Few people are lucky enough to have skin that’s naturally as clear and blemish-free as they want it to be, no matter how much money they spend on skin products or skincare treatments. For those who need some help lightening their skin tone and getting rid of dark spots, there are several effective ways to go about it. We’ll cover all the options here, from natural remedies to dermatologist-prescribed solutions, so you can find the perfect one for your situation and your budget.
Assess your Skin Tone
Before you set out looking for a skin-lightening treatment, it’s helpful to assess your skin tone. There are five general categories of skin tones: Fair (very pale), Fair/Light (pale with yellow undertones), Light (pinkish), Light/Medium (olive), Medium (yellow) . Skin color can also be described by mixing these terms, so you may hear a salesperson refer to someone as fair/light or medium/fair. Keep in mind that when discussing different skin tones, people tend to rely on adjectives like white and dark. This is just not helpful when trying figure out if a product will work on your skin or not.
Natural Skin Lightening Solutions
There are numerous natural skin lightening options available, which is great news if you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative to store-bought skin brighteners. Each method has its pros and cons, but it’s worth testing them out in order to determine what will work best for your unique needs. The following list includes some of your best options for naturally lightening your skin. This is also a good time to mention that many consumers end up using a combination of different methods in order to achieve their desired results more quickly.
There are many laser treatments that can work on dark skin, but it is important that you find a reputable clinic and board-certified physician. Though lasers are a quick and effective way to remove or lighten skin discoloration, it should not be used as a permanent solution for removing acne scarring; surgical excision should always be your last resort. Laser treatment options may vary based on your skin type, how many areas you want treated at once, and how much time you want to spend in treatment appointments. Lighter skin tones tend to respond well to Fraxel laser treatments while darker ones will likely require TCA cross/dynamic peels or IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments.
A chemical peel uses a concentrated acid solution or a process that irritates your skin, either physically or chemically, causing it to peel off. It’s a little like an at-home version of what they do in dermatology offices — but better, because instead of having one appointment per month for six months and ending up with great skin, you can try it at home on your own schedule and spend less money. The biggest plus is that there are no recovery periods involved; once you’ve done a couple of peels (two is standard), you should be able to do them any time you want between then and whenever your next one is scheduled.
A type of abrasion (exfoliation) where a device with a very fine diamond tip, is used to smooth out roughness in your skin. It can also be used for acne scars but only by a professional due to it’s ability to destroy tissue so make sure you visit someone who is highly skilled. However, keep in mind that microdermabrasion is not a cure-all and will not work on everyone. As with any cosmetic procedure there are risks and results vary from person to person. Make sure you go in with realistic expectations or else you may find yourself unhappy with your treatment.
Exfoliating regularly can be one of your best weapons against pesky dark spots. Exfoliation makes it easier for your other skin-lightening products (such as retinol) to reach their full potential. Use an exfoliant at least twice a week, or more often if you have oily or combination skin. If you have sensitive skin, though, avoid physical exfoliants like scrubs; opt for chemical treatments instead. Chemical exfoliants come in a variety of forms—like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), glycolic acid peels, lactic acid peels and salicylic acid—and can be used on all different types of skins.
Facial Mask Helps Remove Dark Spots
Regular facials will help remove dirt, oil, or impurities that clog pores, but there are also facial masks you can use at home. Find a clay mask or other mask made for sensitive skin that contains salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or alpha hydroxy acids to help fade dark spots. Look for one with antioxidants such as vitamin C to fight free radicals in your face and reduce hyperpigmentation. Because salicylic acid can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight when used topically on acne-prone areas of your face (if you choose a product with salicylic acid), apply it at night only when not going out in direct sunlight.
Moisturize for Healthy-Looking Skin
Healthy, moisturized skin is crucial for achieving smooth, even-toned skin. In fact, it’s so important that Dr. Sonia Batra, MD., of Schweiger Dermatology Group suggests that you should always moisturize your face in a healthy way. The key is finding a product that works well with your individual complexion type and doesn’t clog pores.