You work hard to make sure that your skin stays clean and healthy. Despite your efforts, you start to notice dark spots on your face. Dark spots can be frustrating, especially when you don’t know why they are on your skin. They can also be embarrassing and make you self-conscious.
If dark spots on your face are making you feel anything but confident, there are various treatment options that you can try out, starting today.
What Causes Dark Spots?
One dark spot on your face may be hardly noticeable but what if you have more than just a few dark spots? If you have brown patches on your skin, you’re not alone. Red patches on your face or black dots on your skin are also common.
Many women and men have skin discoloration on their face, and there are many causes responsible for the less than flawless skin.
Dark spots can be a result of genetics, pregnancy, UV light, acne scarring, and skin diseases. Hormonal shifts caused by stress, particularly for individuals between the ages of 20 and 50, can also cause dark spots.
Different Types of Dark Spots
Since dark spots on your face can be a result of most anything, it can be difficult to determine whether it’s a cause for concern or just part of the natural ageing process. Here are some of the most common types of dark spots.
Lentigines are better known as liver or age spots, and they are common on individuals over the age of 40. These spots are benign and occur on areas of the body that have sun exposure, such as the backs of hands and faces.
Lentigines may start on your skin as one dark spot, but it’s not uncommon for the number of spots to increase as you get older. The size of a spot can vary from 0.2 to 2 cm and are usually dark in color with an irregular shape.
If you have lentigines, monitor them closely. Watch for any changes in color, thickness, or irregular borders. Any changes in the spots should be examined by a medical professional, and a biopsy may be required to rule out skin cancer.
Women are more likely to have melasma than men, as hormones seem to trigger the common skin problem. Melasma is often known as “the mask of pregnancy,” although it can affect women and men.
Melasma most commonly appears as brown to gray-brown patches on the forehead, chin, above the upper lip and cheeks. While melasma commonly appears on the face, it can appear on parts of the body that have exposure to the sun such as the neck and forearms.
The severity or darkness of melasma varies with each individual, but it’s not a serious skin condition; just a nuisance to those that are affected by the darker patches and uneven skin tone.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is another common cause for black spots on your skin and appear when an injury or inflammation to the skin, such as a burn, has occurred. When the skin becomes inflamed or injured, it causes an increase in pigment production. PIH is more visible in individuals with darker skin tones but can affect all skin types and tones.
These scars may disappear over time or be more severe and need additional treatment. PIH is harmless but can be frustrating for those who are affected.
If you have a dark red spot on your face, there’s a good chance that it’s a pimple mark. These types of marks are a result of an acne breakout that left scarring. Acne breakouts can be mild to severe, and some pimple marks can be permanent while others disappear over time.
Pimple marks are not harmful, but they can be frustrating as they are difficult to cover up and can make many people feel self-conscious about their skin.
Professional Treatment Options
Even though your dark spots on your face may be unsightly, there are professional treatment options that may be suitable for your skin. We'll introduce you to some of the most common dark spot treatments, what they do, and if there are any drawbacks you need to know.
Whether you have a few dark spots on your face or a lot that you want to get rid of fast, laser treatment is a popular treatment as it’s used for a variety of skin issues. When lasers are used to remove blemishes in the skin, it’s known as photothermolysis.
The lasers in the treatment produce intense pulses of monochromatic light, which is a narrow band of wavelengths. It can help to “melt” the melanin that causes deep pigmentation and dark spots on the skin.
While laser treatment is often effective, it typically takes more than one treatment session depending on the severity of your skin issue. Sessions can cost upwards to over $1,000, and because it’s considered a cosmetic procedure, insurance may not cover the cost.
Some downsides may include skin sensitivity, puffiness, changes in skin pigmentation, burns from the laser, as well as itching and peeling of the skin.
A chemical peel is performed in a doctor’s office or surgery center and is considered to be an outpatient procedure. A chemical solution, which can be one or a combination of glycolic, trichloroacetic, salicylic, lactic, or carbolic acids, is applied to small, affected areas of your skin.
This solution creates a controlled wound and allows new skin to take its place. The skin will begin to peel after a few days and reveal a more even skin tone. Like laser treatments, chemical peels typically require more than one session and much like the higher cost of laser treatment, the cost may vary depending on how much of your face is treated.
Some downsides may include swelling, pain, blisters, infection, temporary or permanent pigmentation change, and sensitivity to the sun.
