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How to Fade Dark Spots in Darker Skin Tones

Published : March 21, 2024 8 mins read Updated On : Jun 10, 2024

Have you ever been victimised by the culture that shames you for drinking tea or forces you to gulp down concoctions with questionable ingredients to get rid of the dark spots or just melanin on your skin?

If the answer is, yes! Then we are here to bust the myths surrounding dark spots, which, by the way, are not a result of overconsuming a hot beverage. Then why is your skin getting darker? Well, It is part of a very natural process that a lot of melanin-rich skin tones deal with that is referred to as hyperpigmentation.

While there isn’t one direct correlation between hyperpigmentation, there are several factors that can lead to it. We have compiled a guide for you to identify these causes and symptoms to effectively get rid of these dark spots.

  • What is hyperpigmentation?
  • Types of hyperpigmentation
  • How to get rid of dark spots?

Let us better understand:

What is hyperpigmentation?

The condition on the skin that we generally refer to as dark spots, is a pigmentation disorder called hyperpigmentation. It causes some of the areas of the skin to appear darker than others.

While they aren’t painful or itchy, they manifest on the skin as brown, black, grey, pink or red patches, which can cause people to become self-conscious

Causes of Hyperpigmentation that are common:

  • Acne
  • Bug bites
  • Facial trauma
  • Psoriasis and other chronic skin conditions
  • Allergic reaction to cosmetics
Pigmentation in facial and neck regions that are common in middle-aged women is generally related to endogenous (hormones) along with exogenous factors (such as the use of cosmetics or perfumes, or sun exposure). (1)

While there is no overnight treatment for hyperpigmentation disorders, there are various therapeutic modalities that ensure results. (2)

What are the types of hyperpigmentation?

There isn’t one single category that can describe the disorder completely, hence they are classified by their causes:


Have you been repetitively coming across melasma when trying to identify the causes of hyperpigmentation and are wondering, what is melasma? Well, it is amongst one of the most common causes of pigmentation in the facial area that leads to the skin developing patchy or blotchy discolouration.

It can also be found in the areas of the body such as:

  • Cheeks
  • Chin
  • Forehead
  • Nose
  • Jawline
  • Neck
  • Arms

Signs and symptoms of Melasma

Melasma may appear as freckles and the color varies from skin tone to the severity of the disorder. The best indicator of melasma is recognising its shade by comparing it to your original colour and if it is darker then it may be Melasma (3). Here are some of the other prominent Melasma symptoms:

  • Patches and spots that appear darker than your skin tone
  • It develops on both sides of the face
  • It encompasses a large area of the face
  • Will be more prominent on one side than the other
  • Can be developed by lighter skin shades too
  • Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation

Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a common disorder that can occur after an inflammation in the skin or injury. It is generally more severe within darker-skinned individuals. While it may resolve on its own typically, it can also take months to years to prolong the treatment. (4)

Some of the causes can be attributed to various preceding diseases that affect the skin such as:

  • Infections
  • Allergies
  • Reactions
  • Mechanical injuries
  • Reaction to medication
  • Phototoxic eruptions
  • Trauma (burns)

Signs and symptoms of Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation

Some prominent symptoms of Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation are darkened areas on the skin, these patches can vary in size and develop anywhere on the body.

It can occur in any age or skin type however, it is more common in Fitzpatrick skin types III-VI. This means the darker the skin colour the more intense and persistent hypomelanosis tends to be. (5)

How to remove dark spots on your face?

There are several different approaches that you can take to help reduce dark spots and eventually get rid of them too. We have segregated the list into three categories for you so you can choose a solution that is convenient and accessible to you:

Home Remedies

  • Aloe Vera Gel for Dark Spots

The all-rounder when it comes to skincare, aloe vera gel is known for its medicinal properties towards healing skin.

Research was conducted to study the effects of aloe vera on chemotherapy-induced hyperpigmentation and it was found that it showed encouraging signs of fading post chemo hyperpigmentation. (6)

You can simply incorporate it by applying it every day before bed (check for allergies prior) and the substance in aloe vera called aloin will help lighten the skin and it acts as a non-toxic hyperpigmentation therapy.

  • Green tea for Dark Spots

Green tea is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties that help in getting rid of hyperpigmentation and dark spots by preventing the overproduction of melanin.

It can also be beneficial for melasma, one of the severe forms of hyperpigmentation.

  • Soy for Dark Spots

Another antioxidant-rich extract that helps even out skin tone and brightens the skin to help with hyperpigmentation and dark spots. It is also rich in vitamin C which nourishes the skin and keeps it healthy.

  • Rice water for Dark spots

Fermented rice water has been the golden goose of Asian skincare. It is rich in antioxidants that include vitamins B and vitamin E that help promote cell growth, and keep the blood flow stimulated to keep the skin youthful, smooth and bright.

It can be incorporated into daily skin care routine simply by dabbling cotton into the rice water and keeping it on for 20 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water.

