All about pigmentationUnderstanding your skin to better care for it
The experts answer all your questions‘‘Where do my dark spots come from?’’
‘‘How can I treat them?’’
‘‘How can I reduce their appearance?’’
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The experts' answers
Understanding dark spots
- Where do my dark spots come from?
- Dark spots appear on the skin where melanin -the skin's pigment- is present in too large a quantity and/or is poorly distributed. These clusters of melanin become visible at the surface of the skin.
The sun is quite often responsible for this imbalance. But other factors can also contribute to it:
- Hormonal changes: puberty (acne), pregnancy (the pregnancy mask), menopause (age spots).
- Taking photosensitizing medication.
- Applying certain perfumes directly to the skin.
- What are the various types of spots?
- There are several different kinds of spots:
- Dark spots caused by exposure to the sun and ageing: Called actinic lentigo or solar lentigo, the dark spots resulting from sun exposure are smooth and brown and can be of varying darknesses. They generally appear on the zones most exposed to the sun, such as the face, cleavage, shoulders and hands. They often appear after a sunburn or repeated sun exposure. Lentigo senilis, or age spots, appear for the most part on people over the age of 40.
- Dark spots caused by pregnancy: called melasma or, more commonly, the pregnancy mask, this type of dark spot is a pigmented zone that generally appears on the face like a mask. Melasma spreads in a symmetrical way from the forehead to the cheeks, and appears in women experiencing hormonal changes such as pregnancy.
- Dark spots caused by inflammations and scarring such as acne.
- My dark spots are not all the same color. Is this normal?
- To be sure that you are not dealing with a melanoma, it is necessary to consult a health professional (a dermatologist or doctor) for any cutaneous dark spot that is different from the others in terms of color, shape or appearance.
- My dark spots are not all the same shape. Is this normal?
- Cutaneous dark spots appear because too much melanin has gathered at the surface of the skin. Poorly distributed melanin creates clusters. It is therefore normal that all dark spots do not have the same shape.
However, if a cutaneous dark spot has a heterogeneous appearance with irregular edges, it is important to have it checked by a specialist.
- Are dark spots hazardous to my health?
- In a general way, pigment spots are not dangerous for your health. However, if you notice an unusual cutaneous dark spot (of a different size, color or shape), consult a specialist.
- One of my dark spots is itchy or has changed color or shape. What should I do?
- When a cutaneous dark spot is behaving differently, consult a specialist.
- Are pigment spots hereditary?
- Heredity can have an effect on the skin, especially regarding skin types. It is important to protect and care for your skin using anti-dark spot treatments if you are genetically prone to dark spots.
- I do not understand the difference between acne dark spots and acne scars. Do both disappear with the anti-dark spot treatment?
- Those are different kinds of imperfections. Acne spots are a type of hyperpigmentation due to inflammation. They can be treated with an anti-dark spot care routine. Acne scars, however, are deep, colorless marks that cannot be treated with anti-dark spot care products.
Dark spots and the sun
- I have dark spots on my face that appear after sun exposure. What should I do?
- One of the foremost causes of pigmentation spots appearing is sun exposure. Exposure to the sun makes new dark spots appear and reinforces existing dark spots. That is why it is so important to wear protective clothing and SPF 50 sun cream and to limit your sun exposure. It is also recommended to apply a non-photosensitizing anti-dark spot cream under your sun cream as a preventative measure.
- I applied sun cream before exposing my skin to the sun, but my dark spots have not disappeared. Is this normal?
- The sun makes new dark spots appear on the skin and reinforces existing spots. In order to reduce the appearance of pigment spots, it is important to limit your exposure to the sun; but this does not constitute a treatment for existing dark spots. To treat these, it is necessary to adopt a daily anti-spot routine to treat spots on the surface—and in the deeper layers—of the skin. It is also recommended to apply a non-photosensitizing anti-dark spot cream under your sun cream as a preventative measure throughout the year.
- If I apply an anti-dark spot cream under my sun cream, will I tan less?
- Anti-dark spot creams regulate the disordered overproduction of melanin in the skin. Tanning is a regular, normal overproduction of melanin. An anti-dark spot cream targets the disordered overproduction and does not limit your ability to tan. However, the product's action regulates the production of melanin for a lasting, uniform tan.
- Are anti-dark spot creams photosensitizing?
- Some anti-dark spot creams can photosensitize the skin. For example, products with AHA should not be used in association with sun exposure. In order to prevent the appearance of pigment spots on a daily basis, it is important to use a skincare product with a non-photosensitizing formula if you will be applying it before sun exposure.
- My dermatologist recommended an SPF 50 sun cream. He tells me this is enough to prevent dark spots. Is this true?
- In order to avoid reinforcing the skin’s existing dark spots, it is fundamental to apply an SPF 50 sun cream before sun exposure and to renew the application every two hours. You should also protect exposed zones with clothing and avoid sun exposure between noon and 4pm. Throughout the year, protect your skin with a moderate protection (SPF 20) if you live in a region where the sun is not too strong. Apply a non-photosensitizing anti-dark spot care product before you apply your sun cream to reinforce its anti-dark spot action.
