When the first dark spot hits your skin, it can be a major bummer. These annoying little dots (also known as sun spots or age spots) can leave you feeling instantly older than your years.
But not to worry — we’re here to offer some solutions to this all-too-common skin issue.
Brown spots, or sun spots, are the result of sun exposure. They’re totally normal, and everyone (who steps outside) is likely to get them at some point, even with the most diligent of SPF protection.
The good news is, sun spots don’t have to be a permanent tragedy! Stay tuned to learn the deets about how dark spots happen and the 10 best natural ways to lighten the appearance of these annoying little spots.
How Do Dark Spots Happen?
Dark spots on the skin are actually caused by overactive pigment cells — all thanks to that glowing ball of hot gas we call the sun!
Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun accelerate the production of melanin, a pigment that’s responsible for the tanning and coloration of skin.
When skin has been exposed to sunlight for long periods of time, melanin becomes more highly concentrated. So if you have a history of sunburns, sunbathing, or tanning beds — dark spots may appear sooner.
And while sunscreen (plus sun protection like hats and umbrellas) is your best defense against these brown spots, once they pop up there are lots of natural options for lightening their appearance and getting back your gorgeous glow!
How to Prevent Dark Spots
So first things first, let’s talk about how to prevent dark spots. (It may be impossible to completely prevent them, but these tips will limit your chances.)
- Wear sunscreen RELIGIOUSLY during the daytime. Stick with SPF 30 or above.
- Wear hats and UV protective clothing while out in the sun.
- Seek shade as often as possible. Carry an umbrella for instant sun cover!
- Avoid tanning beds! They’re a one-way ticket to premature age spots! Try a natural self-bronzing cream or lotion instead.
The 10 Best Ways to Minimize the Look of Dark Spots
If you’ve already seen your first dark spot (or a family of dots!), here are 10 easy, DIY techniques to help fade the look of dark spots:
Dab your dots with what’s in your kitchen. Keep your pad stocked with apple cider vinegar, fresh lemons, red onion, and/or an aloe vera plant — all of which are known for helping fight the appearance of dark spots.
1. Soak a cotton ball and dip it into apple cider vinegar. Dab it onto your dark spots, let it sit for a few minutes, and rinse with water. Follow up with your moisturizer.
2. Do the same with fresh squeezed lemon juice. (If you find that either liquid has a drying effect, dilute with water before dabbing!)
3. Peel and cut up a red onion. Juice it (or blend, if you don’t have a juicer). Grab a q-tip and dab it onto your dark spots. Leave it on for 10 or 15 minutes, then wash your face with your favorite natural cleanser (to get rid of that onion aroma!).
4. Aloe vera plants are an excellent tool to have around! Cut a green leaf and squeeze the gel straight out onto your finger. Apply it to your dark spots for 30 minutes in the morning and evening, followed by a rinse and your regular skin care routine. (If you’re not into having plants around, you can buy natural aloe vera gel instead)
5. Use a Vitamin C serum. When it comes to evening out your skin tone and naturally smoothing the surface, vitamin C serum is the best tool in your beauty arsenal. Make sure you include a natural vitamin C serum as part of your twice-daily routine, and watch your skin regain its radiant glow in no time! Fleur & Bee’s Nectar of the C is made with 15% Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (a gentle form of vitamin C, great for all skin tones) and will help to fade the look of those pesky spots.
6. Add a toner to your routine. Toner is an underrated addition to any skin care routine! Facial toner helps to constrict your skin, declog pores, and brighten your complexion. Over time, using a toner can help to diminish the look of dark spots and provide a squeaky clean surface for your other skin care products.
Try a DIY mask. Making a face mask with natural, garden-grown ingredients is a super fun way to treat yourself — plus help to reduce the appearance of dark spots and other skin issues! A couple of our favorite recipes include:
7. Tropical vibes! Deseed a papaya (green or ripe), cut it into chunks, and stick it in the blender! Mix in one tablespoon of lemon juice, and leave it on your skin for 30 minutes. Rinse clean and apply moisturizer
8. Citrus and spice! Turmeric is a yellow-hued, antioxidant-packed spice that’s great for your skin (and your bod, we recommend it in recipes)! Mix one teaspoon turmeric (powder or ground) with a teaspoon of lemon juice. Evenly apply to your face, leave it for 20 minutes, and rinse clean.
9. Lemon-aid! Squeeze out the juice from half a lemon. Add a teaspoon of sugar and mix well. Scrub it all over your face for two minutes, particularly on the dark spots. Rinse clean.
10. Almost hummus! Take a half a cup of chickpeas and boil them until they’re totally soft. Once they’re cool, mash them up and mix them with a half cup of water. Then spread it over your face and leave for 30 minutes. Rinse clean!
11. Bonus! Retinol or Retonoids. Retinoids are a potent form of vitamin A commonly used to deal with an array of skin issues — including fading dark spots. Basically, they help your skin cells turn over more quickly, leading to a renewed appearance. You can buy over-the-counter products that contain retinol, or visit a dermatologist for a tretinoin or retinoic acid prescription (like Retin-A). Just take it slow as retinol and retinoids can cause dryness or irritation in sensitive skin, especially when you first start using them.
There you have it! Your guide to fighting back against annoying dots and keeping your skin bright, fresh-looking, and youthful.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Lighten the Appearance of Dark Spots
Why do dark spots happen?
Dark spots happen because the sun causes the pigment cells in our skin to start overacting. The UV or ultraviolet rays start ramping up the skin’s production of melanin which is responsible for skin’s coloration. The result is one of those little dark spots we begin to see with age.
How do you prevent dark spots?
The best way to prevent dark spots is to stay out of the sun as much as possible, and use sunblock everyday. If you are out in the sun be sure to use protective clothing lik, big hats, and cover ups. And whatever you do, to NOT use a tanning bed!
How do you visibly get rid of dark spots?
There are several solutions to visibly getting rid of dark spots. The best way is to use a vitamin C serum which works to brighten skin and minimize the look of dark spots. Another option is using a product with retinol which contains vitamin A and can also help reduce the appearance of dark spots!
If you’re looking for some diy options, try dabbing your skin with a cotton ball that’s been soaked in lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or red onion that’s been juiced, just be careful not to get anything near your eyes.