Melanin may have blessed African Americans with skin that’s more resistant to aging, but one issue that melanin does not protect us from (and actually enhances!) is the dark spots that come from skin eruptions. How many of you think that the dark spots and blemishes that remain on our skin after a pimple outbreak are at least better than the pimple itself? Anyone? Exactly. The dark, hyper-pigmented areas that show up after a bout with acne or pimples, or from simple scarring, can be as frustrating as the original problem! What’s worse, it seems easier to get rid of the pimple than it is to get rid of the dark spot. If you’re suffering from dark spots, here are some popular solutions:
Just because our skin is dark doesn’t mean we can skip sun protection. The sun’s rays can make dark spots even darker and harder to get rid of, so make sure you moisturizing lotions and creams have some sort of sunscreen in them.
Use a hydroquinone/glycolic acid blend
It may be tempting to head down to your local beauty supply shop and pick up one of those bleaching creams loaded with high levels of hydroquinone, the bleaching agent used to lighten dark areas on the skin. The problem is, many of those creams are unregulated and contain high levels of hydroquinone as well as other ingredients that may end severely damaging your skin. Most FDA-approved over the counter creams contain 2% hydroquinone, which is good for mild dark spot cases. Creams that contain 4% hydroquinone and higher require a prescription in the US. The ones that you find in the beauty supply store with those amounts are not regulated, and could cause permanent, irreversible damage. Ask your doctor to prescribe the appropriate level for you. Use the hydroquinone along with a glycolic acid lotion or cream. The glycolic acid, among other things, softens the skin and smoothes scarring. You’ll want to make sure that you get a glycolic acid or cream with at least 15-20% concentration in order for it to be truly effective.
If you’re going to a dermatologist for laser treatment for your dark spots, make sure that you see a specialist that understands how to use lasers on dark skin, and has a proven track record. A laser in the wrong hands could lead to permanent scarring on dark skin. The Nd-Yag laser is a popular choice for many specialists working with dark skin tones. If your specialist doesn’t know this, it’s on to the next one!
Black soap, the West African soap made from the ash of vegetation like cocoa, plantain skins, palm leaves and shea bark, is has proven very successful for many women of color in banishing dark spots on the face and body. It’s even great for people with sensitive skin. The shea in the soap offers the skin a natural UV protectant. Black soap usually has moisturizing agents in it, but follow up use with a penetrating moisturizer.
Women around the world have had success naturally lightening dark spots with common, household kitchen ingredients. A grated potato’s juice applied to dark spots and left for about ten minutes can help diminish dark spots. You’ll have to use it several times a week for a few weeks before seeing results. Women in countries like India swear by the spice turmeric when it comes to lightening spots. It’s often mixed with milk to form a paste and applied directly to dark areas. Try a combo of cucumber juice, lemon juice, orange juice and Fuller’s earth to make a paste that can be applied to larger areas.
Skin Conditions in Dark Skin http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/black-skin-conditions
How To Lighten Dark Spots http://www.howtolightenskin.com/2010/04/how-to-lighten-dark-spots.html
Eight Reasons To Use Glycolic Acid http://www.911skin.com/glycolic-acid-skin-care-benefits-are.html
Lasers In Dermatology http://www.skinstreet.net/laser.html