Hormonal changes, ageing, pollution and sun damage can leave skin looking uneven and tired and cause or worsen dark spots, mainly down to melanocytes.
Following many summers in the Balearics, I have gradually developed dark sun spots on my forehead and I hate them. Dark spots on your skin are an unwanted occurrence that can be very ageing.
Classed as part of the immune cells, they’re known to react to and protect us from sun damage, but also react to pollution, inflammation and spots, causing areas of skin to darken over time.
These discolorations are caused primarily by repeated, unprotected exposure to daylight and pollution. Dark brown spots are localised build-ups of melanin that begin as a damage response in the lower layers of skin, commencing at a young ago. You don’t see them until they make their way to the surface (which can take years). Left untreated, they become more and more pronounced over time, but, luckily, there are products that can offer significant improvement.
It goes without saying, sun-smart behaviour is the first line of defence to get the discolorations under control. Being sun smart means avoiding direct exposure to daylight (seeking shade, wearing sunglasses, daily sunscreen, a hat, UPF-rated protective clothing etc).
Another line of attack is pigmentation treatments, which will work to exfoliate the skin to decrease retention of unwanted melanin at the surface, as well as increasing antioxidant protection to help prevent skin damage.
My pick of the best products out there right now:
This targeted dark spot treatment uses botanicals and a powerful vitamin C derivative, Activated C, to minimise the appearance of pigmentation.
White birch extract is a sugar-derived ingredient known for its ability to restore hydration and nutrients to the upper layer of skin. Together with the formula Activated C, this helps support the appearance of discolouration correction.
Peony extract meanwhile, is an antioxidant that helps protect against free radical oxidative damage to the skin, and enhances skin clarity.
A little pot that packs a powerful punch, and will help visibly brighten your complexion and diminish the number and intensity of dark spots over time.
Price: £42, John Lewis
We’re big fans of Glossier, a clean beauty, cruelty-free range that also looks cool on the bathroom shelf.
This nourishing vitamin C serum helps to promote more even-toned skin over time, and is gentle enough for sensitive skin.
It reduces the appearance of dark spots, replenishes moisture, and jojoba oil, shea butter, and sunflower seed oil combine to leave you with a healthy-looking glow. What’s not to love?
Price: £24, Glossier
Let your skin rejuvenate as you snooze with this leave-on exfoliator that harnesses salicylic acid to help resurface, clean and detoxify pollution-exposed skin.
Witch hazel and plant antioxidants combine to tackle skin pigmentation by warding off free radicals, as well as improving blemishes, large pores and breakouts.
This brightening tonic will give you a more even skin tone, and help you wake up feeling – and looking – refreshed.