In this article, we analyze home remedies and medical treatments for dark spots on black skin. We also look at prevention methods.
Dark spots may appear on black skin when the skin produces too much melanin. Melanin is the substance that gives skin color.
Factors that can trigger excess melanin production include sun exposure and hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy.
Dark spots can also occur as a result of inflammation or trauma to the skin, such as:
Even everyday skin care practices can contribute to the development of dark spots. The use of rough scrub, waxing and shaving can cause minor traumas on the skin that can cause changes in the skin.
The treatment a person requires will depend on their skin type and the severity of the discoloration. Dark spots are not usually harmful, so it may not be necessary to seek treatment unless a person finds them annoying.
The treatments include:
In some cases, no treatment can be the best option, since the spots can disappear with time.
For example, this may be the case of some types of hyperpigmentation that occur during pregnancy or those that appear after the acne goes away.
Meanwhile, the use of sunscreen can help prevent the spots from darkening.
If the discoloration is the result of a skin care product or certain medications, the suspension of the use of these products can prevent the formation of new dark spots.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), once a person eliminates the cause of the spots, those that already exist will usually disappear within 6 to 12 months. However, daily use of sunscreen is important to help the area fade and prevent the sun from darkening it.
However, darker spots may take years to disappear. In these situations, medical treatments or skin lightening products can help.
Proper management of existing skin conditions, such as acne or psoriasis, is likely to help stop the appearance of new spots.
Any dark spots that are already on the skin due to these conditions may disappear with time.
Adequate sun protection is recommended for everyone, regardless of skin type or color, however, research suggests that the use of sunscreen is especially low among non-Hispanic black people.
The ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun are responsible for most dark spots on the skin. UV rays activate excess melanin production, causing new areas of hyperpigmentation and obscuring existing areas.
The AAD recommends that everyone use sunscreen that:
People should apply it on all areas of exposed skin, not just on the face, and use it throughout the year.
Sunscreen is available in pharmacies and online.
Some people claim that natural remedies can effectively reduce dark spots on black skin. The most popular remedies include:
However, there is no scientific evidence that these natural treatments alleviate areas of hyperpigmentation. Some of them can even cause other skin problems. For example, lemon juice can dry and irritate the skin.
In general, however, it is unlikely that these natural products will cause harm if people use them in moderation.
Several over-the-counter products are available to treat an irregular skin tone. To get the best results, a person should choose a skin lightener that contains one of the following:
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. When it comes to skin care, research suggests that it can protect against sun damage, increase collagen levels and reduce melanin formation to stop hyperpigmentation.
However, it is not clear how effective it can be due to the limited ability of current preparations to penetrate the skin.
Vitamin C serums are available in pharmacies and online.
Hydroquinone is a very popular treatment for dark spots. Similar to vitamin C, it works by inhibiting the production of melanin.
Over-the-counter (OTC) products generally contain 2% hydroquinone, while prescription creams contain 4%.
Creams that contain hydroquinone are available at some pharmacies, pharmacies and online.
Kojic acid is another common skin lightener.
However, it may be less effective than other remedies for dark spots. A study on a type of hyperpigmentation called melasma found that a 4% hydroquinone cream was a better and faster treatment for hyperpigmentation than a 0.75% cream of kojic acid.
People can buy kojic acid solutions online or in some pharmacies.
Adapalene 0.1% gel (Differin) is an over-the-counter treatment that is anti-inflammatory and helps stop the formation of acne comedones.
Dermatologists can recommend it to match the complexion of a person's skin and lighten dark spots, in addition to preventing acne outbreaks.
If home remedies do not help get rid of dark spots, some people may want to consider medical treatments.
These can cause adverse reactions, so it is best to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option with a dermatologist before receiving treatment.
Medical treatments include:
Laser therapy uses a beam of light to eliminate areas of hyperpigmentation.
Research indicates that laser therapy is effective and gives lasting results. However, it is expensive and requires multiple sessions. It can lighten the skin surrounding the dark spots if the doctor accidentally attacks those areas. It could even produce a lighter point instead of the dark point.
Chemical peels exfoliate the skin but deepen more than other processes, such as microdermabrasion. Although they can be effective, strong chemical peels can burn the skin or even produce additional pigment changes.
This treatment can be expensive, and a person may require several sessions to achieve remarkable results.
People should avoid the use of very aggressive treatments on the skin, as they can cause damage to the skin and serious damage to internal organs.
For example, some online sources recommend the use of liquid bleach in dark spots. People should never apply this product to the skin, as it can cause painful burns.
In addition, it is important to be careful when buying skin brighteners and avoid those that contain mercury, which can appear in the lists of ingredients such as:
The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that soaps and skin-lightening creams containing mercury could cause:
Finally, mercury in cosmetic products also ends up in water. Here, it makes its way into the food chain, which means that people may end up eating fish that contains toxic levels of mercury.
It may not be possible to prevent all cases of dark spots on black skin, especially those that occur due to aging and hormonal changes.
However, it is possible to reduce the risk of their development:
People who find their dark spots annoying may want to see a dermatologist, especially if home remedies do not achieve satisfactory results.
Those who have skin conditions that trigger the development of dark spots should also consider making an appointment with a dermatologist to explore treatment options.
Dark spots are a common problem for people with black skin. They are harmless, but some people may wish to treat them for cosmetic reasons.
Home remedies include treating the underlying cause and using skin lighteners.
If these do not work, people can discuss the possibility of laser therapy or other treatments with a dermatologist.