November 05, 2020

When it comes to dark spots removal from the skin, there are many options out there. And it can be quite challenging to know where to start or which treatments to go for.

Dark spots or hyperpigmentation ruins a person’s complexion. Thus, many people have tried several lighting products to treat their uneven skin tone.

While the market has numerous skin lightening creams, some work and others don’t even cause more harm than good. Knowing the right and the safest products to use for dark spots is vital.

This piece explains how to get rid of dark spots from your body according to specialists but first, let’s look at how dark spots form and what causes them.

How Dark Spots Form

Dark spots or hyperpigmentation occurs on some parts of the skin when your skin produces more melanin (a pigment that gives human hair, skin, and eyes color) than is required. Melanin is useful as it absorbs energy from the UV rays and redistributes it. However, when the sun triggers melanin’s overproduction, it results in dark patches (dark spots).

Some people call these dark patches, age spots, sun spots, senile lentigo, liver spots, or solar lentigo. They can appear anywhere but are common on the face, legs, upper back, back of your hands, or shoulders.

Dark spots appear much darker compared to the natural skin color of a person. The color of your dark spots depends on your skin tone.  They can take darker shades than the skin for darker people or light brown shades for brown people. Deep color can change and appear gray or blue.

The texture is the same regardless of your skin tone. These spots are not painful and should not be a cause for alarm –but some people get rid of them for cosmetic reasons.

Some dark spots can fade in six to twelve months. However, deeper discoloration takes longer to fade.

People of any gender, age, or race can develop dark spots, but here are some of the primary risk factors:

  • Being of a fair skin
  • Being older than 40 years
  • Having a history of using tanning beds frequently.
  •  Pregnancy
  • Medical conditions
  • Prolonged sun exposure

What Causes Dark Spots

There are numerous causes of dark spots. They include:

  • Exposure to Ultraviolet Light

People with a history of using tanning beds or getting exposed to the sun for an extended period develop these spots. This can start to show if the person fails to use sunscreen or other sun-protective gears.

Dark spots develop mostly in the body areas that receive a high amount of UV rays exposure like the arms, face, and hands.

One can also develop dark spots from Riehl's melanosis (a form of contact dermatitis that experts believe appears after too much sun exposure).

  • Skin Conditions

Certain skin conditions cause dark spots. They include:

1. Erythromelanosis Follicularis: A reddish-brown pigmentation condition of the neck and the face. 

2. Poikiloderma of Civatte: A benign skin condition that transforms some areas of the neck to reddish-brown.

  • Hormone Changes

Another major cause of dark spots is hormonal changes. For example, pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing small patches of discoloration from a condition called melasma, also known as chloasma or pregnancy mask. Hormones cause melisma, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Another cause is the Linea nigra, a dark, vertical line that appears when a woman is pregnant in the middle of the abdomen.

  • Medication Side Effects

Some medications cause skin pigmentation, which results in dark spots. These medications make the skin hypersensitive to sun exposure, also called photosensitivity.

Some of the most common culprits are tetracyclines, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and psychotropic drugs.

  1. Tetracyclines and a variety of antibiotics, including Declomycin (demeclocycline), Adoxa (doxycycline), and Minocin (minocycline).
  2. Estrogens, namely, Climara, Vagifem, and Estrace
  3. Phenytoin, which is an anticonvulsant
  4. Amiodarone, used in treating irregular heartbeat.
  5. Phenothiazines that treat emotional and mental disorders
  6. Sulfonamides that help treat infections
  • Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

A person can develop skin discoloration or dark spots after a bout of skin inflammation. Inflammation can occur due to inflammatory lesions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, or other skin injuries.

  • Wound Healing

Dark spots are also common after a severe burn, an insect bite, or a cut.  Dark spots appear when a wound is healing but can fade over time.

  •  Irritation from Cosmetic Products

Some cosmetic products of the skin or hair like those with some mercury level can irritate the skin, which in turn forms dark patches.

  • Medical Conditions

Medical conditions like diabetes, liver disease, Pituitary tumors, Addison’s disease, and Hemochromatosis (excessive iron) can cause some parts of the skin to turn darker.

