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behind the brown spot

behind the brown spot



story highlights

  • Hyperpigmentation is different from freckles and birthmarks
  • Daily SPF use helps to prevent UV-induced hyperpigmentation
  • Fading dark spots is possible, but it typically takes at least 30 days

Dark marks, dark spots & more: hyperpigmentation explained.

Dark spots have a large influence on how old people think we are. In fact, one study showed that unbalanced skin tone can make a person look more than 20 years older!

The big questions: where do dark spots come from, and what can you do about them?

It helps to understand the science behind dark spots and brown spots. The official term for dark spots and other forms of skin discoloration is hyperpigmentation. Unlike freckles, hyperpigmentation doesn’t fade in winter and becomes more visible as we age.

But what causes it? Irregular production of melanin (the brown or reddish pigment in skin). Certain triggers – unprotected sun exposure in particular – cause this irregular production, which leads to surface colour-clumping. Other causes include hormonal factors (birth control pills and pregnancy), and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) caused by past trauma or scarring (think a popped pimple or a deep cut). Hormonal hyperpigmentation and PIH are both intensified by sun exposure.

So, what to do about it? Here’s how to figure out what’s causing your dark spots – and take action.

call in the skin experts

Ask a Dermalogica skin therapist for a free Face Mapping skin analysis and consultation to get to the root of your dark spots. Knowing your unique triggers will reveal the best treatment. They can even recommend skin treatments to help you fade dark spots faster!


apply SPF daily

Did you know that spending just 30 minutes unprotected in the sun can undo a month’s worth of effort in fighting hyperpigmentation? Sunscreen helps prevent UV-induced pigmentation, and it also helps prevent existing spots from becoming more intense. Wear it daily to make the most of the treatments you try.


know your ingredients

There are a number of ingredients that can help address hyperpigmentation, but Niacinamide and Hexylresorcinol stand out as two of the most powerful.

Hexylresorcinol is a potent active that can lead to decreased production of melanin, and Niacinamide has been found to significantly decrease hyperpigmentation. Both Niacinamide and Hexylresorcinol help fade the look of uneven pigmentation for more luminous skin.


be patient

There’s no quick fix for hyperpigmentation: it can take at least 30 days of skin care treatment (with sunscreen use) before you see any progress. Additionally, some spots may look darker before they lighten; this is because they gradually rise to the skin’s surface as you continue to exfoliate. But stick with it, and you’ll eventually see fewer, smaller dark spots!


Fade spots to bright with PowerBright Dark Spot Serum, bringing together a powerful combination of Niacinamide and Hexylresorcinol — both of which have been shown to deliver significant improvement on even skin tone and dark spots in just one week. This advanced serum’s breakthrough technology begins to diminish the appearance of uneven pigmentation fast, and keeps working to even skin tone over time. It brings a new way to address hyperpigmentation, providing both fast and long-term benefits for your skin.

29 April 2022
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