How To Get Rid Of Dark Spots On Black Skin

Dark Spots On Black Skin

The appearance of dark spots on black skin is a common concern among patients with darker skin types. These dark spots can look like a “black rash” after scratching. These dark spots on black skin are caused by skin inflammation.

There are many face creams and serums to treat these spots, but do they work? All products will work best when combined together in a skin care routine to treat hyperpigmentation in which every step helps the other products work better.

and can be the result of a number of factors, such as sun exposure and inflammation.

If you have dark spots on the skin, your skin pigment is not dispersed evenly. This leads to an uneven skin tone.

Here are some of our expert dermatologist’s top tips to get rid of discoloration and unevenness on Fitzpatrick 4, 5 and 6 Skin Types. To read more about skincare products for darker skin types, click here.

There are a number of treatments to remove hyperpigmentation and dark spots on black skin and other dark skin types, but your best bet is to take the Skin Type Quiz to find the best skin care routine to match your Baumann Skin Type. Here is some general advice, but we can give you more specific advice once you take the quiz.

Laser Treatments for Dark Spots on Black Skin

Lasers used to remove dark spots on the skin target the pigment melanin. Because darker skin types have more melanin in the skin, the laser is not a good choice to treat hyperpigmented spots. Using laser on dark skin can result in burns and scarring. It is best to stick to skincare or see a Skin of Color Dermatology specialist who can use chemical peels. It is critical to see an doctor experienced in treating Fitzpatrick Skin Types 4,5,and 6. Look for a doctor at the Skin of Color Society web site. If you do not have a skin of color dermatology specialist, don't worry- most dark spots are best treated with skin care. Topical skincare treatments for dark spots are the safest way to treat dyspigmentation on dark skin.

Why Do I Get Dark Spots on Black Skin?

The skin’s natural pigment is called melanin, which is made by cells called melanocytes deep in the surface of the skin. While everyone has the same number of melanocytes, some people make more melanin than others . This can be due to genetics, hormones, sun exposure or inflammation. This increased melanin production can cause dark spots on black skin.

To learn more about what causes skin color click here.

The main causes of the increase in melanin production are sun exposure and inflammation. Inflammation is caused when the blood vessels dilate, making the skin look pink or red in lighter skin tones. However, brown and black skin tones often cannot see this redness on the skin and do not realize their skin is inflamed or sun-damaged.

This inflammation - whether the result of sun exposure, rosacea, sensitive skin, or using the wrong skin care products - triggers the melanocytes to create more melanin, leading to dark spots on the skin.

How Does Treating Dark Spots on Black Skin Differ To Light Skin?

Skin lightening ingredients in your skin care routine can turn off the production of melanin, but in black skin, it is imperative not to use them all over your face or they will lighten the skin color of your entire face. The goal is to even skin tone by only lightening the darkened areas.

You should only use a dark spot corrector for black skin directly on the dark spot by applying with your finger or a cotton swab. Try not to get the product on the surrounding skin as this can cause an undesirable halo effect. which is a light area around the dark spot.

The Best Skin Care Routine For Dark Spots on Black Skin

We generally recommend the following skin care routine to treat dark spots on black skin, though it’s best to take our Skin Type Quiz to get a personalized routine based on your Baumann Skin Type.

You should always start your skin care routine with an exfoliating cleanser or face scrub to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. This paves the way for the skin-lightening products in your routine, allowing them to better penetrate the skin. Do not over exfoliate as this will lead to inflammation and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. How often to exfoliate and what exfoliators to use depends upon your Baumann Skin Type.

Once your face is cleansed, you should apply a suitable eye cream to protect the delicate eye area from any skin-lightening treatments you may apply, which will follow. However, remember not to apply the hyperpigmentation cream or serum to your entire face - it should only be applied to the dark spots to lighten them to match the rest of your skin and give you an even skin tone.

You should top off your skin care routine with a moisturizer and always wear an SPF during the day to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. While it is true that darker skin tones can take longer to burn, it is often the case that you are unable to see the redness that the sun causes, which stimulates the excess production of melanin and leads to dark spots on black skin.

At nighttime, we recommend using a retinoid (vitamin A), which helps to even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin.

Types of Skin Lightening Ingredients To Treat Dark Spots on Black Skin

There are many categories of skin lighteners. Whether you are treating melasma, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation or dark spots from acne, you need a combination of these types of ingredients for the best results.

The Best Hyperpigmentation Creams for Dark Spots on Black Skin

Hyperpigmentation creams to treat dark spots contain combinations of ingredients listed above. The problem with skin lightening ingredients is they can get easily inactivated by other skincare products. This is why every product in the regimen matters. Cleansers and moisturizers affect the efficacy of skin lightening creams as do retinoids.