  • Scars

Pimples and scars like  Acne scars sometimes leave behind dark spots on the face.

How Dark Spots are Diagnosed

A doctor usually diagnoses dark spots by physical examination of your skin. However, if your dark spot looks suspicious, they can recommend a biopsy that involves removing a small piece of your skin to test. This will help determine if there are other skin abnormalities or if it’s cancer.

It’s always important to do frequent checkups for any skin oddities, as some could sign an underlying issue like the melanoma known as lentigo maligna. And particularly if they are paired with other changes like redness, itching or bleeding.

Without much ado, here is how to remove dark spots on the body fast, according to dermatologists:


How to Remove Dark Spots from your Body

Dark spots don’t hurt and don’t pose any health risk, but some people remove them for cosmetic reasons. They can be removed by home and professional treatments that include:

Professional Cosmetic Procedures

There are several medical procedures used to treat dark spots. However, some of these procedures aren’t safe for people with sensitive skin.

Some of the best options include:

  1.     Chemical peels: This involves using chemicals containing glycolic acid and salicylic acids to remove your skin’s upper layer. This reveals the skin beneath, which is healthier and evenly toned.
  2.   Laser treatment: Laser therapy uses concentrated light energy to get rid of the skin layer with dark spots. This procedure can result in possible risks such as redness, swelling, tightness, scarring, infection, bruising, and skin texture change.
  3.       Microdermabrasion: The doctor can either use crystal microdermabrasion of the diamond-tipped microdermabrasion. Both procedures physically erode the cells on the surface of the skin and are considered low-risk.
  4.       Cryosurgery: Cryosurgery, also called cryotherapy, involves freezing or exposing skin to low-temperature liquid, nitrogen solution. The cells on the skin’s surface are exposed to these extremely low temperatures liquid to allow the skin’s peeling away. The main risk of cryosurgery is the permanent whitening of the area.

How to Remove Dark Spots from your Body Naturally

In addition to the professional procedures, some people use some home remedies to treat dark spots.

Home remedies for dark spots include:

  • Aloe vera
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Castor oil
  • Buttermilk
  • Horseradish
  • Lemons
  • Papaya
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Turmeric
  • Sandalwood

Most of these natural remedies have no scientific proof that shows that they work for dark spots. It is thus vital that you take a conservative approach when using them. In some situations, they aggravate the skin and sometimes make the situation worse, according to the American Society for Dermatological Surgery.

Apply a small amount of the product and let it stay for a little while and then wash it off. If they show any promising results, then you can apply larger amounts.

Lightening skincare products that contain mercury and steroids can harm the skin. Therefore, always seek dermatological advice before you use any method.


Over the Counter Treatments for Dark Spots

Topical Treatments

Dark spots corrector creams can gradually reduce the appearance of dark spots. This happens over a period. These prescription bleaching creams have an active ingredient called hydroquinone. Hydroquinone inhibits melanin production. Some studies say they contain high concentrations of carcinogens, which are not safe and can cause cancer.

For that reason, the FDA has limited their use to 3-4% in prescription products and 2% on over the counter products. They should be used for only a short while.

Other over the counter creams for treating dark spots contain alpha hydroxy acid, retinoids, kojic acid, and deoxyarbutin. It’s important to note that using these creams has numerous side effects, including swelling, redness, and skin irritation, because they contain ingredients that cause skin irritation and photosensitivity. When using these products, you should always wear sunscreen with SPF.

Preventing Dark Spots

As you advance in age, dark spots are almost inevitable. But, to avoid early manifestation, you can:

  • Avoid too much exposure to the sun.
  • Use Sunscreen when stepping out of the house. A sunscreen with a high SPF can help protect your skin from UV exposure. Apply when going out and reapply after every two hours or after swimming.
  • Wear a Brimmed Hat or Cover up when working outdoors. Also, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Using SPF can offer added protection.



Dark spots are painless. However, some people experience some discomfort when they are in prominent areas like the face or legs. With these tips on how to get rid of dark spots from your body, you are one step in the right direction.

Related Resources