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What Causes Dark Spots? Plus How To Get Rid Of Them

Editor’s Picks | Jul 08, 2022
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If you’ve noticed stubborn marks on your skin that you just can’t scrub away, you might be dealing with dark spots – also known as patches of hyperpigmentation. They’re notoriously tricky to treat, yet surprisingly common at any age, often appearing when a sunburn has finally soothed or a breakout has gone away. But what causes those dark spots to happen? And how do you get rid of them? Here, we reveal what it means when you get a dark spot on your face, and how you can work to remove it…

What causes dark spots on your face?

Dark spots appear on your face when an area of skin produces more melanin than usual. Put simply, melanin is the natural pigment that controls your skin’s colour. Your melanocyte cells produce it to protect your skin from UV rays but, sometimes, it can build up in one area or it’s produced in higher concentrations to form a dark spot.

Too much exposure to UV light can speed this process up, but time in the sun is not the only culprit for dark spots: anything that stimulates the melanocyte cells may result in hyperpigmentation. It could be hormone-induced melasma, the remnants of an acne breakout, or a mark left behind after a rash or injury has finally healed. Whatever the cause of your dark spots, reducing their appearance is possible. The key is finding a routine that tackles the stagnant melanin.

How to get rid of dark spots on your face

Looking to remove dark spots? While you may not be able to erase them completely, following a brightening routine (which also leaves skin glowing) is essential to a more even skin tone. Follow these steps…


Catch dark spots early

The longer a dark spot is left untouched, the deeper the melanin works into your skin. That’s why, by moving fast to treat it early, you stand a better chance of fading hyperpigmentation. Try adding brightening ingredients into your daily skincare ritual while the spot is still relatively new, and you should find that it disappears much quicker. But this doesn’t mean that older dark spots are destined to remain forever; with the right hard-working formulas, you can still make them less visible over time.


Double cleanse your skin daily

Brightening ingredients need to work down deep in order to get rid of dark spots, so sweep away dead skin cells regularly to boost the absorption of your serums and moisturisers. Double cleansing, both morning and night, ensures your complexion is fresh and balanced, so start with an oil or cream cleanser (to remove makeup and grime), then massage in a foam or scrub (to deeply cleanse and purify). We recommend the Perfect Cleansing Oil, followed by the Complete Cleansing Microfoam; a combination that melts away makeup, then detoxes your pores so they’re ready for serum.


Apply a specialist brightening serum

Face serums are thin and light enough to sink down into the deeper layers of skin, where they can deliver a concentrated dose of ingredients to target your biggest concerns. If it’s dark spots you’re banishing, this deep-down action allows you to reach built-up melanin that’s underneath the surface of skin – as long as you use a serum with dark spot-fading ingredients. Try the White Lucent Illuminating Micro-Spot Serum, which contains highly concentrated 4MSK (a Shiseido-developed brightening ingredient) and Sakura Bright Complex. Together, they give you fast action to diminish the look of dark spots, while also preventing the stimulation of further pigmentation.


Keep skin well hydrated

No matter your skin concerns – from oily, to acne-prone, to dehydrated – applying face cream is key to healthy skin with a stronger protective barrier. That’s why, once your serum has absorbed, it’s important to apply a moisturiser over the top. By choosing one with further brightening benefits, you can enhance the effects of your serum. Reach for the White Lucent Brightening Gel Cream day and night, and you’ll enjoy an added boost of the Sakura Bright Complex, suspended in a lightweight gel that leaves your complexion bouncy and dewy.


Use a targeted dark spot treatment

For extra targeted care, complete your skincare ritual with the Vital Perfection Intensive Wrinkle Spot Treatment; an on-the-spot cream that treats dark spots at their source. It features Retinol (Vitamin A) to encourage healthy cell turnover, so the old cells are sloughed away to gradually fade your hyperpigmentation. It also softens wrinkles and fine lines for a more youthful glow. Simply use the fine tip to apply it where you want it, and massage in circular motions with your middle finger.


Protect skin from future UV damage

Daily UV exposure can quickly undo the hard work of your brightening ritual, so it’s crucial you apply SPF every morning, come rain or shine. Choose a broad-spectrum, lightweight lotion, like Urban Environment Age Defense Oil-Free SPF30, and make sure it’s your final skincare step (after softener, serum and moisturiser). Then, top up throughout the day with the Clear Suncare Stick SPF50+. This handbag essential offers an invisible veil of weightless protection that you can glide over the top of makeup without disturbing the finished look.

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Enhance your brightening skincare ritual with the benefits of hyaluronic acid; a plumping ingredient that belongs in every hydrating skincare routine.

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