Here are the Best Skin Lightening for Dark Dry Skin

Medature Hydro Bright Treatment is an excellent hyperpigmentation cream for dry or oily skin. We like it because it is not as expensive as many skin lightening products. This dark spot remover contains hexylresorcinol, a skin brightener that helps to repair dark spots on the skin, as well as prevent the formation of new discoloration. In addition, niacinamide further treats hyperpigmentation, protects against sun damage, and supports the skin barrier, while chamomile soothes and calms the skin to reduce inflammation. It is one of our favorites. We also like these:

Here are The Best Skin Lightening Treatments for Dark Oily Skin

Taking a Break From Skin Lighteners Will Help Them Work Better

The skin lightening treatments above work well for 12-16 weeks but then your skin gets used to them. We recommend taking a 4 week break from skin lighteners and using Vitamin C serums instead. Then when you restart the skin lighteners they will work better.

The Best Hyperpigmentation Vitamin C Serums for Dark Spots on Black Skin

It is normal for Vitamin C serums to sting a bit when applied because they are a low pH to help the ascorbic acid penetrate into the skin. Once you open a Vitamin C product you need to use it in 4- 6 weeks because it goes bad quickly. One way to tell if your Vitamin C needs to be replaced is it turns dark. Make sure you keep it out of bright light or sun exposure and that you replace the lid after each use. This will help prolong the life of your Vitamin C serum. You can also keep your ascorbic acid serum in the refrigerator if you are going to go a few days without using it. Vitamin C serums are expensive so take care to get the most out of it by using it up as fast as you can before it goes bad. How you order it in the skincare routine is critical. Follow the order of steps as we recommend in your customized regimen to make sure you are getting the most from your Vitamin C serum.

These are our favorite dermatologist recommended Vitamin C Serums:

How To Treat Dark Spots on the Face With Supplements and Diet

Read about how Vitamins, Supplements and Diet can affect melasma and dyspigmentation on the face. Reducing stress and eating anti-inflammatory foods can help even the skin tone.

In Summary

Dark spots on black skin are a common concern among those with darker skin types; however, there is a range of hyperpigmentation treatments for black skin available suitable for your unique skin type. The best way to remove dark spots on black skin is with a personalized skin care routine that you use consistently. DO NOT forget daily sunscreen. The light from your computer and phone can be making your dark spots worse. Look for a tinted sunscreen with iron oxides that will look better on your skin and help block light from your mobile phone and computer.

Level up your skin care knowledge with medical advice from dermatologists

Best References and Scientific Publications on Treating Dark Spots in Skin of Color:

  1. Baumann L. Depigmenting Ingredients in Ch. 41 of Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology Ed 3. (McGraw Hill 2022)
  2. Williams, K., Gutierrez, D. Woolery-Lloyd, W. Skin of Color in Ch. 15 of Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology Ed 3. (McGraw Hill 2022)
  3. Baumann, L. Chapters.32-45  Cosmeceuticals and cosmetic Ingredients (McGraw Hill 2015)
  4. Baumann, L. (2016). Cosmeceuticals in skin of color. , 35, 4, 35(4), 233-237.
  5. Callender, V. D., Baldwin, H., Cook-Bolden, F. E., Alexis, A. F., Stein Gold, L., & Guenin, E. (2022). Effects of topical retinoids on acne and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in patients with skin of Color. American journal of clinical dermatology, 1-13.
  6. Davis, E. C., & Callender, V. D. (2010). Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation: a review of the epidemiology, clinical features, and treatment options in skin of color. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 3(7), 20.
  7. Woolery-Lloyd, H., & Kammer, J. N. (2011, September). Treatment of hyperpigmentation. In Seminars in cutaneous medicine and surgery (Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 171-175). WB Saunders.
  8. Markiewicz, E., Karaman-Jurukovska, N., Mammone, T., & Idowu, O. C. (2022). Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in dark skin: Molecular mechanism and skincare implications. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, 2555-2565.
  9. Mpofana, N., Chibi, B., Visser, T., Paulse, M., Finlayson, A. J., Ghuman, S., ... & Dlova, N. C. (2023). Treatment of Melasma on Darker Skin Types: A Scoping Review. Cosmetics, 10(1), 25.
  10. Baumann, L., Rodriguez, D., Taylor, S. C., & Wu, J. (2006). Natural considerations for skin of color. Cutis, 78(6 Suppl), 2-19.

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