Not everyone gets them, but for those that do, dark spots on the face, chest, hands or elsewhere on the body can be seriously frustrating to deal with as they don’t go away on their own and sometimes can’t be covered by the average concealer. So, what are these discolorations, and why do some people have them?
According to our experts, for the most part, dark spots on the skin can be attributed to two causes: scarring and hyperpigmentation (technically, scarring is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation)
Exfoliate with Papaya
What’s a surefire way to brighten the overall tone of your skin? Rinse away that top layer with a natural exfoliant, like papaya: “Papaya has fruit acids known as alpha-hydroxy acids, which is a chemical exfoliant,” says Engelman. “AHAs are used for dry skin and to anti-age, and work to improve skin by removing the top layers of the skin through weakening the lipids that bond them together, thus, removing dull and dead skin cells and revealing healthy skin cells.
It is very effective in breaking down skin cells and also increases collagen production because of the removal of dead particles. Papaya specifically will help brighten and give the skin a youthful radiance.” To treat your dark spots with papaya, simply mash ripe papaya in a bowl and apply it as a mask to clean your skin. When removing the mask, you can also use gentle, circular motions for a bit of added exfoliation to that dead top layer of skin cells.
Use Turmeric to Even Skin Tone
For ages, people in India, parts of Central America, and other subtropical areas have looked to turmeric for its many healing properties, from reducing inflammation to aiding the digestive process. Turmeric’s benefits also extend to the area of skincare, and it’s been shown to inhibit the skin’s melanin production, which results in spots due to hyperpigmentation.
To fade dark spots with turmeric, make a mask using one part turmeric to one part honey. If you wish, you can enhance the lightening process with a few drops of lemon juice, as long as your skin isn’t too sensitive, and the citrus won’t come into contact with open skin, like recently broken pimples.
Brighten with Yogurt
Another naturally skin-brightening item you may already have in your home is yogurt, which may work to fade dark spots by exfoliating the skin. Like the chemically exfoliating properties found in papaya, yogurt may break down dead skin cells thanks to lactic acid, which is found naturally in dairy products
Reverse Photo Damage with Tomatoes
Rather than slather this ingredient on your face, tomato works best when taken systemically. According to a 2011 study, participants who ingested between around 55 milligrams of tomato paste with olive oil per day saw protection from acute and long-term photo damage brought on by UV rays
Reduce Scarring with Aloe
For some people, dark spots aren’t the result of hyperpigmentation, but scarring, which can be especially apparent on those with more melanin-rich skin: “Scars are unpredictable, which can make them difficult to treat. The most important thing is to treat right away,” Engleman explains. “The more pliable your skin is, the less chance there is that scars will occur, so adding moisture back into the skin with oils and lotions can reduce the appearance and prevent new ones from forming.” A tried and true ingredient that may be used to improve your skin’s health from the inside, or outside, is aloe.
Keep Skin Healthy with Vitamin C
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, vitamin C is one of the more effective natural ingredients that you can count on to lighten existing spots, and potentially prevent new ones from forming
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