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9 dark spot treatments that really work, according to dermatologists

When it comes to Dark Spot Treatments there are so many options that it can be difficult to know where to start. Which ingredients should you look for? And most importantly, which ones will finally eliminate dark spots?

To answer these questions, SELF talked to several dermatologists to find out how they treat dark patches in the face . Because as a beauty editor, my ultimate mission is to achieve flawless skin. You know, I do not need make-up as we all wish. But I'm not ready yet.

Does Number One Keep Me From My Non-Make-Up Goal? Dark spots. Due to the uneven skin tone I keep reaching for my make-up bag. Read on to find out what causes dark spots and to find out which nine treatments are recommended by dermatologists.

What causes dark spots?

"Dark spots or hyperpigmentation are due to the overproduction of melanin in the skin of melanocytes," Plastic Surgeon Melissa Doft, MD tells SELF. This extra melanin can be triggered by many different things. "Hormones – both estrogen and progesterone – can increase melanin levels (why pregnant women see dark spots that often lighten after birth ); The sun can raise the level of melanin (which is why we have more dark spots after the summer). and age can increase the size of the melanocytes (which is why we see dark age spots in older patients).

Other factors, such as skin irritation as a result of acne, waxing and harsh peels, may also do so causing dark spots. Now that you know where dark spots are coming from, read on to find out how to remove dark spots.

. 1 Vitamin C

Beyond Orange Juice: Vitamin C can be used as a topical antioxidant that prevents free radicals from oxidatively damaging the skin (which, among other things, can lead to wrinkles and a dull complexion) other things). "It also inhibits enzymatic processes that produce melanin in the skin and can thus help reduce the darkening of the skin," says Dr. Sumayah Jamal of the Schweiger Dermatology Group (19459028) vs. SELF (19659011) The benefit is that vitamin C only lightens the problem pigmentation areas, not the rest of your skin. This tells Dr. Fran E. Cook-Bolden, Dermatologist, Cosmetic Surgeon and Director of Skin Specialty Dermatology (19459031) vs. SELF with] Editor's Advice: Isdinceutics Melaclear Serum ($ 75, isdin.com )

Application: Massage a few drops daily on cleansed skin, preferably before applying sunscreen in AM

2. Hydroquinone

For the treatment of dark spots, hydroquinone has been the gold standard for more than 50 years. You can find this ingredient over the counter in concentrations of 2 percent or less while the prescription contains 4 percent or more. At the biological level, hydroquinone inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, which supports the production of melanin. Cook-Bolden. The less tyrosinase is produced, the less melanin is naturally produced.

In some cases, the effect of hydroquinone can already be observed after two weeks. However, most of them should expect a useful life of eight to 12 weeks to see a visible difference, which depends on a few factors (how strong the hyperpigmentation is, how deep it penetrates, how long it is there, etc.).

"As with any product applied to the skin, it can cause dryness, redness, and burning, which may indicate an allergic reaction to the ingredient," warns. Cook-Bolden. Another possible side effect is "ghosting," which is an inadvertent lightening of the skin outside the target area. To avoid this, apply sparingly hydroquinone to the center of your stain and spring towards the edges.

Editor's tip: Ambi Skincare Fade Cream ($ 7, walgreens.com )

How To … Use it: Apply best at night to get started , and apply twice a day for maximum effect. During the day, interacting with sunscreen as an ingredient can cause sun sensitivity.

. 3 Kojic acid

Kojic acid (derived from mushrooms or fermented rice) is widely used in skin whitening agents and is best used in conjunction with hydroquinone for optimal results. "It suppresses a key factor in the activity of pigment cells," says Carlos Charles, dermatologist and founder of Derma di Colore versus SELF. "The risk commonly associated with topical kojic acid is allergic dermatitis, so it occurs mainly in relatively low concentrations." People with sensitive skin should only take a small dose at night, as inflammation and irritation can have side effects. Do not expect quick results either – it may take several months for hyperpigmentation to improve with the use of topical kojic acid.

Editor's tip: Arcona Brightening Drops ($ 44, arcona.com ])

How to use it: At night only on dark spots or problem areas.

. 4 Soy

It has been shown that soy extract extracted from the soybean plant brightens the skin. Joshua Zeichner, MD Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City tells SELF. That's why you find it in tons of skin lightening products. Soya acts as a remedy for dark spots by preventing the penetration of melanin into the uppermost layer of the skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

Editor's Advice: Aveeno Positively Radiant Targeted Tone Corrector ($ 9, amazon.com )

Application: Apply to dark spots in the morning and evening before using your usual Use moisturizer.

. 5 Azelaic Acid

This lesser known ingredient is a dermatologist-recommended treatment for dark spots on the face. So, what exactly is that? " Azelaic Acid is a naturally occurring extract from oat, wheat or rye that interferes with the production of abnormal pigmentation," explains Dr. Signatory. Bonus: It has antibacterial properties that can help to expel acne and leave the scars pimples.

Editor's Choice: Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster ($ 29, paulaschoice.com )

How to Use It: Apply it or on your face twice a day. You can use it alone or with your favorite moisturizer. If you use it during the day, be sure to use sunscreen.

. 6 Lasers

Lasers are the most expensive and at the same time most effective treatment for reducing dark spots. "These use a focused light beam with a specific target or chromophore (pigment) to break up and eliminate the pigment particles in the skin," says Dr. Cook-Bolden. "IPL (intense pulsed light) can treat unwanted pigmentation. However, it provides less focused light and may have an undesirable effect on the surrounding skin, especially darker or tanned skin. "

The ideal laser treatment for hyperpigmentation ensures a cooling beam (or at least limits the amount of heat generated)). Ask your dermatologist or laser technician if the laser they are using can be treated quickly with a focused beam such as Aerolase's Lightpod Neolaser. This type of laser helps to prevent inflammatory reactions, burns or collateral damage, says dr. Cook-Bolden.

Cost: $ 250 to $ 2,500

Derm Tip: There are likely to be up to six treatments (possibly even more) with three to four weeks in between, just in office.

. 7 Chemical Peels

Peels such as chemical peels remove the upper layers of dead skin and help to reduce the dull appearance of the skin so that it reflects the light better and seems to radiate it. Jamal. "Over time, these treatments can stimulate collagen production, increase cell turnover, and reduce the appearance of dark spots," he says. But watch out for too much chemical peeling that can burn the skin. Common ingredients in scrubs of pro-grade quality are glycolic, almond, salicylic, and lactic acids, as well as trichloroacetic acid. While scrubs are available at home, they are more likely to be replaced by dead skin than they are deep enough to lighten dark spots. Jamal added.

Bear in mind, of course, that chemical peels can be particularly harsh. For sensitive skin, you should talk with your dermatologist about how you might react before you book one.

Cost: 100-1,000 USD

Derm Tip: Usually three to six treatments (possibly more) at a distance It takes three to four weeks to see the results. Note: Deeper peels carry a higher risk, but may require only one or two treatments.

. 8 Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is another well-known hyperpigmentation peeling treatment that uses small particles to abrade dead skin. Cook-Bolden describes microdermabrasion as a "non-chemical process that is non-ablative, that is, it does not disrupt the skin tissue and therefore does not require significant recovery time." Microdermabrasion is best suited for milder hyperpigmentation conditions as the results are modest Improving the appearance of skin discoloration.

Cost: $ 100- $ 600

Derm Tip: Typically, dermologists recommend three to six treatments (possibly more) that are two to four weeks apart. [19659064] 9. Microneedling

Consider this a treatment that is not for the faint of heart. The device is performed with a roller of medical grade stainless steel covered with hundreds of tiny spines. This results in a series of micro-injuries to restore the collagen production of the skin along with the elasticity. Although there are many versions for the home, Dr. Doft, the penetration strength of your doctor to control – think of half a millimeter to 2.5 millimeters.

For best results, micro-needling is often combined with topical treatments. "Once the skin barrier is opened, ingredients such as vitamin C can also be infused, lightening the skin," says Doft. Dermatologists may also use a wound healing serum or a hyaluronic acid-vitamin C compound to help with hyperpigmentation, especially with darker skin tones. She notes that there is a risk of scarring from micronexturing services if they are performed too aggressively. "Patients with darker skin may also find that they become more pigmented," she adds. "But [when done correctly] you will see a brighter complexion the next week after the treatment."

Cost: $ 300- $ 1,750

Derm Tip: [Expecttoreceivethreetreatments(possiblymore)every6weeksfromadermatologist

Ultimately, prevention – with sunscreen – is the key.

The good news is to prevent dark spots, often as easy as wearing sunscreen I'm already in use every day … or ??). "Daily sunscreen is the absolute best way to prevent hyperpigmentation," Dr. Signatory. "Even low UV exposure adds up over the lifetime and can cause dark spots."

Alan J. Parks, Certified Dermatologist and Founder of DermWarehouse agrees: "Dark spots will occur due to exposure to sunlight it darkens, "he says. "Sunscreens, and in particular physical sunscreens that contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, can block most of the rays that darken the dark spots."

Spectrum sunscreen (at least SPF 30) to protect against UVA and UVB rays. "Every two hours, you need to reapply your sunscreen, even if it's 24 hours a day, waterproof, etc." Cook-Bolden. She also advises against the general avoidance of sunlight – especially in sensitive areas – between 10 o'clock in the morning. and 4 pm. Also, visible light can intensify skin pigmentation . If you are outside, when the sun is high, look for cool, shady spots or wear UPF clothing which helps to protect the skin.

Editor's tip: COOLA Mineral Face SPF 30 Matte Cucumber ($ 36, ulta.com )

Use: Re-apply every two hours daily in direct sunlight.

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