than Hydroquinone, however, since it pairs so well with other products like Retinol and Vitamin C serums, there are lots of options to get the results you want.

Our Advanced Even Tone Day and Night Treatment boasts Tranexamic Acid and Niacinamide, which promotes skin health and skin-brightening Bakuchiol, a gentle, plant-based alternative to Retinol. Because Tranexamic Acid is more gentle on your skin, you can use this product in the morning and at night, too.

2. Retinoids and Retinols

Retinoids are a time-honored favorite for many reasons! Retinoids include Retinoic Acid.

Retinoic Acid can help speed up the cell turnover of your skin, which leads to an exfoliating effect, and helps to encourage healthy, new skin growth. No matter the cause of your dark spots or spots, Retinoids are a great solution.

Our Retinol Rapid Repair and Dark Spot Treatment works wonders not just on dark spots and uneven skin tone but also on other skincare concerns, including aging skin and rough texture. It’s important to keep up with your moisturizing when you use Retinol or Retinoid, as they can be drying.

We’d also recommend starting slow! If your skin isn’t used to Retinol and Retinoids, start using it a couple of nights a week before working up to using it more frequently if you’d like to intensify your results.

Remember, retinol can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays and ultimately decrease its efficacy. Be sure to only use retinol at night and apply a daily broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen throughout the day.

3. Bakuchiol

If you prefer something a little more gentle than Retinol or Retinoids, Bakuchiol is a great option.

Bakuchiol utilizes the same receptors as Retinol but is entirely plant-based, so it’s easy to see why it’s getting a reputation for being a natural alternative to Retinol. It’s not as harsh on your skin either, so if you’ve had bad reactions to Retinol or Retinoids in the past but are still looking for a way to improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation, Bakuchiol is a great option.

If you’re looking to make the switch (sorry, Retinol—it’s not you, it’s us), try swapping out your nightly Retinol or Retinoid for our gentler, but similarly effective, Reti-Glow Gentle Resurfacing Night Oil .

4. Chemical Exfoliants

Chemical exfoliants are the solution to all kinds of skin-related woes! If you’re struggling to improve the appearance of dark spots, they might be the solution for that, too.

Unlike physical exfoliants, which help to stimulate cell growth and resurface your skin by physically scrubbing away the outer layers of your skin, abrasive, chemical exfoliants do the same but go deeper by using acids to remove dead skin cells.

The type and concentration of chemical exfoliant for you might be better left as a conversation between you and your dermatologist, but if you’re going to experiment, start slow! Much like Retinol, you should work up to your desired frequency of exfoliation.

Start with a couple of days a week, and be sure to moisturize after use. Once you’re certain it’s helping and your skin doesn’t have any negative reactions, you can increase your usage until you’re the glowing goddess you always knew you’d be.

We’re particularly fond of Alpha Hydroxy Acids, also known as AHAs, like Glycolic, Citric and Malic Acids. You’re going to want a solution with between a 5 percent and 10 percent potency, which makes our BrighterDays Dark Spot 8% AHA Polish™ right in the sweet spot.

When used properly and regularly, chemical exfoliants can make a huge improvement to dark spots and spots on the skin.

5. Laser Treatments

If you’re looking for something a little more intense, a laser treatment—or laser peel—is a great option. Using concentrated light energy, laser treatments work one of two ways. Some laser treatments target the dark skin pigments themselves.

Other treatments work by removing the skin delicately, layer by layer, until the blemish is removed. While most topical solutions will take a while to have their full effect, laser treatments often have immediate results. There is a great risk of side effects with laser treatments, however, especially on the tender skin of your face.

These side effects include swelling, redness, scarring, infection and even changes in your skin’s texture. It’s important to speak to an appropriately licensed professional before pursuing laser treatment.

6. Red LED Light Therapy

Because one of the most common reasons for dark spots or marks on our face is long-term sun exposure, we tend to be more prone to dark blemishes as we age. But just because our skin ages doesn’t mean we can’t improve it or that we have to give up our glow.

If you’re concerned your dark marks are due to aging, Red LED Light Therapy might be an excellent option for you.

Red light devices target fibroblasts, which are part of the collagen production process. By increasing your collagen production, you’ll see any visible signs of aging that might be affecting your skin significantly over time. So if your dark spots have developed over time, Red LED Light Therapy can help.

And while Red LED Light Therapy might sound like the sort of intense solution you might only find with a specialist, there are many options for Light Therapy at home. As Light Therapy is being recognized more and more as a super effective treatment for many skincare problems, you’ll have a wide range of options for reaping its benefits from the comfort of your own home.

In Conclusion

There are many options for addressing the appearance of dark spots and marks on your face. While we love every little thing that makes you—and us!— unique, having a dark blemish can have a negative effect on our self-esteem.

Whether you prefer a topical cream, light therapy or a laser to help lessen the appearance of your dark spots, there’s always a way to look on the bright side of your complexion.


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