Dark Spots On The Skin: Causes, Treatments/Best Remedies

dark spots on the skin

What is a dark spot?

Dark spots on the skin are simply where some areas of the skin produce more melanin than normal. It is also called hyperpigmentation. Your eyes, hair, and skin possess their color with the help of melanin. No need to feel worried about dark spots on the skin as they don’t need treatment, but some people may choose to do away with it for cosmetic reasons. If you have had excessive sun exposure then you can most likely blame that for those dark spots, referred to as hyperpigmentation.

Irrespective of its causes, people may refer to some types of dark spots on the skin as sunspots or age spots.  To be candid with you, it’s not only external factors that are associated with dark spots on the skin and body. But acne, aging, prescription medication, pregnancy, and hormonal imbalances are some of the other causes of this condition.

I will be discussing what causes dark spots on the skin and how you can eliminate them with the help of home remedies and dermatological treatments.

What are the symptoms of dark spots on the skin and face?

Dark spots are mostly found on the face, entire skin, back of the hands, and shoulders. These dark spots on the skin are usually light brown to dark brown as its color may depend on the tone of a person’s skin. Dark spots can come in different sizes and can develop on any part of the human body but are mainly found in areas often exposed to the sun. The spots have the same texture as the skin and are not as painful as you may think.

People with darker skin, a spot that’s a few shades darker than the skin usually clear up within 6 to 12 months. If it’s a deep coloration, it can even take years to fade. Deep color changes often look like blue or gray. However, though a spot may also be a much darker brown than a persons’ natural skin.

What are the causes of dark spots on the skin?

The following are things that bring about unknown dark spots on the skin/face: 

Damage attributed with the sun (sun damage)

Individuals can actually develop dark spots after being exposed to the sun or tanning beds. Sun damage is also known as solar lentigines, sun spots, or liver spots. Areas of the body that are highly exposed to the sun like the hands, face, or arms, are most likely to experience sunspots.

Adverse effects of medications

Some particular medications can increase skin pigmentation and eventually becomes dark spots on the skin/face. An example includes NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, psychotropic drugs, and tetracyclines.

Healing of wounds

You may experience dark spots on the skin after burn, an insect bite or cut heals. These spots can fade away gradually on its own with time.


Some areas of your skin can become dark as a result of having diabetes. For example, acanthosis nigricans, which brings about darkened, velvety skin, and shin spots (diabetic dermopathy) can be mistaken with age spots by many people.

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes may cause a skin condition that results in small patches of skin discoloration known as melasma. This medical condition is predominant among women, especially when they’re heavy. It is also known that hormones may cause melasma according to the American Academy of Dermatology.


Some inflammation on the skin can lead to the development of dark spots on the skin. Inflammation may arise for various reasons such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, and injury to the skin.

Read Also: 15 Surprising Best Foods For Acne Treatment And Prevention


Hair products or cosmetic skin can irritate the skin, leading to dark patches being formed on it.

How can I remove dark spots on my skin/face?

You can remove dark spot on your skin/face using laser treatment, strict sun protection, chemical peels, topical medications like Retin-A, manual exfoliation, microdermabrasion, glycolic acid pads, and a great concealer.

Although dark spots on the skin don’t require treatment, some people may want to eliminate the spots for cosmetic purposes.

A dermatologist can prescribe creams or procedures to lighten dark spots on the skin, or in some cases, remove them completely. Its procedures could be more expensive than topical creams and are more likely to come with adverse effects, though they tend to be more effective.

The optimal treatment option may depend on the size, cause of the dark spot, and the area of the body.

Most dermatologists do recommend the following treatments for dark spots on the skin for the optimal result:

Use of laser treatment

There are various types of lasers available, but the most common laser to treat dark spots on the skin uses a powerful light laser. The light main aim is to target melanin and breaks up the dark spots efficiently.

Chemical peels

This involves the application of a solution to the skin, which removes the surface, giving rise to new skin growth. The dark spots on the skin may eventually fade away with time.

dark spots on the skin

Prescription of skin-lightening cream

Lightening cream here works by bleaching the skin and it may take several months for the dark spots to disappear completely. Hydroquinone may be added to the cream to help inhibit the skin from producing melanin. Usually, prescription products do have a strength of 3-4 percent.


A dermatologist uses a particular device that has an abrasive surface to exfoliate the outer layer of the skin during microdermabrasion. Its advantage is that it helps induce new collagen growth, which reduces the appearance of the dark spots on the skin.

Use of cryotherapy

This involves the application of liquid nitrogen to the dark patches to freeze them, which causes harm to the skin cells. The skin may heal with time after successful treatment.

What are the home remedies for dark spots on the skin/face?

People do prefer home remedies to prescription medications and dermatological procedures because they are less expensive and easily available. Home remedies may include the following:


These creams are not very effective in lightening skin unlike prescription medications, but they may work with time.

