Hyper pigmentation is something that has plagued me as far back as I can remember. Dark spots (or hyper pigmentation) occurs when there is an over-secretion of melanin (the pigment responsible for skin colour). This can be caused by various reasons, including hormone imbalance, acne scarring, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, stress and pregnancy. It’s best to check with your GP to find out what the cause is for you but when they do occur you’ll be glad to know there are a few ways to get rid of pesky dark marks.
Dark patches and discolouration is often evident in dry skin and dryness is worsened by extreme weather, both hot and cold. Drinking plenty of water will help keep the skin hydrated, but try to moisturise daily too. It’s best to use gentle, unfragranced creams suitable for sensitive skin to prevent causing any irritation. When washing, avoid scolding hot showers as this can dry out the skin. Also swap out any harsh soaps or shower gels for more moisturising formulas with natural oils like jojoba and sweet almond.
A build up of dead skin cells can lead to clogged pores and uneven skintone. Counter this by gently exfoliating as often as you find necessary. Exfoliation also encourages the formation of new healthy skin, making your skin appear brighter and fresher. You can use a scrub (like this one), body brush or exfoliating gloves to slough away any excess skin.
3 Natural masks
By raiding your kitchen cupboards you may find a natural solution for dark marks. Lemons, potatoes, milk or tumeric can be mixed and matched together into a face mask to help even out the skin. It's best to do these treatments at night, particularly as they tend to have a subtle bleaching effect which might make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Apply for at least 10-15 minutes to give the mask time to work and moisturise afterwards to keep the skin hydrated. Natural masks are not an instant fix so repeated applications will be needed depending on the severity of your dark marks.
4 Ditch shaving
Using a razor regularly irritates the skin and the resulting short, sharp hairs from shaving can grow back into the skin causing bumps and discolouration. You can either lessen how often you shave to prevent problems or switch to using hair removal creams or wax to get rid of any pesky hairs. The latter methods pull hair out from the root and generally don’t have to be done as often as shaving, preventing dark marks from occurring.
It's not just fair skin that needs an SPF. By applying a liberal amount of sun protection every day (yes even in Winter) your face and body is shielded from the sun rays, preventing sun damage. Several makeup and skincare brands now include products with small amounts of SPF to make protecting your skin easier. If you want maximum protection it's best to apply sun protection separately underneath your foundation. Look for products which claim to protect against both UVA and UVB damage.
6 Professional Treatments
If you find your dark marks particularly embarrassing a professional treatment on the recommendation of your doctor or dermatologist might be your best solution. Popular treatments which help lessen the appearance of dark marks are laser treatments, microdermabrasion and chemical peels. These treatments are more invasive than using natural products, so the effects can be more dramatic and seen much more rapidly.