Microdermabrasion is a procedure that uses tiny exfoliating crystals that are sprayed onto your skin. If you have dark spots on your face, this is a gentler treatment than others. The changes are subtle, and there’s little to no risk for skin discoloration or scarring. Another plus is that it has a faster healing time.
Since microdermabrasion is a less involved process, it costs significantly less than laser treatments or chemical peels. Treatments may need to be repeated depending on your skin. Some downsides include skin looking sunburned, feeling dry and tight, and sensitivity to the sun for a day or two after the treatment.
If you’ve ever had a wart on your finger, you probably had it removed with liquid nitrogen. This treatment is called cryotherapy. One plus of this treatment is that it is a one-time treatment and there’s no need for a follow-up.
A special spray gun is filled with liquid nitrogen, and your doctor applies the liquid nitrogen to the dark spots on your face, which basically freezes the spot. Cryotherapy is relatively painless, although you may feel some mild discomfort.
Cryotherapy is probably the most cost effective when you are looking at the dark spot on your face treatment options. Some downsides may include blistering, scabbing, and the challenge of keeping the area dry as it heals.
If you want to know how to get rid of dark spots on your face but don’t have a budget for professional treatments, there are plenty of home remedies that work well and are natural.
Another plus of trying a home remedy is that you don’t need to set up an appointment to remove a black spot on your face; you can get started at home, right away. You don’t have to worry about uncomfortable side effects either.
As with all home remedies, some may work better than others. If you don’t see the results you were expecting, try a different remedy.
If you’re like many, you may just think of parsley as a garnish that is put on a plate in restaurants. The vitamins in parsley, A and C, help to renew the collagen production in your skin and fight free radicals to even out your skin tone, lightening and removing dark spots.
One remedy uses parsley, lemon juice, and honey. Chop up one head of parsley, put it in a blender and add one teaspoon of lemon juice and two teaspoons of honey. Pulse into a paste and apply the mixture on your face. Wash off with water after 20 minutes. Try this remedy every other day.
Another parsley remedy consists of making a parsley and lemon juice “tea.” Chop up one head of parsley, put it into 2 cups of water, let it boil and steep for about 10 minutes. Strain the water into a clean container and add one tablespoon of lemon. Let the solution cool and apply to your skin with a cotton ball and wash off after a half an hour. You can try this remedy every night.
If you want to know how to remove dark spots on your skin, the answer may be in your refrigerator. All the vitamins in milk are not only good for the inside of your body but also the health of your skin.
Mix four tablespoons of milk with two tablespoons of honey. Use a clean cotton ball to apply the paste directly to your dark spots and massage in circular motions for about 10 minutes. You can leave this paste on your skin for an additional 10 minutes and then wash it off with water. Try this treatment daily.
Lemons are loaded with Vitamin C and can help lighten the dark spots on your face. Simply squeeze some fresh lemon juice onto a cotton ball and rub it on your skin. Once it dries, wash it off with water and repeat this remedy for at least two weeks.
If you have sensitive skin, you may want to use water to dilute this solution. Avoid direct sunlight after this treatment as it may make your skin photosensitive and don’t try this if you have open sores. Don’t have a lemon on hand? Limes work, too.
The lactic acid in yogurt can helps peel away dead skin, much like a chemical peel. For a yogurt remedy that you can use three times a week, mix together two tablespoons of plain yogurt, one tablespoon of oatmeal (cooked), and one tablespoon of lemon juice.
Apply the paste all over your face and leave it on for about 20 minutes and wash it off with water. A similar remedy, which can be used daily, uses yogurt, mint, and rose water. Apply the paste to your face, leave on for 40 minutes, and wash off.
Want to get rid of that pesky black post on your face? Potatoes have natural bleaching properties, and the starch helps to reduce pigmentation. Try putting slices of potato on your dark spots, leave them on for a few minutes, and wash your face with lukewarm water.
You can also try a remedy that involves peeling and grating a potato, mixing it with one teaspoon of honey, and applying the mixture to your face like a mask. Let it sit and dry for about 15 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water.
While this home remedy may not smell the greatest, it’s worth a try. To make onion juice, use a juicer, blender, or grater to extract the juice. You can dip a clean cotton ball into the fresh onion juice and apply it directly to your skin, allowing it to dry naturally.
Another remedy involves mixing one tablespoon of onion juice with two tablespoons of honey. Apply to your dark spots and leave on for about 20 minutes. Both treatments should be washed off, and you can try using either one daily.
Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E does a great job of repairing damaged skin, and it can help get rid of dark spots. All you need to do is apply Vitamin E oil directly to your clean skin every day. Don’t have a bottle of oil? Use a pin to extract the oil from capsules.
Horseradish is a popular spicy condiment, but it may be hard to imagine applying it to your skin. Want to know how to remove acne scars and dark spots? Apply a horseradish paste every day. You can make a simple paste by blending grated horseradish with a little bit of water. Let the paste sit on your skin for about 20 minutes and then wash it off.
You can also add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of honey to the horseradish paste but only use this mixture three times a week.
Have a carton of buttermilk in your fridge? Try a little to lighten up your dark spots. Much like yogurt, buttermilk contains lactic acid. A simple remedy that you can use daily and doesn’t require any extra work involves dabbing buttermilk onto your dark spots, leaving it on your skin for 20 minutes and then washing it off.
If you have some tomato juice on hand, try mixing two teaspoons of tomato juice with four teaspoons of buttermilk. Apply the mixture to your face, leave on for about a half an hour, and wash off.
Pineapples are full of vitamins A and C, which is, as we mentioned earlier, good for your collagen and your skin overall. While it’s more convenient to buy pineapple juice, it’s more beneficial to buy a fresh pineapple.
Blend a quarter of a peeled pineapple and strain out the juice. Apply the juice with a cotton ball and leave it on your skin until it dries. Wash it off with water. Try this treatment daily.
You can also mix two tablespoons of the juice with two tablespoons of yogurt. Apply the paste to your face, leave on for about 25 minutes, and then wash off. Try this up to three times a week.
Honey is a natural exfoliator, which can help even out your skin tone and is kind of like a natural microdermabrasion. One of the nice things about honey is that it doesn’t go bad. As we mentioned earlier, you can mix honey with potatoes to make a paste/mask.
For this natural remedy, try to use raw honey whenever possible (not the overly processed honey found in the grocery store). Mix one tablespoon of honey with two tablespoons of tomato juice and make a paste. Apply the mixture to your face, focusing on the dark spots. Leave it on until it dries and wash off with warm water. This remedy is gentle enough to do twice a day.
Castor oil keeps your skin clean and contains Vitamin E, which can help diminish dark spots. Putting about five drops of castor oil on a cotton ball, twice a day, and dabbing your problematic skin areas works well. Leave the oil on your face for about an hour and wash it off.
You can also try equal parts castor oil and coconut oil, apply it to the skin, let it sit for about 15 minutes and wash it off. Try this once a day.
Want to know how to remove dark spots on your face by using aloe vera? If you already have an aloe plant, cut off a leaf and extract some of the fresh gel. Apply it to your face, massage gently, and allow the gel to sit for about 20 minutes.
Rinse your face and try this easy home remedy a few times a day until you start to see results. You can try store bought aloe gel in a pinch, but fresh from the leaf is best.
Snacking on some strawberries? Set a few aside to treat the dark spots on your face. Blend one tablespoon of honey with five strawberries in a blender. Apply the paste to your face, let it sit for about 40 minutes, rinse off with warm water, and try every other day.
Alternatively, try mashing some strawberries with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Apply the paste to your face, leave on for about 20 minutes, wash off with water, and try twice a week.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a great ingredient on its own or using in other home remedies (as we’ve mentioned a few already). A gentle daily remedy has equal parts of ACV, water, and honey (about one teaspoon each). Mix the ingredients together, apply the solution to your face and leave on for about 15 minutes. Wash it off with water.
Another ACV remedy is applied to your skin the same way, but should only be used every other day. Mix one teaspoon of ACV with two tablespoons of orange juice. Let it dry on your face and wash it off.
Papayas contain a papain enzyme, which exfoliates and evens out skin tone. If you are allergic to latex, you should not use papaya as a remedy for your dark spots.
A simple papaya remedy involves blending up half of a fruit and applying the paste to your face three times a week. Leave the paste on your face for about 20 minutes and wash off with warm water.
You can also blend together mashed papaya with two tablespoons and one teaspoon of coconut oil. Apply the paste to your face for about half an hour, and wash it off of your face. Like the first remedy, try this three times a week.
Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties which are ideal for treating problematic skin. This basic recipe can be applied to your face three times a week and includes three tablespoons of ground up oats, one tablespoon of honey, and one tablespoon of milk. Mix the ingredients into a paste, apply to your face, let it dry and wash it off with water.
