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Natural vs Chemical: What’s Best for Treating Dark Spots?

Are dark spots and blotches cropping up on your face faster than weeds on a summer lawn? Darker skinned beauties are more prone to this cosmetic conundrum, but plenty of other women of all complexions struggle, too.

It's called hyperpigmentation, and these buggers are caused by many reasons:  damaging UV rays, genetics, acne scarring, and even some types of medications. And if that wasn't bad enough, hormonal havoc (think pregnancy or contraception), and normal aging can trigger dark spots or blotches on your skin, too.

Of course, lots of hyperpigmentation may be prevented in the first place but that’s a topic for another time. For now, it’s time to tackle this issue head-on.

Some beauties are so exasperated by dark spots that they don’t hesitate to empty their wallets on potentially dangerous chemical treatments. We get it; you want those dark spots to vamoose instantly.

But before you take drastic and costly measures, let’s unpack the natural alternatives, too. (Mother Nature is likely responsible for those spots, so maybe she can get rid of them!) First a run-down of the most common non-natural treatments.

Chemical Treatments

 So called “lightening” creams are many women’s first step in the battle. They are available over the counter as well as by prescription. A common ingredient is hydroquinone, a skin-lightening agent. It essentially bleaches the skin by decreasing the number of melanocytes present. Melanocytes make melanin, which produces your skin tone.

 Hydroquinone is generally well-tolerated, but there are some important exceptions. For instance, this ingredient tends to work best on fair skinned beauties. In darker skin tones, hydroquinone may actually worsen hyperpigmentation! And you also may want to steer clear if you have dry or sensitive skin because it may cause further dryness and irritation.

Additionally, in rare cases, hydroquinone has caused a condition called ochronosis, which leads to bluish-black pigmentation.

Also, it is important to be wary when shopping for chemically based skin lighteners to avoid those that contain mercury. According to the World Health Organization, if a product has mercury you’ll see one or more of these ingredients: Calomel, Cinnabaris, Hydragyri oxydum rubrum, Quicksilver. 

Mercury can damage kidneys, injure your nerves, leading to permanent numbness and a host of other health issues. Enough said… be a label reader!

Nature’s Top Offerings

It turns out there are many natural ingredients that can fade dark spots almost as well as those nasty chemicals. Here are a few scientifically recognized natural hyperpigmentation fixes that we love.

 Aloe Vera: Aloe contains aloin, a natural depigmenting compound that has been shown in studies to effectively brighten skin. It’s also been found to fade those dark acne marks (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) left after pimples heal. Aloe Vera gel prevents tyrosinase, the enzyme you can blame for your skin discoloration woes; essentially blocking UV-induced hyperpigmentation.

 Vitamin C: One of Vitamin C’s top claims to fame is that it helps to inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase, which in turn prevents the production of melanin that causes the dark spots.  Research suggests that it can protect against sun damage, increase collagen levels, and reduce the formation of melanin to stop hyperpigmentation.

Turmeric: Yes, it’s that same spice found in Indian food. But did you know that it can also be your skin’s best friend? This bright yellow spice inhibits pigmentation in the skin and reduces the appearance of dark spots and pigmented scarring. A large study proved that a turmeric-based cream greatly reduced hyperpigmentation over the course of four weeks.

Does Mother Nature Rule?

Gosh, we thought you’d never ask! We believe that an organic dark spot treatment that is free from synthetics, paraben and harsh chemical agents is the best approach to brightening and evening skin tone naturally.

Many skincare experts recommend using a face mask featuring Aloe Vera, Vitamin C and Turmeric to even skin tone, replenish moisture, and more.

For a mask that includes these three natural superheroes as well a host of powerful skin-loving antioxidants try Gleamin™ Vitamin C Clay Mask. This multitasking marvel features an all-star lineup of proven natural ingredients for fading dark spots.