Treatment Options for Dark Spots
There are so many treatments for dark spots on the market from more permanent treatments like microdermabrasion and skin lasering to drugstore serums and color correctors. When it comes to choosing the right treatment option for you and your dark spots, the best thing to do is understand where the spots are derived from and what will be most effective in getting rid of them.
Our goal at Virginia Surgical Arts is to help you achieve flawless skin, you know that “I don’t even need to wear makeup” complexion that we all envy when we see other women with it. Dark spots give many women an issue when they are seeking this skincare goal. So, today we will teach you what causes dark spots in the first place plus our most highly recommended dark spot treatments.
What Causes Dark Spots?
There are several things that cause dark spots. One common cause is hyperpigmentation which is when the overproduction of melanin causes some spots of the skin to be darker. This extra melanin production can be triggered by a number of factors. Higher levels of hormones estrogen and progesterone can cause an increased level of melanin which is why it’s common for pregnant women to see dark spots forming that typically lighten after birth.
Higher exposure to the sun can also cause an increase in the level of melanin which is why you will often notice dark spots forming during summer. This type of dark spot is specifically called sunspots.
Age is yet another factor that can increase the production of melanin which is why a lot of older clients will see dark spots starting to form. These are called age spots.
Hyperpigmentation can also be caused by skin irritation and inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema, waxing, and using harsh chemicals or scrubs on the skin. Women with darker skin tones may also notice, when taking certain medications or going through hormonal changes like pregnancy or puberty, that they see dark spots forming.
Dark spots can be tricky to get rid of. There are tons of skincare products designed to target them by blocking abnormal pigment production, enhance cell renewal and shedding of pigmented cells, and calm pigment-producing inflammation.
But before going out and buying one of these skin-lightening creams or serums, you should know that sometimes these products can do more harm than good. Some contain ingredients like steroids or mercury that can be harmful to your skin and health. Steroids in these products can cause pimples and rashes which can cause thin and fragile skin or permanent discoloration. The safest option is to talk to one of our experienced skincare experts to find the best treatment option for you and your specific skin needs. Here are a few of the skincare treatments we will most often recommend for dark spots.
Chemical peels are an exfoliating treatment that removes the top layers of dead skin. They reveal a new, refreshed layer of skin, reducing the dull appearance that skin develops so that the skin better reflects light and appears to glow.
After undergoing a series of these treatments, chemical peels will stimulate collagen production, enhance cell turnover, and reduce the appearance of dark spots.
Be aware that chemical peels may not be the best option if you have sensitive skin so if you have sensitive skin be sure to disclose that to our skincare specialists during your consultation.
Patients will generally require three to six treatments spaced out by three to four weeks to see the best results. Deeper peels can be harsher on the skin and come with greater risks but they may only require one to two treatments.
This is another common exfoliating treatment that basically uses tiny particles to slough away dead skin and to treat hyperpigmentation. Chemical peels are great because, despite the name, they are non-chemical procedures that are also non-ablative meaning they don’t destroy skin tissue and therefore do not require significant downtime. It’s a milder solution to hyperpigmentation and you may notice that it is more modest in terms of improving the appearance of skin discoloration.
We’ll typically recommend three to six treatments with two to four weeks between them.
Microneedling entails using a medical-grade roller covered with hundreds of tiny spikes to create micro-injuries in the top skin layer forcing the skin to rebuild the skin collagen and elasticity.
There are at-home microneedling options but these treatments are not for the faint at heart as you are damaging your skin in order to encourage it to build new layers. Because of this, we highly recommend seeking a professional to control the level of penetration.
When performed correctly, you should notice a brighter complexion within a week of treatment. We generally recommend three treatments spaced out every six weeks.
Using lasers to treat hyperpigmentation is the most expensive option but it is also the most impactful at treating dark spots. This treatment uses a focused beam of light that targets the pigment in the skin to break it down and eliminate the pigment particles from the skin. IPL, or intense pulsed light, can treat unwanted pigmentation, however, it delivers a less focused light and can, therefore, cause an unwanted effect on the skin surrounding the spot, particularly when used on patients with darker or tanned skin.
You should anticipate as many as six treatments spaced out with three to four weeks in between.