How to Treat Dark Spots on Brown Skin

By: Fola Onifade

One of the most common skin ailments are dark spots. But how do they even show up on our skin the first place?

Dark spots appear when there’s an overproduction of melanin in the skin and this can be caused by pimples, wounds, medications, skin care products, or hormonal changes. As Dr. Adeline Kikam states in this Instagram post, “Not all dark spots are created equal, and in turn, should not be treated equally.” Keep this in mind as you read through some proposed solutions to fighting dark spots and always make sure to consult a dermatologist.

Now that we know all the various reasons dark spots appear, let’s get into the different ways they can be treated.

First things first: Sunscreen

Prevention is the most effective form of treatment, and the best way to prevent dark spots is by using sunscreen consistently. Sun exposure can actually cause dark spots to get even darker, so using sunscreen can help block out most of the rays that would otherwise darken them. Apply sunscreen daily, and reapply every two hours if you’re in the sun.

Skin by Ame Natural Products

Hydrating Face Cream

Skin by Ame’s Hydrating Face Cream is one of our best sellers for a reason. This shea butter base cream helps to fade dark spots by correcting skin discoloration and evening out skin tone. The Hydrating Face Cream also includes Vitamin E, which helps to protect the skin from sun damage.
Skin by Ame Hydrating Face Cream
Skin by Ame Hydrating Face Cream
How to: Massage daily into the skin after cleansing and toning.

Sweet Almond Oil

Like our face cream, the 100% Sweet Almond Oil is rich in vitamin E which helps protect the skin from UV radiation damage. Almond oil has been shown to even out skin tone over time, improving complexion.

How to: Apply directly to the skin daily or combine it with our Shea butter for extra moisture and hydration.
Skin by Ame Sweet Almond Oil
Skin by Ame 100% Sweet Almond Oil

Natural Skin Lightening Products

Most skin lightening products inhibit the production of an enzyme called tyrosinase, which aids in the production of melanin. Before using over the counter skin lightening products, pay attention to the ingredients to check for irritants or things you may be allergic to. Additionally, some dark spots are harder to treat than others. If any of the treatments don’t deliver the desired results, you may want to consult a dermatologist.

Vitamin C

Lumene Nordic-C Oil Cocktail
Lumene Nordic-C Oil Cocktail
Vitamin C is vital to any healthy skincare regimen. When applied topically to troubled skin areas, this powerful antioxidant blocks free radicals from causing damage to the skin. Vitamin Cis an effective spot treatment because it only lightens the targeted hyper pigmented areas.
How to: Before applying sunscreen, massage a few drops of Vitamin C daily into clean skin.

Kojic Acid

Kojic acid is typically found in skin lightening products and is often pairedwith hydroquinone (see below) to achieve the best results. Kojic acid inhibits an enzyme necessary to produce melanin, which helps to fade dark spots and discoloration. When used topically, kojic acid is a long-term treatment that may take several months before improvements are seen. Kojic acid may cause allergic dermatitis, so consult your dermatologist before beginning treatment.
LaRoche Posay Kojic acid
LaRoche Posay Mela D Pigment Control
How to: Apply kojic acid at nighttime only to problem areas.

Azelaic Acid

The Ordinary Azeleaic Acid
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension
Azelaic Acid is an under-the-radaringredient that acts as a “leave-on” exfoliator that unclogs pores when applied to the skin. Azelaic acid can be applied on your entire face, or you can target blemished areas as needed.

Researchers believe that azelaic acid interrupts troublesome elements in the skin’s top layer that typically lead to dark spots and dull skin tone.
How to:  Apply it once or twice a day after cleansing, toning, and exfoliating. You can use it alone or with your favorite serum or moisturizer. When using it during the day, follow up with sunscreen.


Available over-the-counter in concentrations less than 2%, hydroquinone is widely known as the gold standard for treating dark spots. This powerful ingredient inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase which helps the skin produce melanin, and effects can sometimes be seen in as little as two weeks.

Hydroquinone, however, can be harmful to the skin when improperly used, and can cause dryness, redness, or burning. It can also lighten the skin outside of the targeted area, known as ghosting.
Paula's Choice Hydroquinone
Paula's Choice Triple-Action Dark Spot Eraser
To prevent this, use hydroquinone sparingly on the target area and feather outwards towards the edges.
How to: Apply at night, and increase to twice a day as needed for maximum effects. Hydroquinone can cause sun sensitivity, so pair it with sunscreen during the day.

Alternative Treatments

All the treatments we’ve listed above vary in range and strength. For the most powerful results, however, you may consider procedures like laser treatment, chemical peels, microdermabrasion or microneedling.

As always, we recommend a consultation with a dermatologist or skin care specialist before engaging in any treatments.

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