What Lightens Dark Spots?

We all want the best for our skin, and while beauty trends come and go, one thing that remains is having clear, bright, even skin is the number one priority.

But what does that actually mean? What most people are referring to when they dream about ‘clear’ skin, they envisage smooth, pimple-free skin that is completely even in terms of tone with no signs of scarring or hyperpigmentation. Sounds easy, right? Hmm.

One of the most common skin complaints is ‘dark spots’. In recent years there have been more and more ‘miracle’ products introduced, promising to eliminate issues like dark spots and fulfil our clear skin dreams.

Unfortunately, knowing what will work best for your skin typically demands a process of trial and error so, this article has done all the research for you. It looks at everything from expensive serums to homemade remedies. Keep reading to find what best lightens dark spots.

What causes dark spots?

Dark spots are simply patches of skin that appear darker than the rest of your skin tone, also known as hyperpigmentation.

They are most commonly caused by sun damage, but they can also result from hormone fluctuations, acne scars, age spots and other types of hyperpigmentation.

  • Sun exposure – Consistent exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can cause a reaction within the skin’s pigments, causing dark spots. The best way to prevent this is to wear sunscreen every day, even if it doesn’t seem sunny out. 
  • Hormone fluctuation – fluctuation of hormones can be caused by a long list of factors such as pregnancy and the heightened secretion of melanin can result in dark spots
  • Acne scarring – the excess secretion of oils such as sebum is the main contributor to acne. The healing process results in scarring such as dark spots
  • Age spots – part of the natural aging process often includes the appearance of dark spots but are seen more in those who are aging faster as a result of poor diet and other external factors

Can serum remove dark spots?

If you’re looking to lighten and remove dark spots on your face, there are hundreds of serums available that promote the elimination of dark spots. But, do they really work?

Lots of the products are of course scientifically tested by verified dermatologists, so they can be trusted, whether or not they will work for you though is not guaranteed.

It all depends on what your skin needs. To know which serums will work for you, there are several factors you need to consider. These include choosing between an oil-based formula or a water-based formula, what ingredients better suit your skin, which pH level is the most effective and more.

This may seem like a lot of work, don’t freak out, though, this article will break it down for you so you’ll be able to see what serums will work best for you.

Firstly, let’s take a look at oil-based vs water-based serums:

  • Oil-based – serums containing oil are quite thick in consistency and are best suited to those with dry skin because they contain moisturizing qualities
  • Water-based – as you probably guessed, water-based serums are much thinner, watery consistency and work best on oily and combination skin

Next, you need to consider pH levels:

In the simplest terms the pH level indicated on a product, refers to how acidic it is. The more acidic the serum, the more effective it will be when it comes to lightening dark spots. That being said, you definitely shouldn’t just pick the lowest pH level serum you can find and slap it on your skin!

Choosing a serum that is too acidic can be harmful to your skin and, depending on your skin type, could leave you with very dry skin and/or inflammation/ irritation.

The general advice is to go for a serum with a pH of around 3.0 give or take 0.5 if you have normal skin. If you have dry and/or sensitive skin, go for something closer to neutral (between 5.0 and 7.0).

Finally, check to see what active ingredients the serum contains:

There is a long list of ingredients that will make an appearance in dark spot serums, but the main four you will likely come across are Retinol, vitamin C, Glycolic acid, and Salicylic acid.

  • Retinol – stimulates cell turnover, replacing any damaged ones. Retinol can be quite aggravating for skin, so introduce gradually
  • Vitamin C – probably the most common ingredient in dark spot serums, vitamin C is great at brightening your complexion and fading hyperpigmentation. Can irritate sensitive skin
  • Glycolic acid – this exfoliant works to remove dead skin cells which promotes new ones to grow. Introduce gradually
  • Salicylic acid – another exfoliant ingredient, Salicylic acid fades dark spots by encouraging new skin cells to grow. Introduce gradually

Does lemon remove dark spots?

If store-bought products aren’t the way you want to go, a long-hailed homemade option is using lemon juice as a topical treatment.

This is because it is packed with lots of vitamin C as well as being a natural bleaching agent, known to lighten the appearance of dark spots.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Step 1: simply squeeze some fresh lemon juice onto a cotton pad 
  • Step 2: dab the cotton pad onto the affected area
  • Step 3: leave the lemon juice to soak into to the skin for at least 10 minutes 
  • Step 4: wash your face with warm water to remove the excess juice
  • Step 5: repeat steps 1-4 once a day for best results for normal skin. Miss a day between treatments if your skin is dry and/or sensitive

*If irritation occurs, stop using immediately and allow your skin to recover before using any acidic products on your face

Final Say

Say goodbye to dark spots with these skin-saving products and remedies. Hopefully this article will inspire you to eliminate your dark spots once and for all. 

Equally, no skin is perfect, rock your dark spots if you want to!