How To Erase The Look Of Dark Spots

Mature woman checking for dark spots on face

How To Erase The Look Of Dark Spots

Written By:

Karen Young Chester

Are you starting to notice an uneven skin tone or the look of dark spots on your face? Cheeks that were once clear now shadowed with faint brown patches? If these signs of age and sun damage are appearing on your complexion, now’s the time to take action to remove dark spots on your face. We outline some of the best skin care ingredients you can apply for an uneven skin tone, as well as some different treatments for improving the appearance of undesirable dark spots.

What Are Dark Spots? | Ingredients | Dark Spots Skin Care Routine | Spa Professional Treatments

What Are Dark Spots?

According to Medical News Today, dark spots can appear anywhere from light to dark brown, depending on the tone of a person’s skin. They vary in size, are painless and can appear anywhere, but you’ll usually see them in areas more exposed to the sun. These dark spots should not be painful. Factors like skin irritation as a result of acne, waxing, and harsh scrubs, can also cause dark spots. “Dark spots … are due to the overproduction of melanin in the skin by melanocytes,” says plastic surgeon Melissa Doft, M.D. in SELF magazine. This extra melanin can be triggered by hormones, the sun and aging, she says. 

Dark spots are common in the following areas:

  • back of the hands
  • face
  • back
  • shoulders

How To Get Rid Of Dark Spots: Ingredients

Now that you understand what dark spots are, here are the top ingredients to treat an uneven skin tone, followed up by a skin care routine and some professional treatment recommendations.

Licorice Root

According to this medical study, licorice root extract is an effective botanical ingredient to send your dark spots packing. It improves dark spots by dispersing and inhibiting the production of melanin. Dr. Michele Green, board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor from New York City, explains that licorice root contains two components that help diminish discoloration, glabridin and liquiritin: “Glabridin helps to retrain tyrosinase, an enzyme that produces melanin which leads to pigmentation. Liquiritin helps to break up and remove melanin and pigmentation in the skin.” Combined together, these two elements make licorice root a potent ingredient to get rid of pigmentations.  

Azelaic Acid

Another natural ingredient, azelaic acid, is also powerful for erasing dark spots. This acid works by inhibiting melanocytes as well as the tyrosinase enzyme. By curbing the production of pigment at the beginning of the process, this ingredient stops uneven skin tone, like dark spots, before it starts.

Natural Hydroquinone Alternatives

Eminence Organics uses the African potato and tara tree ingredients which work similarly to hydroquinone, a chemical compound commonly used for brightening the skin. These two ingredients work in tandem to inhibit the development and activity of tyrosinase. By making sure that less pigment is produced, these ingredients halt the progress of dark spots.

Vitamin C

Another ingredient you’ll want to add to your arsenal is Vitamin C. This study shows that Vitamin C derivatives have been shown to “decrease melanin synthesis,” an important process for decreasing the appearance of dark spots. A popular skin care ingredient, this antioxidant is effective not just for dark spots but also a whole range of solutions from collagen production to wrinkle prevention.

Product picks first

Stone Crop Gel Wash Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum

Product picks second

Eight Greens Phyto Masque – Hot Arctic Berry Peel & Peptide Illuminating System

Body second

A Skin Care Routine For Dark Spots

To erase the look of dark spots, our Director of Product Development, Colette Lieberman, recommends the following products. As a cleanser, the Stone Crop Gel Wash contains stone crop, which improves the appearance of uneven skin tone and provides hydration to the skin. It also contains chamomile to revitalize and balance the appearance of the skin​, as well as shea butter to moisturize. 

You can follow up with the Stone Crop Hydrating Mist, a revitalizing toner for all skin types, particularly complexions with uneven skin tone. The mist contains stone crop juice that hydrates all skin types, as well as lavender, a calming herb. Jasmine supplies the skin with carotenoids and Vitamins C and P which also help the appearance of an uneven skin tone. 

Bright Skin Licorice Root Exfoliating Peel addresses texture and skin tone while lactic acid exfoliates and accelerates the removal of dead skin cells. Licorice root and daisy blossom brighten the appearance of your complexion. Another natural brightening agent in this peel is our Natural Hydroquinone Alternative made with African potato and tara tree.

Now for the best part – masking! Erase the look of dark spots with the Eight Greens Phyto Masque – Hot. It contains a Biocomplex2™, a booster of antioxidants, Coenzyme Q10, and alpha lipoic acid to improve the appearance of your complexion with a dose of hot tingling sensation. 

Arctic Berry Peel & Peptide Illuminating System is a three-step peel and peptide system that helps you achieve radiant skin. The set contains the Arctic Berry Enzyme Exfoliant, the Arctic Berry Advanced Peel Activator and the Arctic Berry Peptide Radiance Cream. Not only will your skin clarity and texture appear improved, but your complexion will look luminous. 

Before applying Arctic Berry Peptide Radiance Cream, the second last step of reducing the appearance of dark spots is applying the Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum. This light-weight serum contains stabilized Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic acid), which is a potent antioxidant that helps reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. The inclusion of leafy greens (kale, spinach and broccoli sprouts) provides a formula rich in antioxidants for younger-looking skin.

Spa Professional Treatments

Sometimes, using the right ingredients for your home care routine is not enough when you suffer from persistent dark spots. Getting professional treatment at your dermatologist, spa, or a medispa, may also be essential for evening out skin tone and removing dark spots on the face. Before booking a treatment, we highly recommend consulting your health care professional to help identify what professional options best suit your skin conditions and complexion, as well as your past medical history and current medication. Here are some of the most popular treatments for targeting stubborn dark spots:

Chemical Peels

A treatment which uses acid to remove top layers of the skin, a chemical peel can be effective in treating uneven skin tone. Treatment can use different acids, including lactic and salicylic acids.

Laser Peels Or Laser Resurfacing

As Mayo Clinic explains, laser peels are targeted beams of light used to reduce dark spots. There are two types of laser treatments: ablative and non-ablative. Ablative laser treatments remove thin layers of skin whereas non-ablative laser treatments are less invasive and work mainly to stimulate new collagen which helps eliminate some of the pigment caused by sun damage and encourage production of protein building blocks.

Intense Pulse Light Therapy

This type of non-ablative laser treatment is when light energy penetrates the skin down to where the melanin lies. The heat breaks down the pigment which rises to the skin’s surface as scabs or is eliminated through the lymphatic system.


During microdermabrasion, a stream of abrasive substance targets the surface of the skin, blasting away dead skin cells. Because the surface layers of the skin are removed, dark spots will appear lighter. Other benefits include faster cell renewal and increased collagen production, which also help encourage the appearance of healthy, even skin.

With all these treatment options and a skin care routine under your belt, you now know how to remove dark spots on your face, and are ready to address the issue. Which of the above skin care products or treatments worked best for you? Let us know in the comments or on social media.

This article was originally written in June 2017. 

Updated By

Thea Christie

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