Most creams and serums contain several ingredients like alpha hydroxy acid or retinol as they may help accelerate the removal of the dark spots on the skin and promote new skin growth.

It is advisable to use skin-lightening cream that may not be harmful to your skin.

Natural remedies

Usually, products with some natural ingredients may help treat dark spots on the skin very effectively. A study shows how natural products are used in treating dark spots on the skin. They use certain ingredients like niacinamide (a type of vitamin B-3), licorice extracts, soy, and mulberry.

However, studies were limited; the researchers deduced that these natural treatments bring promising in lightening hyperpigmentation.

A small-scale result in a 2017 study deduced that applying an aloe vera gel to your skin could aid reduce melasma during pregnancy after 5 weeks.

Use of cosmetics

Cosmetics don’t actually lighten dark spots but they might conceal them. Some people prefer using a cream-based concealer to reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin/face.

What are the home remedies to avoid?

Have it in your mind that not all the home remedies you surf online work effectively as some have no evidence of its effectiveness and do have numerous side effects. For example, the usage of apple cider vinegar and lemon as no studies have back up these claims that it works effectively in the removal of dark spots on the skin/face.

But if you feel you have tried apple cider vinegar and lemon and it works well for you, no problem. Never generalize it as not all skin are the same as the way it works for you might not work for your friend/family member.

Consequently, the American Society for Dermatological Surgery strongly advised people against the usage of lemon juice or abrasive scrubs, as they could worsen your dark spots on your skin.

Also, some certain skin lightening products may cause more harm than good to your skin health. A lot of them contain ingredients that can mar your overall skin health like steroids and mercury. When applied to your skin can cause rashes, pimples, and make your skin appear fragile over time.


The doctor who specializes in the treatment of skin is known as a dermatologist. Your dermatologist can identify the cause of dark spots on the skin by examining them and taking a medical history.

A wood lamp skin examination is performed during a physical examination and the dark spots can be viewed using this special device that emits black light. In some cases, certain characteristics of a spot might require more tests to make sure skin cancer isn’t the cause of the dark spot.

What are the risk factors of dark spots?

Although anyone can have dark spots on the skin, certain factors tend to increase a person’s chances of it.  They include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Injury or trauma to the skin
  • Exposure to sun
  • Certain skin conditions like eczema, acne, and psoriasis
  • Medications that induce pigmentation more
  • Diabetes
  • Having disease of the liver
How can I prevent dark spots on the skin/face?

It is not possible to prevent dark spots on the skin/face from surfacing but they are some things you can do to reduce your chances of developing dark spots and prevent them from becoming darker. You can also see that melasma which occurs as a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy can’t be prevented.

The following are ways you could employ to help lower your risk of having this condition:

  • Use a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses regularly to shield your skin from the sun.
  • Avoid going out between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. because the heat from the sun is always intense during that time.
  • Wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 each day, even when the sun isn’t shinning very well.
  • Never leave skin conditions such as acne untreated, to avoid giving rise to inflammation.
When can I see a doctor?

Dark spots on the skin are not always harmful. But it could be very difficult to differentiate between dark spot and other skin conditions like melanoma, which is a harmful type of skin cancer.

Where you are not sure about the dark spots on your skin or have not been able to clear it off from your skin, quickly visit a dermatologist to help you out.

You can also make an appointment with your dermatologist and also write any of the following things you experienced on your skin:

  • Its size and color changes
  • Feeling some itches and tingles on your skin
  • You bleed when you apply pressure to the affected spot
What is the outlook for people with dark spots on their skin/face?

Hyperpigmentation as dark spots on the skin are usually called can have a wide range of causes but are not always harmful. They don’t actually require treatment but you can confide in your dermatologist for cosmetic procedures or use over the counter products.

Furthermore, your chances of having optimal treatment depend on the cause and extent of the dark spots on your skin. You can’t just expect the dark spots on your skin to disappear (fade away) immediately within a short time after taking necessary treatments. But be rest-assured that treatments can help lightens the dark spots with time.

How to prepare natural remedies to help clear dark spots on the skin/face

Preparation of aloe vera gel

  • Get fresh aloe vera and wash it to remove dirt.
  • Squeeze the aloe vera into juice and apply the gel directly to the dark spot.
  • Leave it on the affected area for at least 30 minutes every morning and evening.
  • Rinse it off with lukewarm water and apply your favorite serum/moisturizer.


  • Collect some buttermilk and apply to dark spots and leave it for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  • Wash off with lukewarm water and finish off with your favorite serum/moisturizer.
  • If your skin is very oily or you have acne, add a little lemon or lime juice to the buttermilk.
  • Rinse it off with lukewarm water and finish off with your favorite serum/moisturizer.

Read Also: 35 Super Anti-Aging Foods For A Glowing Skin


  • Make some paste of horseradish and apply on the dark spot for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Wash it off with lukewarm water and finish off with your favorite serum/moisturizer.
  • Repeat this procedure for at least 2-3 times a week for optimal result.

