So – I’ve got dark spots. From sun damage when I was a careless teen lying out in Ibiza without SPF (ugh whyyyyy??!), to filming on the equator in Asia for weeks on end, to getting melasma during my pregnancy, I’ve got a smattering of dark spots on my forehead that cluster up towards my hairline. I cover them with makeup, but I’d love to get rid of them for good.
First things first, it’s important to understand what causes dark spots. The most common cause is sun damage, which happens naturally over the course of a lifetime. It’s especially common on areas that are most frequently exposed to the sun, like your face, hands, forearms and lower legs. Avoiding the sun completely is not a good solution because we still need Vitamin D, but spending too much time under it can take a serious toll on your skin. After a lot of exposure, discolorations in the form of freckles, dark spots, or even scars can form. If you’ll be spending time in the sun, it’s important to take measures to properly protect your skin. Treatments can be expensive, however, there are some ways to reduce and prevent dark spots as we get older, without spending thousands of dollars on laser facials (though those are great, too!). Read on for my tips on how to prevent – and get rid of – dark spots.
Anyone else’s mum and dad always pester them to put on sunscreen during childhood? If you’re like me, as a teenager you wanted to get tan without taking any precautions (baby oil, anyone??). Sun damage seemed like a faraway problem at the time, but we can often pay for these decisions later on in life. Now that I’m in my 30’s I never leave the house without SPF on my face, neck, chest and hands. Rain or shine, LA or London, you’ll always find me wearing at least SPF 20. Sunscreen is the most vital step in preventing any future dark spots from forming, and if you’re lucky enough not to have any at all, SPF will decrease your chances of getting them. If you plan to lay on a beach or near a pool, make sure to put sunscreen on your entire body at least 20 minutes before going outside, and remember to reapply every 2 hours (believe it or not, it loses its potency after this amount of time).
If you’re looking to decrease the sunspots you might already have, this is where heavy duty exfoliants come into play. The best kind of serums are ones that are intended to take off dead layers of skin, while brightening hyper-pigmentation and sun spots, with ingredients such as natural acids like glycolic and lactic. To make a real dent on the appearance of sun spots, these should be a part of your daily routine (take note: introducing acids into your skincare can take some adjustment. You might need to start once a week, increasing the frequency of use slowly as your skin adjusts until you’re able to use them daily). I love this Drunk Elephant night serum, and Glossier’s Solution is also a great one to try. *Just be sure to check with your doctor if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding as a lot of these can’t be used at that time – I’ve had to hold off on a few for now.
Eat. Your. Fruits! Not only is it fantastic for your external appearance but it builds your immune system and makes you stronger. But incorporating fruits and veggies such as guava, kiwi, oranges, strawberries, papayas and avocados into your everyday diet can make all the difference. If you guys watched my Q&A from a few months back, I talked about how eating an avocado everyday has really made my skin feel and look more radiant. In addition to adding Vitamin C internally, it also works wonders on your skin when applied topically. It has amazing brightening properties, which will help dissipate hyperpigmentation. This one from Skinceuticals is a heavy hitter that works wonders!
If all else fails, a little laser treatment might just do the trick. Yes, these are the more expensive options, but if you’re desperately trying to get rid of a spot that causes some serious self-esteem issues, then maybe it may be worth considering a harmless laser series. I went through something similar a few months back when I wanted to get rid of a visible vein under my eye (see my experience here). It’s often the quickest and most permanent solution to your skincare woes. My tip for this is do your research for the right aesthetician. They’ll tell you how to prep your skin before and look after it properly afterwards, which is crucial for how well the treatment will work, and last.
Shop my favorite products for fighting sun spots:
Shop my favorite foundations & concealers for hiding them!: