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Still have dark spots after 3 months on a skin care routine? What to do now to get rid of spots?

My dark spots won't go away!

Dark spots on the skin can take a very long time to clear. In some stubborn melasma cases, dark spots won't go away.

Most dark spots clear in 12 - 16 weeks, but in moderate to severe cases of melasma it can take longer.


chnage your skin care routine to get rid of dark spots

Why Dark Spots Won't Go Away On Skin

Dark spots won't go away for a few reasons:

Skin lighteners with tyrosinase inhibitors stop working after 4 months so you need to take a 4 week holiday from them and restart them so they will work better.


This is why when you have melasma or dark spots that will not go away, you need to alternate between a Treatment Skin Care Routine and a Maintenance Skin Care Routine until the darks spots clear.

How long it will take for the dark spots to completely clear will depend upon:

  • How deep in the skin they are
  • How much light and heat you are exposed to
  • If you wear SPF every day even indoors

For stubborn dark spots to go away you need to use the full skin care routine that we recommend every day.

What to do if you have used your recommended skin care routine correctly and your dark spots are still visible?

Zerafite Skin Brightening Barrier Cream is our favorite moisturizer to use in a skin care routine to lighten dark spots because it has artemisia capillaris and unsaturated fatty acids.


It was designed to make other skin lighteners in the skin care routine work better. You can use this moisturizer in both your treatment and maintenance regimen because it does not contain tyrosinase inhibitors.




Change your skin care routine after 3-4 months

Use A Maintenance Routine That Is Tyrosinase Inhibitor Free

You nee to take a holiday from tyrosinase inhibitors because they stop working and will not make dark spots go away after about 4 months on them.  Taking a holiday for 2-4 weeks will make them work better.

So stop tyrosinase inhibitors. These are found in Step 3 of your AM and PM routine.


Use one of these ingredients in your Step 3 instead:


See our suggested routine for your tyrosinase holiday (maintenance regimen) below.


Use Vitamin C in Step 2 Instead of Eye Cream

You can also replace your Step 2 eye cream with a vitamin C serum. You do not need to stop your eye cream, I am just trying to keep the number of steps in your routine under 5.  If you do not mind 6 regimen steps and you want to use Vitamin C followed by eye cream that is fine too.


If you do this your routine step order will be:

  1. Cleanser
  2. Vitamin C serum
  3. Eye Cream
  4. Skin Lightening Serum without tyrosinase inhibitors
  5. Moisturizer with unsaturated fatty acids
  6. Sunscreen or retinoid

Vitamin C Serums:





skin care routine to keep dark spots from coming back

Best tyrosinase inhibitor free skin care products

These skin care products are perfect to use in Step 3 of your am and pm routines when you are taking a tyrosinase inhibitor holiday because your dark spots have not gone away.  You can also use these when dark spots have gone away to keep the dark spots from coming back.




I interview the cosmetic scientist who developed Alastin A-Luminate Brightening Serum on my YouTube @SkinTypeSolutions Channel if you want to learn the complicated science behind how it works to target dark spots that are stubborn and won't go away.

Make sure you are always choosing skin care products that are right for your Baumann Skin Type! Using the wrong products can lead to inflammation which worsens dark spots.




Look for your Baumann Skin Type octagon in the product description page. You can find your skin type results here.

alternate between 3 regimens when dark spots won

Restart Your Skin Lightening Regimen after 4 weeks

Your tyrosinase inhibitor holiday only needs t  be 2-4 weeks.  Then you can go back to your recommended skin care routine which is here.

Dark spots on the skin that won't go away can be frustrating. 

If you need to find a doctor or medical provider near you to help you with your dark spots, you can find one here.


You can also ask us for advice on social media.

Level up your skin care knowledge with medical advice from dermatologists

Best References and Scientific Publications on Dark Spots That Won't Go Away:

  1. Gutierrez, D. Skin Pigmentation Disorders in Ch. 20 of Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology Ed 3. (McGraw Hill 2022)
  2. Baumann, L. Uneven Skin Tone in Ch. 14 of Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology Ed 3. (McGraw Hill 2022)
  3. Baumann, L. Chapters 32-45.  Cosmeceuticals and cosmetic Ingredients (McGraw Hill 2015)
  4. Kasraee, B., Mansouri, P., & Farshi, S. (2019). Significant therapeutic response to cysteamine cream in a melasma patient resistant to Kligman's formula. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 18(1), 293-295.
  5. Malek, J., Chedraoui, A., Nikolic, D., Barouti, N., Ghosn, S., & Abbas, O. (2013). Successful treatment of hydroquinone‐resistant melasma using topical methimazole. Dermatologic therapy, 26(1), 69-72.
  6. Bala, H. R., Lee, S., Wong, C., Pandya, A. G., & Rodrigues, M. (2018). Oral tranexamic acid for the treatment of melasma: a review. Dermatologic Surgery, 44(6), 814-825.
  7. Bhatia, V., Bubna, A. K., Subramanyam, S., Veeraraghavan, M., Rangarajan, S., & Sankarasubramanian, A. (2016). Stubborn facial hypermelanosis in females: A clinicopathologic evaluation. Pigment International, 3(2), 83-89.
  8. Kundu, R. V., Aderibigbe, O., & Riley, J. M. (2023). Managing Facial Hyperpigmentation. JAMA dermatology.

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