How to fade dark spots on your face according to the experts

Want to know how to fade dark spots on your face? We asked the experts the best ways to do it

How to fade dark spots
(Image credit: Getty)

Ever wondered how to fade dark spots on your face that are bothering you? Of course you have, and you're not alone. There are numerous reasons as to why you might have started noticing dark spots – or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – on your skin. But how do you actually get rid of them?

Before you begin thinking about how to treat or fade them, it’s important to dig a little bit deeper into understanding why you’ve got them and what’s caused them. One of the most common causes is acne, but there’s a whole host of other reasons why you might have them. Once you’ve worked that out, you can start investigating the best skincare products and ingredients that will help fade dark spots.

We’ve enlisted the help of the experts to help you fade dark spots once and for all.

What causes dark spots?

“Before doing anything, it’s so important to find out what the diagnosis is,” says Dr Dr Jonquille Chantery, surgeon and international beauty lecturer at One Aesthetic Studio. “You have to take into consideration things like the pill or any other medication you take that may be causing or worsening pigmentation,” she says.

There’s also other factors that come into play, like levels of sun exposure, existing hormonal problems and even pregnancy. Acne is also another major cause of dark spots; when skin heals after a new spot has appeared, new cells form. However if those cells contain too much melanin (the stuff that gives skin its colour) then that’s when a dark spot can appear. 

Not all spots leave behind dark patches, but picking and squeezing them can make them much more likely - so hands off!  It’s also worth noting that people who have darker skin tones are much more prone to dark spots and hyperpigmentation, but good news is that it can be treated if you find out what’s causing it in the first place and seek out the best products for your skin type.

What ingredients are best to fade dark spots?

Having dark spots doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Thanks to incredible skincare technology and brilliant formulations, there are plenty of options in terms of what ingredients you should use to help fade dark spots. 

However, products aside, Dr Chantery says the first step should be to manage your sun exposure. “That means making sure that you are always wearing SPF and ensuring that you are reapplying it throughout the day depending on the level of exposure,” she says. Experts recommend using a minimum of factor 30 every day of the year, and you should be applying the equivalent of a shot glass full (which works out around two tablespoons) to your face and neck. You also need to make sure you are reapplying throughout the day, ensuring that you’re more rigorous when you’re abroad in comparison to being in the UK.

Dr Chantrey then suggests incorporating alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) into your routine. They work to help slough away dead skin cells to reveal the fresh new ones underneath. Vitamin C is also an excellent choice when it comes to fading dark spots; not only is it a powerhouse antioxidant, but studies have shown it also helps to inhibit melanin production which can help to fade dark spots. 

vitamin c serum

(Image credit: Getty)

Transexamic acid is another good ingredient that can be used to help dark spots. “It helps to manage the pigmentation cascade, as well as helping to reduce active pigmentation and helps to prevent further pigmentation,” explains Dr Chantrey. 

What products are best to fade dark spots?

Now you’ve hopefully figured out what is causing those pesky dark spots, it’s time to invest in the products that will not only help fade them but also prevent them returning later down the line. 

It can be helpful to look for products that are dual-function, that means they are essentially two-in-one and will be packed with specific ingredients that target pigmentation. 

Lucy Partington

Lucy Partington has been a beauty journalist for eight years, writing for titles including Stylist and Cosmopolitan. She’s a true skincare nerd who’s on a lifelong quest for a glowing complexion and loves nothing more than learning about new ingredients and products. She’s obsessed with having perfect eyebrows and collecting eyeshadow palettes she’ll probably never use.