When it comes to black skin care, dealing with those dreaded dark spots seems to be one of our biggest issues. It doesn’t matter if you are light-skinned or dark-skinned those dark spots just seem to appear.
Where Do They Come From?
The dark spots we see are from excess pigment that can form in (3) different ways:
-hormonal changes such as melasma
-inflammatory processes called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) in the form of dark marks that follow healed acne or trauma to the skin
Melasma is the condition where the skin darkens due to increased estrogen-type hormones during pregnancy or when taking birth control pills or hormone replacement. The condition is exacerbated with exposure to sunlight so it is crucial to wear sun protection daily.
Now I’m sure we have all seen those nasty souvenirs that are left over after a pimple has gone away or a cut has healed and the dark spot is left hanging around. That is what we call post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This is very common in black skin and can be quite annoying.
You may get a pimple that comes and goes but then you are left to deal with the dark spot that remains that can last for months at a time.
How Do You Get Rid Of Them?
The key really is to prevent them from forming in the first place. So you need to shield any blemish or wound, no matter how small, from the sun. Because the sun makes dark spots darker.
Sunscreen is a skin care step that is often skipped by blacks when caring for their skin but it is crucial. Just because we may not be “sun worshippers” does not mean that our skin cannot become sun damaged. Make sure you add a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 to your daily routine.
“The real secret to long-term management of hyperpigmentation is strict, daily, year round use of sunscreens and, as needed hydroquinone therapy to lighten the abnormal pigment.”~Dr Katie Rodan
Here is the regimen for treating dark spots recommended by Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, world-renowned dermatologists and creators of Proactiv Solutions.
Step 1: Exfoliate
-remove the dead skin cells so active ingredients can better penetrate
Step 2: Lighten and Brighten
-with hydroquinone being the anchor ingredient. The doctors have found it is best to layer lightening and brightening ingredients onto the skin.
-using a toner that contains hydroquinone is an effective way to provide a rapid dose of this highly effective lightening agent to the skin
-for best resutls, this should be followed with a hydroquinone lotion or cream which provides a more sustained dose, for prolonged treatment
Step 3: Protect
Treating skin for hyperpigmentation without protecting it from further sun exposure is like going up the down escalator. The sun will trigger more pigment to be released as you are trying to slow it down.
-wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen is extremely important when treating the dark spots to keep the unwanted pigment from returning.
Following this simple strategy will help to restore your skin’s brightness and clarity over about 60 to 90 days. I can attest to this. I have seen my own skin transform from spotty and dull to smooth and bright. Commit to a skin care routine and you will see results.
For more information on product recommendations for treating dark spots, or questions or comments about black skin care in general, feel free to leave a comment below or drop by my facebook page.
Tasha Nelson is a registered nurse and licensed esthetician who has a passion for skin care. She has struggled with acne and dark spots since the age of 12 but now has it under control with lifestyle adjustments and the proper skin care regimen. She is excited to help others get the healthy and radiant skin they've always wanted.