Dark spots, whether hyperpigmentation or age spots, are some of the many things that can make your complexion look uneven. Some dark spots are a result of sun damage and are post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Others are just signs of aging. However, sometimes, they are the only thing keeping you from your no-makeup goal. If you want to achieve flawless skin and a no-makeup type of complexion, know that there are many ways to treat dark spots. However they are not all equal.
It may be difficult to know what facial treatment to go for. After all, there are many ways to treat dark spots and other similar skin conditions. Which treatment will help you get rid of dark spots then? Are they safe and FDA approved? Is it better to go to a board certified dermatologist or a specialized spa?
Worry not! We are here to help you find the best way to remove dark spots from your face and make sure you give your skin cells a good boost!
What are dark spots?
Dark spots are post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. According to Melissa Doft, M.D., dark spots are due to the overproduction of melanin in the skin by melanocytes. This extra melanin can appear everywhere on the body. It is not specific to the face and can be triggered by a lot of different factors.
Hormones can increase the level of melanin, whether it be estrogen and progesterone. Therefore, going through an intense hormonal change such as pregnancy or hormone therapy, can cause dark spots. Sun exposure can increase melanin levels too. That is why you can get more dark spots during the summer. Remember to apply a strong physical sunblock with SPF 30 at least.
Melanocytes grow in size as people age. That is why older people seem to suffer more from hyperpigmentation. Other factors include skin irritation as a result of acne, waxing, sun damage and harsh scrubs.
In the end, dark spots are a natural reaction from the skin cells. They want to protect themselves against external aggressors. That is why they produce more pigments. Knowing what causes dark spots helps understand how to remove them for your face (and/or body).
How to get rid of facial hyperpigmentation?
There are many ways to get rid of dark spots on your face. Which method to choose is another question however. There are a few natural ways to remove post inflammatory hyperpigmentation for your face. More often than not, a tiny life change will contribute to improving your skin health a lot. Whatever method you choose, you want to make sure it is approved and recommended by dermatologists.
At Infinity Laser Spa, we offer four different treatments that will help you get rid of dark spots on the face. Some are laser-based treatments while others are more gentle to the skin. Some others are glycolic acid based, some will lighten dark spots. More treatments will require some downtime.
Fractional CO2 Laser Treatment
Fractional CO2 laser is great to treat acne scars and wrinkles as well as any other sign of aging. It also works great on dark spots and hyperpigmentation. CO2 laser is the most expensive dark spot removal option. It is, however, the most impactful. A few sessions can make a great addition to your skin care routine.
The laser will produce a concentrated beam of light that targets a specific object, here the pigment, that it will break up. CO2 laser removes dark spots by eliminating the pigment particles in the skin. It is however a procedure that requires time and a good tolerance to pain.
CO2 laser destroys pigments in the skin, triggering a healing process. There will be a downtime of two to three weeks. The skin is then red, peeling and very sensitive. The healing process carries on even after the skin gets back to normal, producing new skin cells and completing the skin renewal process.
This procedure helps to remove hyperpigmentation, to renew the skin, reduce wrinkles and treat acne scars. To ensure the best results, technicians advise clients to come for two up to four sessions.
Fractional CO2 laser has a rather long downtime. That is why a lot of patients shy away from that procedure. Instead, they choose a milder treatment to remove dark spots. Microdermabrasion is a less invasive treatment that is based on exfoliation. It is very gentle to the skin.
Microdermabrasion is best described as a “non-chemical procedure that is non-ablative” and that “does not destroy skin tissue”. This would explain why it does not require a long recovery time. The procedure is performed with a special diamond tip.
It does not require downtime since it is so much gentler to the skin than a fractional laser. Microdermabrasion is however less effective and best to target milder hyperpigmentations and other skin conditions. The results will be modest in terms of improving the appearance of skin discoloration.
There is not just one type of chemical peels. However, if you are looking to remove dark spots, a glycolic acid peel, or Hollywood peel, is what you need. The treatment will gently exfoliate the skin to remove the upper layers of dead skin cells. This will reduce the dull appearance of the skin and make it glow.
Glycolic acid peels are not a one off thing. The more you do it the better as the results of each successive treatment builds on the previous one, thus improving your skin. Over time, glycolic acid peels will stimulate collagen production. It will enhance cellular turnover and reduce the appearance of dark spots.
However, glycolic acid peels are not without risks or side effects. They can burn the skin should they be too strong, especially as they can be very harsh on sensitive skins. Chemical peels are a milder dark spot removal alternative than a fractional CO2 laser treatment. They also do not have downtime.
Microneedling is another treatment to remove dark spots on the face. It requires the use of a stainless steel roller, also called a derma roller, covered with hundreds of tiny spikes. The derma roller will create micro-injuries in the skin in an effort to boost collagen production. A microneedling facial will also contribute to boosting skin elasticity.
As microneedling became a growing trend with the coming of home derma rollers, it may be tempting to do it at home. However, microneedling at home is not as safe and efficient as an in-spa treatment. Book a free consultation with a facialist prior to making a decision.
Microneedling facials are safe on all types of skins and do not have a downtime. It is a minimally invasive treatment. You may experience a bit of redness after the facial but it will fade within a few hours. Patients should see a brighter complexion a week after the treatment. We advise patients to do four to seven treatments for the best results.
How to prevent dark spots
While some people will be completely comfortable with having dark spots on their face, others will want to remove them. Preventing dark spots outbreaks remains the best thing to do. Avoiding skin damage is typically the best solution.
Reduce sun exposure and protect your skin against sun damage. Always apply a strong physical sunblock with SPF 30 at least. Moisturize your skin and get into a healthy consistent skin care routine.
The sun remains the major cause of skin damage and hyperpigmentation. Sun protection is the best way to prevent dark spots outbreaks and help them fade away.