- If I apply an anti-dark spot cream to my tanned skin, will it ruin my tan?
- Anti-dark spot creams do not limit your ability to tan. To the contrary, the product’s action regulates the production of melanin for a lasting, uniform tan. To maintain your tan longer, remember to intensely moisturize your skin after sun exposure.
- Can I use self-tanning lotion if my skin is prone to dark spots?
- Applying self-tanning lotion to skin prone to dark spots is not advised; this is because self-tanning lotion can accentuate their shade and make them more visible.
Dark spots and cutaneous ageing
- As the years go by, I notice that dark spots are appearing on my face. What should I do?
- Cutaneous ageing is one of the causes for the appearance of pigment spots at the skin’s surface. The use of anti-dark spots treatments helps regulate the presence of melanin, the skin’s pigment, in order to reduce the sizes of pigment spots and diminish their brown colour. It is important to protect your skin from the sun’s rays using an SPF 50 sun protection in case of direct exposure and SPF 20 all year round. You may also apply a non-photosensitising anti-dark spot care product before applying your sun cream to prevent their appearance.
- I have dark spots on my hands. What should I do?
- It is said that hands betray our age. Although the hands are often exposed to the sun and are prone to cutaneous aging, they are generally overlooked in skincare routines, and dark spots tend to appear there. The use of specifically targeted creams helps regulate the presence of melanin, the skin’s pigment, in order to reduce the sizes of pigment spots and diminish their brown color. It is also indispensable to protect your skin from the sun’s rays using SPF 50 sun protection in case of direct exposure and SPF 20 daily if you live in an area where the sun is not so strong.
- I have dark spots on my décolleté. What should I do?
- The use of anti-dark spot skincare products should not stop at the jawline. The skin of the neck and décolleté, prone to cutaneous aging, is often exposed to the sun. These care products help regulate the presence of melanin, the skin's pigment, in order to reduce the sizes of pigment spots and diminish their brown colour. It is also important to protect your skin from the sun's rays using a strong (SPF 50) sun protection in case of direct exposure and a moderate (SPF 20) protection on a daily basis.
Dark spots and hormone imbalance
- I had acne as a teenager and it has left dark spots on my face. What should I do?
- When acne pimples heal, they sometimes cause a cluster of melanin—the pigment responsible for the skin's coloration—to form. The scar therefore appears darker than the skin surrounding it. This excess of melanin production can also be caused by overly intense sun exposure and various inflammatory phenomena. The ideal treatment for this problem is to apply a fluid anti-dark spot care product daily in addition to using sun protection, and to protect your skin with a strong SPF when you will be directly exposing your skin to the sun.
- What is a pregnancy mask?
- Officially termed melasma, more commonly known as a pregnancy mask, this type of dark spot appears on the face like a mask of pigmentation. It spreads symmetrically from the forehead to the cheeks, but it can also be limited to the eyes, forehead or both. It can appear in women who are experiencing hormonal changes such as pregnancy.
- I have a pregnancy mask. What should I do?
- The pregnancy mask can disappear after giving birth, once your hormone levels return to normal. However, it can reappear as soon as you expose your face to the sun, and it can also become a permanent feature on your face. To restore a bright, uniform complexion, it is important to adopt a complete, natural, paraben-free anti-dark spot beauty routine and proper sun protection.
- How can I avoid getting pregnancy mask?
- To avoid getting a pregnancy mask, it is important to remain extremely vigilant throughout your pregnancy and the months following delivery. Protect your skin from the sun with the application of a high SPF cream every two hours, and follow an anti-dark spot treatment. A dark-haired woman may be more prone to this type of dark spot than a light-haired woman, but, contrary to popular belief, the latter can also develop a pregnancy mask.
- I gave birth several weeks ago. Am I still at risk of getting a pregnancy mask?
- Because of the high hormone levels in the body and skin, the pregnancy mask can still appear several months after delivery. Breastfeeding can also increase the risks of getting a pregnancy mask. The use of sun protection for any amount of exposure is therefore indispensable, and should be combined with an anti-dark spot routine to treat any existing dark spots and prevent the appearance of new ones.
- I am taking birth control pills. Will this increase the number of my dark spots?
- The influence of hormones can cause dark spots to appear. The use of sun protection for any amount of exposure is indispensable. The idea is to incorporate sunscreen into an anti-dark spot routine to treat existing dark spots and prevent the appearance of new ones.
Treatments for dark spots
- Why should dark spots be treated?
- The more even your facial skin, the more your face will reflect light. Dark spots cloud your complexion and make it dull. It is important to treat any dark spots on a daily basis to prevent them accumulating on your face.
- I smoke, and I have noticed that my complexion is less radiant. What should I do?
