How to Get Rid of Dark Spots

The type of dark spot that is left behind after a pimple is gone is called post inflammation hyperpigmentation. It occurs after an inflammation like acne heals, but can also result from any injury to the surface of the skin.

Why Does Hyperpigmentation Happen?
It really is due to the overproduction of melanin (the protein in the skin that gives it its color) which is triggered as the skin heals itself, from an inflammation or a wound. The skin responds to inflammation on its surface by generating new skin cells to heal the damaged skin. Dark spots occur when the cells that are sent to restore the surface of your skin contain too much melanin. Scientists are not entirely sure how or why this happens, but exposure to the sun as the skin repairs itself causes more melanin production.

How to Treat Dark Spots Topically

1. Prevention is always better than a cure; if we can prevent acne in the first place, there’ll be no dark spots to get rid of. Some tried and tested methods of ensuring breakouts are kept at a minimum include washing your face with a pH balanced cleanser for at least 60 seconds, exfoliating with some degree of regularity, and sticking to a well-balanced diet.

When you do get breakouts, it is very important not to squeeze or pop your pimples, because when a pimple is popped, the debris (dead skin, serum, bacteria) in the pore is pushed further into the follicle causing even more inflammation. The skin’s response to this inflammation in the presence of sunlight means you end up with dark spots (see above). Some ingredients such as sulfur are great at reducing inflamed pimples and killing the bacteria within it. Using products with sulfur as an active ingredient makes it less likely that you get to the pimple popping stage. Our Acne Treatment Kit features 2 products that contain sulfur and are great at calming inflammations.

2. Exfoliate! Gently exfoliating your skin is another important step in preventing breakouts, and when it comes to exfoliation, we prefer chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). AHAs are more efficient and gentler on the skin than physical exfoliants (scrubs). They slough away dead skin, encourage collagen production in the skin and help regulate sebum production all of which reduce the occurrence of breakouts. Our Nighttime Serum with 10% glycolic acid is great at keeping the skin exfoliated.

3. Using vitamin c, a skincare powerhouse ingredient, protects against damage from free radicals and inflammation, and also boosts collagen production. When you add less inflammation and oxidation, to increased collagen production, the skin can heal itself quicker, helping clear out acne scaring and hyperpigmentation. As a result, products that contain Vitamin C are very helpful in fading dark spots.

4. Wear broad spectrum sunscreen that offers at least SPF 30 protection. When inflamed skin is exposed to the sun’s UVA rays, melanin forming cells in the skin are stimulated to produce excess melanin. Since excess melanin helps create dark spots, wearing sunscreen is essential! Our Brightening Moisturizer SPF 30 combines the proven benefits of vitamin c with broad spectrum sun protection.

How Long Does it Take Dark Spots to Fade
Patience is truly a virtue and to help put things in perspective, it takes about 28 days for your skin cells to turn over. So ideally you should expect at least 1-3 turnover cycles to clear dark spots. Check out Bolden’s recommended Dark Spot Eliminator Kit

When to See a Doctor
While dark spots are often slow to fade, if topical treatments don’t work for you after 6 months, it may be time to see a dermatologist. In-office treatments for hyperpigmentation include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser resurfacing and combined with daily sun protection, usually have great outcomes.