If you notice darker spots of skin on your face, it is likely that you have hyperpigmentation. This happens when melanin (the substance that gives our hair and skin colour) is overproduced in certain spots on the skin. This makes them appear darker than the rest of your complexion.
There are several reasons this happens, from age spots that are exposed to the sun, to a trauma on the skin (e.g. a bug bite). Many think they will fade in time, which they will, but not without scrubbing away the cells and treating it.
When dealing with hyperpigmentation, it’s important to look at both prevention and treatment.
An obvious, but important tip is to be careful in the sun. The exposure will bring out hyperpigmentation, so be sure to reapply your sun cream regularly. It is also important not to pick at your skin. Trauma like this can result in dark spots.
Men also have to be vigilant about ingrowing hairs as these can cause hyperpigmentation. Heat itself can also bring out pigmentation, so you may want to avoid steam rooms and hot yoga classes if you are developing hyperpigmentation.
Using a scrub often will help the skin cells renew, which over time will fade the dark spots. If you have sensitive skin, use a formula with fine granules or try a gentle, chemical exfoliant.
A key ingredient to look out for in brightening products is hydroquinone. Usually this is used in prescription-strength products, but it is available in lower concentrations over-the-counter. You do however have to be careful with it – if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant you shouldn’t use it, and you should only use it for six weeks at a time.
To receive tailored advice, you are recommended to speak to a professional dermatologist. They will be able to look at the type of pigmentation you have and tell you which treatment would work best.