For a more effective remedy, add a piece of mashed horseradish 4-5 inches long and ½ a cup of apple cider vinegar into a jug. Mix it very well and leave for 2 weeks, shaking the mixture once each day.

After 2 weeks, you can apply the mixture to your dark spots thrice daily. Repeat this procedure for at least one month and refrigerate the mixture to avoid spoilage.

Castor oil

Apply small oil with Qtip on the dark spots every morning and evening for a minimum of one month.

Use of hydrogen peroxide

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of milk together with a spoonful of hydrogen peroxide into a glass bowl.
  • Dip Q-tip or cotton pad in the bowl and apply to the dark spots on your face/neck.
  • Allow it to stay on your face for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse the mixture from your face using lukewarm water and finally apply your favorite serum and moisturizer.

Application of papaya mixture

  • Collect green papaya and peel it off to remove the seeds.
  • Slice it into pieces into a blender or food processor until it becomes paste-like.
  • Apply the paste on your face and neck first thing in the morning and before going to bed at night.
  • Wash it off with lukewarm water after 20-30 minutes and complete it with your favorite serum/moisturizer.

Pure Fiji’s Exfoliating Scrub can also be applied on your delicate facial skin to make it look fresh and bright with the freshest of topical ingredients. This natural and gentle scrub get rids of impurities, dead skin cells and unblocks pores with the power of pineapple and papaya enzymes. A vitamin-rich coconut crème enriches newly revealed skin for a shining and younger looking complexion. It is also suitable for skin susceptible to acne.


  • Mix a teaspoon of sandalwood powder, 1 teaspoon of orange juice, and orange zest in a glass bowl.
  • Add adequate orange juice until you achieve a desired smooth paste.
  • Apply to dark spots on the skin and neck.
  • Allow it to stay for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  • Rinse with clean warm water and round it up with your favorite serum/moisturizer. 

Repeat this procedure for a minimum of 1-2 times a week.

Apple cider vinegar

Although this works for some people but doesn’t work for some since all skin is not the same.

  • You can also try to mix equal drops of lemon juice and water in a bowl. Mix it well and apply to the dark spot.
  • Try mixing a few drops of lemon juice with the vinegar for optimal result.
  • Combine 3 teaspoonfuls of orange juice and s ½ tablespoon of vinegar.
  • Rinse well with clean running water and finish it off with your favorite serum/moisturizer.

Garbanzo beans

  • Add a can of mashed chickpeas together with a 1/3 of water.
  • Apply the paste on the dark spot.
  • Wash it off with clean water and finish off with your favorite serum/moisturizer.


  • A cup of chopped parsley, a ½ spoonful of baking soda, and a teaspoon of yogurt in a bowl are all mixed adequately together in a glass bowl.
  • Apply the mask to your face, chest, and neck for 15 minutes then rinse.
  • Rinse it off with your favorite serum/moisturizer.

Repeat this procedure for at least 2-3 days for effective result.

Use of turmeric

  • Mix vigorously 2 teaspoons of rice water, 2 teaspoons of flour, and a tablespoon of turmeric in a glass bowl.
  • Dip Q-tip in the bowl and apply on to dark spots.
  • Allow it to stay for about 20 minutes.
  • Wash it off with lukewarm water and complete it with your favorite serum/moisturizer.

Read Also: Tumeric Benefits


This fruit brings a lot of controversies as some claim it helps lighten their skin while American Society for Dermatological Surgery says it doesn’t work.

  • Get lemon fruit and slice it.
  • Squeeze the sliced lemon into juice.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of water or rose water in a glass bowl.
  • For sensitive skin, dip your cotton pad into the bowl and apply it to the dark spots on the skin.
  • Wash it off with warm water and finish off with your favorite serum/moisture.
  • You’ll notice a difference in the lightening of your skin within 2 months.
  • Alternatively, you can also apply the sliced lemon fruit on the dark spot.
  • Allow it to stay for 10 minutes and wash it off with warm water.
  • Repeat this procedure in the morning and evening for a minimum of 2 months.

Now that you’ve known the various ways on how to get rid of dark spots on the skin/face, care has to be taken while applying these homemade natural remedies. Always apply a little amount to your face first before increasing the quantity and longer times until your skin can be used to it.  If you discover you are allergic to any of the mixture applied to your face, quickly rinse it off and visit your dermatologist for better treatment.

Furthermore, you can avoid being exposed to the sun while using your natural remedies to clear your dark spots on your face/skin/neck so as to achieve desired results. Never take any natural remedies without first discussing with your doctor for him to give you the go ahead.


  1. I enjoyed reading your article and I learned more than I ever expected about dark skin spots, I never knew what causes these I thought it was just a part of aging. I shared this article on my Facebook page so others could benefit from this article as well, I thank you for taking the time to share this information.


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