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When it comes to your skin, it’s probably safe to say that you’re not a fan of fine lines and wrinkles or dark spots. And we hate to be the bearer of bad news—but hey, someone’s gotta do it. Here goes: Unfortunately, there’s no way to get rid of dark spots once you have them. Don’t freak out, though! There is a silver lining: By maintaining a consistent skin care routine including a dark spot corrector, exfoliating face mask, and skin care products formulated with ingredients like glycolic acid, you can help minimize the appearance of dark spots over time. And of course, you can always conceal dark spots with makeup.
Dr. Rocio Rivera, head of scientific communications for L'Oréal Paris, says that minimizing the appearance of dark spots all lies with being persistent. “It's like working out—you need to be consistent,” she says. Ready to commit to a skin care routine to help minimize the look of your dark spots? Before you start, it’s important to understand what causes dark spots in the first place. Below, learn about some of the reasons why people may get dark spots, ways to help minimize the appearance of dark spots, and makeup tips and tricks for concealing dark spots.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), sun damage is the main cause of dark spots. Here’s what’s going on: When you spend prolonged amounts of time in the sun without protection (ahem-like wearing broad-spectrum SPF), this can lead to damage, which can show up as visible signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles or dark spots down the road. According to the AAD, you can get dark spots regardless of your skin type, but darker skin tones are more prone to developing them.
Now that you know what can cause dark spots, you can create a consistent skin care routine to help address them. Remember, while you can’t get rid of dark spots, you can help reduce their appearance and prevent new ones from appearing. Rocio says that most importantly, you should protect your skin—and that means taking sun protection measures every day!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Taking daily sun protection measures should be at the top of your skin care agenda—and that goes for everyone, not just those with dark spots. Pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, since this can help protect against the sun’s two types of rays: UVA and UVB. You know how we told you that spending time in the sun without taking the proper protection measures (which also include seeking shade and covering up) can lead to damage down the road? Well, then it makes sense that wearing a sunscreen with broad spectrum SPF can help to protect against future damage.
Just remember: Applying SPF once in the morning on your way out the door isn’t enough. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends reapplying every two hours. As far as how much SPF you should use, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends wearing an SPF of 15 or higher on normal days and an SPF of 30 or higher on days that you’ll be spending an extended amount of time out in the sun. And don’t skip out when the skies are gray! According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, you can still get burned on cloudy days.
Applying a sunscreen with SPF should be the last step in your skin care routine, so slather it on after using a facial cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. If you’re super-busy, reach for a moisturizer formulated with SPF to help cut down on the number of steps in your skin care routine. Try the L'Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Day Moisturizer SPF 30, a hydrating moisturizer formulated with broad-spectrum SPF. It can help to visibly correct the look of dull, uneven tone and fine lines and wrinkles with continued use over time.
You should take other sun protection measures as well. Limit your amount of time in the sun (especially during peak hours, which are between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.), seek shade, and cover up exposed areas in long sleeves, pants, a broad-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses.
Although you can’t get rid of dark spots, there are steps you can take to help diminish their appearance. Ready to learn how? Add the following three skin care tips for dark spots to your skin care routine.
1. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! According to the AAD, glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). The AAD explains that AHAs such as glycolic acid can help exfoliate skin’s surface and reduce the appearance of dark spots over time. How often should you exfoliate, you ask? There’s no one answer—it depends on the individual. While some people can handle daily exfoliation, others may only need to do so once or twice a week. Pay attention to how your skin responds to determine what works best for your skin. The L'Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Scrub Cleanser is formulated with gentle micro-pearls and glycolic acid. It can help exfoliate dullness and impurities and improve skin tone. To use, lather it into wet hands, gently massage it onto your face in circular motions, then rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Since AHAs like glycolic acid can increase your sensitivity to the sun, you should always follow up by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher as directed and taking other sun protection measures afterwards.
2. Use a dark spot corrector. Daily UV exposure and age can result in the appearance of a dull, uneven skin tone. So, another skin care product worth considering using is a dark spot correcting cream or serum. The L'Oréal Paris Youth Code™ Dark Spot Correcting & Illuminating Serum Corrector can help fade the look of dark spots and even out your skin tone with continued over time. To use, all you have to do is apply it over your face morning and night, after cleansing but before moisturizing.
3. Add a peel pad to your nighttime skin care routine. As you age, your skin’s natural ability to shed surface dead skin cells slowly declines, which can cause dark spots and uneven tone to become more visible—and this can leave your skin looking duller and older. The L'Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Peel Pads are formulated with glycolic acid to help reduce the look of uneven skin tone and wrinkles. These peel pads have a multi-ply texture, so they can also help physically resurface dead skin. The peel pads have an immediate brightening effect, and your skin tone will look more even with continued use over time. At night, gently smooth a peel pad over cleansed skin and follow up with moisturizer. In the morning, don’t forget to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher as directed, because newly revealed skin can be more sensitive to the sun.
Have dark spots? You don’t have to feel self-conscious about your complexion anymore. When it comes to hiding dark spots, it’s all about using the right products and application techniques. So, what are you waiting for? Try the tips below!
1. Hop on the color correction bandwagon. If you have dark spots—or any other skin imperfection, for that matter—it’s time to add a color correcting concealer to your makeup bag. In order to really understand how the color correcting technique works, bring yourself back to your middle school art class. Remember the color wheel? The colors that are opposite each other on the wheel cancel each other out—and color correcting concealer uses the same concept. Peach can help to disguise dark spots and dark circles, yellow can help to conceal discoloration, purple can help to hide dullness, and green can help to neutralize redness. The L'Oréal Paris True Match™ Color Correcting Crayons come in three shades to mask the appearance of dark spots: peach for fair to light skin tones, bisque for light to medium skin tones, and orange of medium to deep skin tones.
2. Follow up with a flesh-toned concealer. Need a little extra coverage? Once you’re done color correcting, use a flesh-colored concealer. The L'Oréal Paris Infallible Total Cover Concealing & Contour Kit comes with four shades. You can mix and match shades to create a custom hue that’s close to your skin tone. Buff the concealer into your skin using a makeup blender, like the L'Oréal Paris Infallible Blend Artist Concealer Blender.
3. Apply a full coverage foundation. Once you’re done with concealer, it’s time to move on to foundation. Try the L'Oréal Paris Infallible Total Cover Foundation, a long-lasting full coverage foundation available in 12 shades. Apply it with the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender, using dabbing and rolling motions to blend it onto your skin.
4. Finish with a spritz of setting spray. To help your makeup stay in place—and last longer—use a setting spray, like the L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray. This micro-fine spray can help set your makeup after you’re done applying. Shake the bottle well, then holding it eight to ten inches away from your face, close your eyes, and spray four to six times in and X and T motion.
Ready to move on to your next complexion concern? Check out our article, Can You Get Rid of Crow’s Feet?