- Today, everyone knows that the chemicals in cigarette smoke damage the skin and make it age prematurely. Nicotine disturbs the irrigation of tissues and reduces micro-circulation. The complexion becomes dull and grayish. The skin has difficulty renewing itself. Of course, nothing could be more beneficial than quitting smoking, but you can improve the state of your skin with mild daily cleansing and, morning and evening, the application of a radiance-boosting anti-dark spot routine.
- I have sensitive skin. Is there a solution for treating my dark spots?
- Dark spots on sensitive skin should be treated with formulas that are non-irritating, non-photosensitizing, preventive and curative.
- Are there natural methods for combating dark spots?
- There are certain natural methods for boosting the complexion's radiance, but unprocessed natural ingredients have their limits. In order to be really effective and produce visible results, a natural active ingredient should be used at the right concentration and as part of a suitable cosmetic formula.
- What are the dermatological treatments for dark spots?
- Laser treatment and the chemical peel are two solutions used by dermatologists in treating dark spots. These procedures might be effective, but they can be costly and abrasive to the skin. In addition, their effects are not definitive, and they do not prevent dark spots from reappearing. To avoid such treatments or as a post-treatment follow-up, it is recommended to adopt an anti-dark spot routine.
- What are the daily measures that can help limit the appearance of dark spots?
- Adopting good beauty habits on a daily basis will help restore a bright, radiant complexion free of dark spots:
- Use anti-dark spot serums and creams as a deep treatment for existing spots and to limit their appearance
- Apply a night product with a peeling action to activate cell renewal
- Once or twice a week, apply a peeling mask or scrub to eliminate dead skin cells at the surface of the skin
- Wear sunscreen every day with a preventive non-photosensitising anti-dark spot care product and take care not to spend time in the sun. Also think to protect your skin with sun protection on a daily basis.
- Do anti-dark spot creams make tattoos disappear?
- Anti-dark spot creams regulate the disordered overproduction of melanin in the skin. Tattoos are not made up of excessive melanin but rather inks and colorants that have been injected into the skin. They are not affected by anti-dark spot treatments.
- Can anti-dark spot creams make freckles disappear?
- Freckles which are present all year round on skin, also called ephelides, do not disappear with the use of anti-dark spot products. However, freckles which appear following sun exposure can be treated with an anti-dark spot routine.
- What is the difference between a skin whitening product and an anti-dark spot product?
- What are generally called « whitenin products » are medically prescribed products designed to correct the natural skin color. Anti-dark spot cosmetic care products, for their part, reduce dark spots by regulating the production of melanin in the skin, offering a bright, even color.
- My skin is black and covered with dark spots. Can anti-dark spot treatments also treat dark spots on black skin?
- Pigment spots are due to an overproduction of melanin, the skin’s pigmentation. An effective anti-dark spot care product allows this hyperproduction to be regulated and dark spots therefore corrected and their appearance avoided; whatever the skin colour.
- Can scrubs help dark spots disappear?
- Using a scrub on a regular basis will not make dark spots disappear. However, this beauty ritual is part of the steps that help maintain the skin's radiance, preparing it for anti-dark spot products. It is also a way to eliminate superficial pigmentation.
Preventing the appearance of dark spots
- I do not yet have dark spots. Is it possible to prevent their appearance?
- To limit the appearance of dark spots, it is extremely important to protect the skin from sun exposure. Remember to use a strong sunscreen in case of prolonged sun exposure, and to limit your exposure when you can. The appearance of dark spots is progressive, so it is recommended to regularly apply anti-dark spot care products and sun protection in order to prevent cutaneous ageing and the formation of dark spots, especially if you have light skin.
- Can proper nutrition help prevent dark spots?
- Your skin reflects your lifestyle and therefore what you eat. Nutrition is as important for your skin's health as it is for your entire body. Adopting a diet rich in anti-oxidants will protect your skin from free radicals, which are responsible for wrinkles and cutaneous dark spots.
- Should I wear gloves to avoid getting dark spots on my hands?
- The sun is largely responsible for the appearance of dark spots. Wearing gloves is indeed a good way to protect your hands from UVA and UVB rays.
- Do products containing essential oils cause spots in the sunlight?
- Certain essential oils are photosensitising, and should therefore never be applied to the skin before sun exposure. Doing so would cause the appearance of pigment spots (examples: bergamot and citrus oils).
Our anti-dark spot top tips
Use an SPF sun protection all year round
Top tip n°2:
Treat dark spots in the morning and evening with a high-performance serum
Follow a healthy diet rich in anti-oxidants
Top tip n°4:
Avoid applying perfume directly to the skin
The Caudalie solution
Viniferine, derived from the sap of the grapevine, is one of the most effective natural molecules for combating dark spots and boosting radiance.
One or more dark spots had disappeared after 56 days**
Viniferine is 4 times more powerful than kojic acid, 13 times more powerful than arbutin, and 62 times more powerful than Vitamin C***.