  • Turmeric for Dark spots

Turmeric is a miraculous ingredient and a staple in Asian households. Turmeric is enriched with antioxidants and has amazing anti-inflammatory properties.

Turmeric provides a radiant glow to the skin by brightening it and is an amazing aid for reducing dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

  • Pomegranate for Dark spots

Pomegranate seeds are known to contain an oil that is rich in polyphenols and bioflavonoids which are powerful antioxidants

These antioxidants can help fade blemishes, dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles. They are amazing at regenerating sun damaged skin which makes them great for hyperpigmentation.

  • Grape seed oil for Dark spots

One of the most effective ways to reduce pigmentation and dark spots is by using grapeseed oil. It is packed with antioxidants that fight against free radicals that cause hyperpigmentation.

It also evens out skin tone further reducing dark spots. It is the simplest and easiest home remedy to treat skin discolouration.

  • Apple cider vinegar for Dark spots

Research has shown that apple cider vinegar contains a component called acetic acid that has shown positive effects on lightening pigmentation.
It is easily available in the market and is a great at-home remedy for dark spots.

Skin Care Routine

  • Sunscreen for dark spots
The leading cause of hyperpigmentation is exposure to the sun, so it is only logical that you lather up with sunscreen always! Sunscreen creates a protective layer against the harmful UV rays that prevents the flare-up of melasma and hyperpigmentation. Without sunscreen the existing dark spots can get worse hence, always wear it both indoors and outdoors.

  • Serums for dark spots

Serums that are rich in Vitamin C are essential for treating hyperpigmentation. Used widely by dermatologists as a treatment for the Depigmentation of hyperpigmented spots on the skin and gingiva. (7) You can always rely on a serum that is predominantly Vitamin C infused.

  • Retinoids for dark spots

The enzyme that is integral for the formation of melanin, known as tyrosinase can be mitigated by retinol which helps decrease the onset of new hyperpigmentation on the skin.

Research has shown that topical retinoids are proven treatments for melasma due to their anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help with acne, which is one of the causes of hyperpigmentation, and early and aggressive treatment with retinol is encouraged. (8)

  • Azelaic acid for dark spots

Free radicals cause inflammation that leads to hyperpigmentation, azelaic acid can counter that or neutralise them. It helps even the skin tone and decreases the pigmentation inhibiting enzymes that lead to hyperpigmentation and dark spots on the skin.

  • Kojic acid for dark spots

Kojic acids are used in creams, gels and cosmetics as a bleaching agent. It is similar to a chemical called hydroquinone which is also an excellent treatment for hyperpigmentation caused by hormone medication.

Kojic acid helps prevent the skin from forming an enzyme that creates melanin which helps in reducing dark spots and sun damage.

Medical Procedures

  • Laser Therapy

A study has shown that Laser treatments are extremely effective in the treatment of melasma and hyperpigmentation (9)

These procedures have an intense pulsed light focused on the melanin within the hyperpigmented areas, which helps in the reduction of the same. These are administered by highly skilled practitioners and dermatologists.

  • Chemical Peels

A chemical solution is applied to the layers of skin that helps in making way for the growth of new skin and reduce dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

  • Cryotherapy

This procedure involves liquid nitrogen that is used to freeze and eliminate any excess melanin in the hyperpigmented areas, eventually fading away the dark spots.

  • Microdermabrasion

This process involves the meticulous removal of the outer skin layer through microdermabrasion. Fine crystals are propelled onto the skin’s surface at a very high velocity, followed by rapid removal through suction. This helps the quick removal of deep discolourations and the skin regenerates.


While the process of curing dark spots may seem prolonged successful results are achievable with consistency and discipline towards the treatment routine.
The home remedies and skincare routines are generally safe for everyone to use, however, the medical procedures need to be reviewed carefully by your healthcare professional.
Some preventative measures for dark spots like wearing sunscreen, and protective clothing while going out and picking shade on sunny days will help prevent the forming of new dark spots or stop the existing ones from worsening.


1. How to remove dark spots on the face?
There are several different ways one can do to reduce dark spots:

  • Aloe vera gel
  • Soy
  • Rice water
  • Use sunscreen
  • Retinoids
  • Laser therapy
  • Chemical peels

2. How to remove pimple marks?
Some of the natural remedies that can be used to remove pimple marks are by using honey, lemon juice or aloe vera.
Over-the-counter creams with ingredients such as retinol and vitamin C can help too.

3. What is melasma?
Melasma is amongst the most common skin conditions that can cause dark patches that are usually triggered by UV exposure, hormonal changes or certain medications.

4. Why is my skin getting darker?
Skin can darken due to several reasons and skin conditions, one of the causes being hyperpigmentation which is common in people with melanin-rich skin.

Dr. Pragati Naval Mundra
Craniomaxillofacial and Facial Cosmetic Surgeon

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