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Removal of Dark Spots on Face
The treatment for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) or removal of dark spots face includes the use of:
1. SPF 30 Sunscreen
Broad spectrum sunscreens that offer protection from UVA and UVB rays and that have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above should be used every day.
2. Skin Brighteners
Examples of skin brighteners that can be used include:
a. Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a natural antioxidant which reduces melanin production by the skin and gives it a radiant effect. It is found in products like Olay Total Effects tone correcting night moisturizer and Neutrogena dark spot corrector.
b. Vitamin B3 or niacinamide is another skin brightener used to reduce hyperpigmentation. It interrupts abnormal pigment formation by reducing the transfer or melanosomes to the skin cells. It is found in products like Olay Total Effects tone correcting night moisturizer.
c. Licorice extract in a skin brightening agent which also has anti-inflammatory properties. It is found in the Dark Spot Corrector Kit.
4. Mild Chemical Peels
Mild or superficial chemical peels like Glycolic acid which is a naturally occurring alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA). 30% Glycolic acid peels can be bought over the counter.
5. Skin Bleaches like Hydroquinone
Hydroquinone is available over the counter at concentrations of 1% and 2%. An example of a non-prescription product is Ambi Fade Cream which contains 2% hydroquinone.
Skin bleaches like hydroquinone should only be used if the skin is not inflamed, if direct sunlight is avoided and sunscreens are applied daily on top of it.
Hydroquinone should only be applied to the hyperpigmented areas only to prevent hypopigmentation (lightening) of the normal skin.
Hydroquinone can irritate sensitive skin and cause ochronosis which is unusual bluish-black darkening of the skin. It is also thought to cause cancer.