In a perfect world, you would have completely flawless skin, agreed? Well, unfortunately, the world isn’t perfect, and neither is your skin. From pimples and fine lines to redness and lax skin, there’s always some niggle that gets your goat. And that’s OK because, while ageing is totally natural, you always want to look your best. We get that… and we’re also here to help.
So, let’s talk about dark spots (aka hyperpigmentation). As skin grievances go, dark spots are something you didn’t think twice about in your younger years. Yet all of a sudden, you look in the mirror one day and bam, there they are.
Have you been wondering what these dark patchy areas of your skin are all about? And where on earth they came from? Then let us explain…
What are dark spots?
Dark spots (or hyperpigmentation) occur when your skin’s melanin goes out of whack. Melanin is a natural pigment that determines your skin’s unique colour. So what upsets with your melanin and kick starts dark spot production?
Three Culprits Behind Your Dark Spots...
1. The Sun Has A Lot To Answer For!
Where your skin is concerned, that is. Premature lines, wrinkles, sunburn, skin cancer… and 'dark spots'. Also known as sun spots, liver spots, age spots (these are all the same thing by the way!).
Why? This particular type of dark spot occurs when prolonged sun exposure forces your body to produce more melanin to help protect itself. Over time, clumps of melanin form at the surface of your skin, resulting in pesky dark patches.
What To Look For: Typically flat, smooth and brown and found on areas of your skin that are most exposed to the sun, often seen in clusters.
2. Your Pesky Hormones
When your hormones go awry, boy does your skin know it. Hormone-induced dark spots are called melasma and they occur when fluctuations in oestrogen and progesterone stimulate the overproduction of melanin.
Women tend to experience melasma much more frequently than men, especially around major hormonal stages in life.
What To Look For: Melasma dark spots are most often seen on the face, around the cheeks, forehead, chin and above the mouth.
3. Skin Trauma
An insect bite, eczema, impetigo or even a pimple can result in inflammation and damage, leading to discolouration of the skin called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).
PIH is the most common type of dark spot and it’s your skin’s way of trying to protect and regenerate itself by over-producing melanin.
What To Look For: Dark, red or brown, smooth marks at the trauma site. These don’t damage the follicles and can fade over time. Scarring, on the other hand, is caused by collagen and affects texture as well as tone, usually leaving indents or raised bumps on your skin.
The Golden Rules For A More Even Skin Tone
Whatever the root cause of your dark spots, treating them is much the same and pretty easy when you know how! Here are some of the best ways to help ease dark patches and protect against more appearing...
Rule #1. Time To Get Smooth
One of the most powerful, tone-enhancing tricks for you to have up your sleeve is regular exfoliation.
Why? Regular exfoliation encourages cell turnover which ensures dead skin cells are sloughed away efficiently so the underlying fresher ones are able to come to the surface. This helps keep pores clean and really gets to work on dullness and discolouration.
Try: Natural Luminosity Scrub which contains almond meal powder and fine grade pumice, making it gentle enough for everyday use to really get to work on dullness and discolouration.
TAKE NOTE: Be gentle on your skin. Over-scrubbing and scrubbing with too much pressure can cause more damage. With our scrub, you don't need to apply hardly any pressure at all.
Rule #2. Definitely Detox...
Your skin that is! A regular deep clean of your pores to remove impurities is an absolute must for anyone hoping for a more even skin tone.
Why? Dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria, sweat and the likes build up deep in your pores and will only exasperate dark patches, making them appear worse than they are.
Try: Natural Element Face Mask will instantly make your complexion appear brighter and more balanced. And with the added benefit of being a mild exfoliant to help those all important new cells to shine through.
Rule #3. Reach For The Retinol
Retinol is the gold-standard for many skin concerns and has been proven to work on everything from lines and wrinkles through to acne breakouts. Well, dark spots better watch out, too...
Why? Retinol is another fabulous way to ensure your skin cells are efficiently turning over to help remove dulling, dead cells and speed up the production of new ones.
Try: Pre-Eminent Beauty Serum which contains retinyl palmitate, a retinol derivative that’s way kinder to your skin than some other, more potent retinoids.
Rule #4. C More Clearly
Topical antioxidants like vitamin C are essential for neutralising free radicals, restoring radiance and reviving dull skin. But vitamin C has so much more going for it when it comes to working on dark spots and revealing the glowing skin you deserve...
Why? Research shows that it contains properties that interrupt melanin production which reduces the amount your skin is able to produce. Music to the ears of more even, radiant skin!
Try: Organic Age-Defying Facial Oil which contains orange peel oil, orange blossom flower oil and rosehip seed oil which are all bursting with natural vitamin C.
Rule #5. Put Up A Strong Line Of Defence
The sun will always have an effect on melanin production which means it’ll make any form of dark spot worse – even if it was originally caused by other triggers. This makes shielding your skin from damaging UV radiation the most important thing of all if you want to:
a) prevent new dark spots from appearing, and...
b) stop existing patches from becoming more prominent.
Try: Organic Tinted Moisturiser with SPF 25 which is lightweight, non-comedogenic and available in four gorgeously adaptive shades to instantly even out skin tone. As well as nourishing your skin with age-defying botanicals, all whilst protecting your skin!
Always... Wear wide-brimmed hats and sunnies as much as possible and take time out in the shade. And, of course, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to exposed areas of your skin all-year-round.
If your dark spots don’t seem to be going away, are getting worse or are affecting your mental wellbeing, you should visit your GP or a dermatologist for advice.
Seriously stubborn dark spots may need a more invasive plan like chemical treatments as a last resort after trying more natural methods. Most importantly, anything that looks suspicious should always be checked out.