How to Lighten the Appearance of Dark Spots

How to Lighten the Appearance of Dark Spots

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! In this article, we discuss how dark spots happen and the 10 best natural ways to lighten the appearance of these annoying little spots. Keep reading, or check out our video on how to visibly reduce dark spots:


Main Takeaways: A vitamin C serum is one of the best products you can use to minimize the look of dark spots.

Good to Know: Dark spots are caused by sun exposure. To prevent them, make wearing sunscreen a daily habit.

Recommended Products: Nectar of the C Vitamin C Serum, Crème de la Cream Brightening Moisturizer, Youth Fairy Retinol Moisturizer, and sunscreen.


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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 in order to protect from the sun’s UV rays. So if you have a history of sunburns, sunbathing, or tanning beds — dark spots may appear sooner.

Sunscreen (plus sun protection like hats and umbrellas) is your best defense against these brown spots, but let’s talk about what to do when they make their unwanted appearance on your face. Nature has given us ways to help lighten their appearance and get back your gorgeous glow.

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How to Prevent Dark Spots

First things first– let’s talk about how to prevent dark spots. It may be impossible to completely prevent them, but these tips will help protect your skin going forward:

  • Wear sunscreen RELIGIOUSLY during the daytime. Use SPF 30 or higher.
  • 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 (amongst other unwanted side effects.) Try a natural self-bronzing cream or lotion instead.
How to get rid of dark spots - try using Aloe

    The Best Ways to Minimize the Look of Dark Spots

    If you’ve already seen your first dark spot or two, here are some easy, DIY techniques to help fade the look of dark spots:

    Illustration of apple cider vinegar, lemons, onion, and aloe vera

    Use what you’ve got. Keep your pantry stocked with apple cider vinegar, fresh lemons, red onion, and/or an aloe vera plant — all of which are known to naturally help reduce the appearance of dark spots.

    • 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.
    • Do the same with fresh squeezed lemon juice. If you find that either liquid has a drying effect, dilute it with water before applying.
    • Peel and cut up a red onion. Juice it (or blend, if you don’t have a juicer). Grab a q-tip and press it onto your dark spots. Leave it on for 10 or 15 minutes, then wash your face with your favorite cleanser.
    • Aloe vera plants are an excellent natural skincare ingredient 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.
    Illustration of DIY mask and applicator

    Try a DIY mask. Making a face mask with natural, garden-grown ingredients is a fun way to treat yourself and help to reduce the appearance of dark spots and other skin issues! A couple of our favorite recipes include:

    • Tropical vibes: Deseed a papaya (green or ripe), cut it into chunks, and purée in a blender. Mix in one tablespoon of lemon juice and leave it on your skin for 30 minutes. Rinse clean and apply moisturizer.
    • Citrus and spice: Turmeric is a yellow-hued, antioxidant-packed superfood that benefits your skin, too. 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 and moisturize.
    • Lemon-aid: Squeeze out the juice from half a lemon. Add a teaspoon of sugar and mix well. Gently scrub your face with the mixture for two minutes, focusing on the dark spots. Rinse clean and moisturize.

    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. Vitamin C is a powerhouse antioxidant that is known to help brighten dark spots.

    Include a clean vitamin C serum as part of your twice-daily routine, and watch your skin regain its radiant glow in no time. Our Nectar of the C vitamin C serum is made with 10% Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, which is a gentle form of vitamin C that is ideal for all skin types.

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    Double up with a vitamin C moisturizer. You are likely (hopefully?) using a facial moisturizer everyday, so why not increase the brightening power of your daily skincare routine with a vitamin C face cream? Crème de la Cream brightening moisturizer is infused with vitamin C, plus skin-brightening vitamin B3 and skin-smoothing peptides, amplifying the effects of your vitamin C serum.

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    Incorporate Retinol into your skincare routine. Retinol/retinoids are a potent form of vitamin A commonly used to treat an array of skin issues — including dark spots. This super active antioxidant increases cell turnover, leading to smoother, brighter skin. They are available in Rx form (retinoids) or OTC (retinol), and a high concentration of retinol can cause irritation. If you are a first time retinol user, we have the perfect solution for you: Youth Fairy retinol moisturizer contains a small yet highly effective dose of retinol to visibly brighten and tighten your skin.

    Youth Fairy

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    Frequently Asked Questions About How to Lighten the Appearance of Dark Spots

    Why do dark spots happen?

    Dark spots happen because UV rays from the sun cause our pigment cells (melatonic) in our skin to rush to form to protect it from UV radiation. This radiation can reach both our top layer of skin and our deeper layers of skin. Tans and burns are the immediate effect, while dark spots are the damage deeper in our skin that we later begin to see as we age.

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    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. Wear protective clothing and never 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 is known to visibly reduce unwanted spots.