Why do dark spots surface as we age?

You may have grown up seeing your parents or grandparents with little dark spots on their faces and necks. Maybe now that you’re older you’re starting to see these dark spots, aka sun spots, appear on your own skin as well. Rest assured, these spots are completely normal. They’re preventable and if you’ve already developed them, they’re even treatable!

So, what are sun spots?

Sun spots, also known as “age spots'', are a type of hyperpigmentation. Like their name suggests, sun spots are caused by (you guessed it) the sun. Sun exposure triggers our skin to produce extra, sometimes uneven, melanin. These spots vary in size, aren’t raised from the skin, and can be anywhere from tan to dark brown in color. They mainly appear in areas where the sun most commonly hits the skin, such as the face, hands, shoulders and arms. 

Unlike some other forms of hyperpigmentation, these spots take time to develop which is why they’re more common in those over 40. If you’ve experienced frequent and intense sun exposure throughout your life or used to be a regular at the tanning booth (hello early 2000’s), there’s a chance your skin has produced more sun spots than typical. Exposure to UV rays speeds up the process of developing sun spots and continued long term exposure only exacerbates them and may make them darker. If you’re looking to address existing dark spots, there are a few ways to treat them!

How can you treat sun spots?

The best way to do this is to use this science-backed, dermatologist favorite ingredient - Vitamin C! It’s a powerful antioxidant that fights skin stressors like free radicals that cause skin damage. Studies have shown that Vitamin C is super effective in reducing the appearance of dark spots. Our Vitamin C Glow Serum contains azelaic acid which when paired with Vitamin C further reduces the look of dark spots and improves uneven skin tone.

Another ingredient that we’ll soon be incorporating into our line is alpha arbutin, which has been touted as an alternative to hydroquinone. It’s a more stable ingredient, which makes it easier to formulate with, and it is GENTLE on skin! More to come from us on this star ingredient soon. 

Exfoliation is another treatment option to help remove dead skin cells which may contain dark pigment to reveal a brighter complexion. Our Turmeric Illuminating Solution is formulated with a carefully curated selection of acids that provides gentle exfoliation suitable for those with sensitive skin. Turmeric itself is also a great ingredient to reduce the appearance of dark spots. Turmeric is an Ayurvedic ingredient that has been used in South Asia and other cultures for 6000+ years. Research shows that curcumin, the main active in turmeric, has the potential to fade dark spots which is why we love this ingredient for anyone looking for overall brightening.

What about preventing sun spots?

Lucky for us all, there’s one product you can use to prevent sun spots and it’s something you hopefully already use, sunscreen! A broad spectrum SPF, like our Daily SPF, protects your skin against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA is specifically known to cause our skin to increase melanin production resulting in dark spots. However, you do have to be consistent with your SPF use because applying it just once a week won’t cut it. SPF should always be the last step of your morning skincare routine and you should aim to reapply every two hours. And of course, avoiding excessive sun exposure (by wearing a hat or standing in the shade) is also a great way to prevent dark spots!

Ultimately, dark spots are totally normal especially as you continue to age. But with consistent SPF use, you’ll protect your skin and prevent early dark spots and as they develop with age you can count on Vitamin C and other star ingredients to help treat them!