Another good face paste to try twice a week includes two tablespoons of ground oats, one half of a teaspoon of turmeric powder, one tablespoon of gram flour (also known as chickpea flour), one teaspoon of green tea leaves, and water. Make a paste, let it dry, and wash it off.
Sweet Almond Oil
For decades, sweet almond oil has been used to treat skin conditions, thanks to all the healthy acids and vitamins. You can buy almond oil (much like Vitamin E oil) and apply it to your face directly, massaging gently, and using once a day. There’s no need to wash it off.
If you’re looking for another face paste recipe to try out, mix four to five drops of almost oil with two teaspoons of lime juice, one teaspoon of honey, and one tablespoon of milk powder. Apply the paste to your face and leave it on for about a half an hour. Wash it off and apply up to three times a week.
Want a natural exfoliant that’s gentle enough to use on a regular basis? Sugar is inexpensive and convenient. Gently massage some sugar on your face in circular motions and wash it off your skin.
Maybe you’ve placed cucumber slices on your eyes when you’re feeling fatigued, or you have bags under your eyes. Cucumber is loaded with vitamins that are great for your skin. This gentle daily mask will get rid of dark spots. Blend one cucumber, a half of a teaspoon of aloe vera gel, and one tablespoon of lemon juice.
Apply the mixture to your face and leave it for a half an hour and wash it off with water. You can also try making a face paste by blending together one cucumber and two tablespoons of yogurt. Follow the same directions as above.
Do you put sugar on your tomatoes? It works great for your skin, too. Dip slices of tomato with sugar and massage your face for up to 10 minutes. Leave the mixture of sugar and tomato on your skin for about ten minutes and wash off with water.
You can also make a mixture of two tablespoons of tomato juice and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Apply it to your skin, wait for it to dry, and wash it off. Try this remedy once a day.
If you’ve used calamine lotion before, it was probably for an insect bite or to treat the itch of poison ivy. The kaolin in the lotion is effective in getting rid of dark spots. All you need to do is apply some of the lotion to the dark spots on your face, keep it on overnight, and wash it off in the morning. Try this simple remedy daily.
Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, are a delicious addition to many dishes but can also help remove dark spots. Try blending the beans with water (start with one half of a cup each) until it forms a paste. Apply the paste to your skin, leave it on for about a half an hour, and wash it off.
You can also add lemon juice to your bean paste. If you add lemon juice, try every other day, but the regular bean paste can be applied every day.
You might not have sandalwood powder on hand, but you can order some online or find some at your local beauty store. Make a thick paste of one tablespoon sandalwood powder, one tablespoon of glycerin, and three tablespoons of milk, honey, or rosewater.
Leave the paste on your skin for up to 30 minutes and wash off with warm water. You can also make a paste with two tablespoons of sandalwood powder, three tablespoons of orange juice, and four to five drops of Vitamin E oil. Make a paste and follow the same direction as above. Use up to three times a week.
Orange peel powder is easy to make at home. All you need to do is dry them and grind them up into a fine powder. Try making a face paste with one tablespoon of orange peel powder with two tablespoons of yogurt and follow the application process we mentioned early.
Another paste recipe includes two tablespoons of orange peel powder, two tablespoons of milk, and one tablespoon of honey. Use either remedy once a day.
It’s likely that you use turmeric in your cooking, but maybe you’ve never used it on your skin. Turmeric contains curcumin, an antioxidant that helps remove dark spots from your skin. We will share two remedies, but it’s important to remember that if you leave a face paste (containing turmeric) on for over 20 minutes, your skin could stain.
For one paste, mix a half of a teaspoon of turmeric powder with one teaspoon of lemon juice and two tablespoons of milk. Apply to your face and wash off after 15 minutes. For another paste, mix a half of a teaspoon of turmeric with one and a half tablespoons of yogurt and one teaspoon of olive oil. Wash off after 20 minutes. Try either remedy a few times a week.
How to Prevent Dark Spots on Your Face
While some of the causes of dark spots on your skin are unavoidable, such as hormonal changes due to pregnancy, you may be able to prevent spots from forming in the first place. While catching some rays are an important source of Vitamin D, sun exposure is a major factor in dark spots.
One of the best ways to prevent dark spots is protecting yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen and avoiding the sun at peak times. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and layers if you’re spending time outdoors in the sun.
When to See a Dermatologist
Most of the remedies are gentle enough to use daily, but if you’re not seeing any improvement or the results you were expecting, it may be time to seek professional advice from a dermatologist.
You should also make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist if your dark spots start to change, itch, or cause pain.