Dark spots are a sore subject for all of us. Whether they’re left over from acne or sun exposure, these pesky spots are nearly impossible to shake. They haunt our reflection for months, if not years after first popping up, and in some cases, they might be around forever.
They’re difficult to get rid of, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any solutions. You can hasten their disappearance and prevent new ones from forming with just a few changes to your regimen. But what about same-day remedies? And do they require drastic measures? We’ll get to that.
If you’re looking to even out your own complexion, not just to be a camera-ready groom, but because you’re also invested in good grooming practices, read on for a few quick fixes, heavy-duty healings, and lifelong habits that are at your disposal.
One way to speed up the healing process of dark spots is to accelerate cellular turnover. That means getting rid of the dead skin cells that overstay their welcome and showcasing the healthier, newer cells underneath.
Newer skin cells even out your complexion in addition to diminishing the prominence of dark spots. You can do this with a number of products and procedures, but we suggest three in particular: exfoliators, vitamin C, and peels. The first two should be part of your long-game regimen, while a peel is a quicker fix.
Best Exfoliator Products
Exfoliators act like scrubs to buff away dead cells (like Raw Materials) or as topical solutions to dissolve the dead skin (like Malin + Goetz AHA treatment and Grown Alchemist Enzyme Mask). You can use them every few days to target the retired cells and ensure that you always put your best face forward.
Best Vitamin C Product
Vitamin C-packed products, like Sunday Riley’s Skin Brightening Serum, work really well as dark-spot correctors (and preventers). They restrict and minimize the oxidative damage that skin endures on a daily basis. Which is to say, when your skin is exposed to toxins, UV rays, and free radicals, it gets damaged, which can lead to dark spots and wrinkles. Vitamin C counters this process. You can apply it every morning, to the exact spots or all over the face, underneath your moisturizer for maximum effect.
Best Chemical Peel Product
Chemical peels work more aggressively to dissolve layers of skin and reveal the healthiest, clearest complexion. They help people recover from severe acne, fine lines, sun spots, and can even minimize excessive freckling.
Consider it a fresh start, even if it requires a few days of recovery (depending on the severity of the acid and on your skin’s reaction to it). If it’s your first time, give yourself at least a week or more to recover, just in case.
You should do a peel with a professional, since they know how to prescribe one that’s best for you, properly prepare and administer the peel, and can advise on recovery. Peels also stimulate collagen production in the skin, which helps the skin develop a smoother and more youthful complexion. (You can ask your dermatologist about other collagen-stimulating procedures like microneedling, lasers, and microdermabrasion, which can also help.)
The Dark Spot Fast “Fix”
If you waited too long to address the matter, or even if a last-minute blemish rears its ugly head at an inopportune time, you can still cover it up. You’ve heard of concealer, right? It’s all in the name: it conceals dark spots and blemishes by matching your skin tone.
Pat a tiny amount over the spot with your index finger so that it looks natural. (Unless you pick the wrong color; luckily they have dozens to choose from and you can test a small amount on your hand in the store.) Don’t be shy about it either. More of us use concealer than you may think and nobody at Sephora is going to shame you for being human and having pimples or sun spots. Try NARS concealer for a full spectrum of skin tones.
Dark Spot Preventative Measures
If you want to prevent dark spots in the first place, and prevent existing spots from sticking around, then you need to use a daily SPF. UV rays damage skin cells and lead to dark spots and perpetuate the ones you’ve got, even if they’re remnants of acne or aging.
Use an SPF moisturizer every morning and reapply in the afternoon, especially on long summer days. Be certain that your SPF is broad spectrum, which blocks both UVA and UVB rays. (Try Clinique for Men SPF 21 Moisturizer for a fast-absorbing, lightweight option perfect for daily use year round.)