No amount of makeup replaces the natural beauty of healthy-looking skin. Sun exposure, genetics, environmental factors and the unavoidable passage of time commonly lead to the development of dark spots and skin dryness that damage your healthy, glowing look. Treating your skin with a bit of TLC each day helps fade dark spots and restore your beautiful, youthful glow.
Ultraviolet Radiation Protection
Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin before going outdoors. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a product with an SPF rating of 30 or greater. Sunscreen reduces uneven coloration of your skin by enabling natural fading of dark spots. It also blocks the skin-aging effects of ultraviolet radiation.
Wear a brimmed hat while outdoors to protect your face, neck and ears from sun exposure. The greatest exposure to ultraviolet radiation typically occurs between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Choose a hat with a 2- to 3-inch brim that encircles your entire head.
Avoid tanning beds. Although tanning imparts a temporary skin glow, the ultraviolet light worsens dark spots. Ultraviolet light exposure from tanning beds or the sun dulls your complexion by causing premature skin aging and increases your risk for skin cancer.
Apply an over-the-counter, skin-fading product to dark spots according to the package directions. Most fading products contain several active ingredients that disrupt the formation of the brown skin pigment melanin. Look for products that contain one or more skin-fading agents, including hydroquinone, harounoside, arbutin, dithiaoctanediol, beta carotene, glabridin, gluconic acid, azeleic acid, kojic acid, l-ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate and paper mulberry extract.
Use cotton-tipped swabs to apply skin-fading products. Limit the product application to the dark spots to prevent fading of the surrounding skin, which can make the spots appear more prominent.
Be patient and continue daily use of the skin-fading product until your dark spots lighten to the level you desire. This process commonly takes six months to a year or longer; the darker the spot, the longer it takes to fade.
Daily Skin Care
Wash your face twice daily with a mild skin cleanser to remove dirt, dead skin cells and excess oil. Use your fingers to apply the product to prevent skin irritation. Rinse with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
Apply an oil-free moisturizer at least once a day. Moisturizer helps your skin retain the natural oils that contribute to a healthy glow. Use a moisturizer more frequently if you have naturally dry skin or if your skin becomes dry during the winter.
Choose oil-free cosmetics if you wear makeup. Oil in your cosmetics can lead to acne outbreaks, potentially producing new skin spots due to scarring.
Choose an exfoliant to remove dead skin cells from your face based on your skin type: dry, oily or mixed. These products usually contain alpha or beta hydroxy acids, which loosen dead skin cells for easy removal. Use the exfoliant as directed. Adjust your frequency of use depending on the results. As a rule of thumb, oily skin tolerates more frequent exfoliation than dry skin does.
Use sunscreen daily. Ultraviolet light exposure occurs on both cloudy and sunny days during in all seasons of the year.
Cut your skin care expenses and simplify your daily routine by choosing a moisturizer that contains sunscreen, eliminating the need for two separate products.
Avoid excessive use of exfoliants, which can lead to skin dryness and a dull complexion.
Consult a dermatologist if you have persistent or widespread dark spots. Your dermatologist may recommend a topical prescription medication such as tretinoin cream, which evens out skin coloration and promotes a healthy complexion. Laser therapy and chemical peels are other common treatments to fade or remove dark spots and restore your skin's natural glow.
Consult your doctor if you notice a new dark spot on your skin, especially if it itches, bleeds, has uneven coloration or grows rapidly. Although most dark spots are harmless, skin cancer can mimic age spots.
Discontinue use of any skin product that causes redness or itching. Choose dye- and fragrance-free products to reduce the likelihood of a skin reaction.
If you have acne, eczema, psoriasis or another chronic skin condition, do not use an exfoliant unless your doctor advises you to do so. Exfoliants can aggravate these skin conditions.
Use only the products recommended by your doctor if you are seeing a dermatologist to fade dark spots and rejuvenate your complexion. Over-the-counter products may interact with your treatment and cause unwanted side effects.