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Dark Spots on Skin: Why They Develop and How to Prevent Them


Signs of skin damage are often revealed through dark spots on the skin. These patches are usually called black spots, sun spots, or age spots. You may be wondering why these spots are showing up on your skin and how you can prevent sun spots from growing. Look no further, because we have prepared a practical and simple skincare guide to get clear and healthy-looking skin.

What Causes Dark Spots?

Sun spots are a result of melanin hyperpigmentation. Melanin is a natural pigment that gives colour to your skin, hair, and eyes. Produced by cells called melanocytes, it protects your skin by shielding it from the sun’s powerful UV rays. However, your skin may produce excess melanin when hyperpigmentation occurs. This can cause patches and spots to form that are darker than your natural skin tone. 

How are Sun spots formed? Hyperpigmentation forms as a result of sun damage, where an excess of melanin is produced to protect the skin. This may results in dark spots on the skin.

3 Reasons Why You May Have Dark Spots Appearing on Your Skin:

Sun Damage

Sun damage is the top cause of dark spots. Experiencing the outdoors and feeling the warmth of the sun on your bare skin is an incredible and even therapeutic sensation. However, you may resultingly trigger the runaway production of melanin this way. Melanin is your body’s own natural sunblock, absorbing and distributing the sun’s energy across the skin. Too much UV light can challenge your skin, causing dark spots and patches to appear.

Sun damage is also the root cause for age spots or liver spots. These spots are the result of sun exposure accumulated over many years. Age spots are most common for adults over the age of 55, where they tend to show up in areas that have been exposed most to the sun. Areas such as the face, shoulders, back, hands and feet are most common. As you age, the appearance of hyperpigmentation can be intensified as your melanocytes count starts to drop, while pigment production increases. Older skin also tends to appear thinner and paler, emphasising the appearance of sun spots.

Change in Hormone Levels

Ups and downs in hormone levels can cause a side effect called Melasma, which is a change in pigmentation. The production of melanin can be stimulated through a rise in hormone levels typically caused by birth control, hormone replacement therapy or pregnancy. Women suffering from Melasma often develop dark patches on their face. Fortunately these marks are not permanent. Getting your hormone levels back to normal will cause these marks to slowly and naturally fade away.

If you suffer from Melasma, it is important to note that heat and sun exposure can aid the spreading and enlarging of hyperpigmentation. Therefore, it would be best to avoid high temperature environments as this could worsen the appearance of your dark spots.

Skin Inflammation

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is a type of discoloration that happens when your skin makes excess melanin after it has been inflamed or injured. People suffering from acne, eczema, allergies or other skin conditions oftentimes have an natural response to produce extra melanin after injury or inflammation. This may develop dark spots on their skin. PIH most commonly occurs after breakouts where dark spots are left behind after the skin heals itself. 

How to Prevent Dark Spots (Hyperpigmentation)

For clear and healthy-looking skin, hyperpigmentation prevention and treatment go hand in hand. Here are the best ways to reduce existing hyperpigmentation and to prevent them from reappearing on your skin:

Protect your Skin from the Sun

Lessen your sun exposure, wear sun protective clothing outdoors, and always put on your sunscreen! Sun damage is one of the top causes of hyperpigmentation as it stimulates the production of excess melanin to protect your skin. To prevent dark spots from forming, it is important to avoid or block harmful UV rays. Limit the amount of time you’re in the sun, especially during the hours between 10:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. where the sun’s rays are at its strongest, and always have a bottle of sunscreen on hand to reapply every 2 hours (even when it’s cloudy!).

If you are looking to achieve that golden tan whilst staying protected from sun spots, we’d recommend trying our lightweight, non-greasy Suntan Body Oil infused with carrot oil and Vitamin C. 

Keep your Skin Cool

Lay off the saunas and avoid high heat temperature areas. Sun exposure isn’t the only trigger for Hyperpigmentation; heat can do just as much damage as it can also stimulate the production of more pigment. Keeping the skin cool reduces the potential for dark spots to develop.

Keep your Hands off your Face

Have a habit of picking your pimples during breakouts? Stop immediately! The skin’s natural response to inflammation and injury is to create more melanin, increasing the chances of forming dark spots. Therefore, avoid touching, scratching, picking on your skin or any activity that may irritate your skin even further.

Use Vitamin C Everyday

Vitamin C can prevent hyperpigmentation and reduce dark spots. Also known as Ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is packed with antioxidants which reduce spots and hyperpigmentation, provide anti-inflammatory effects, and many more skincare benefits. It also blocks the enzyme responsible for melanin production, decreasing the risk of hyperpigmentation and brightens the skin. Apply a Vitamin C cream on a daily basis (such as our cream MythicEye Cream that combats dark circles around the eyes) to effectively even out your skin tone, diminish the appearance of dark spots, and prevent them from forming again.

Hydrate and Exfoliate

Some people use skin bleaching products to even out their skin tone, but this procedure can be costly and can cause skin irritation, itching, and stinging. We recommend using natural products with Glycerin, a moisturizing substance that is a safe and effective alternative to lighten dark spots and brighten your complexion.

Mastic Origins’ 2-in-1 Scrub Mask is a Deep Purifying Scrub Mask with green clay. It is rich in astringent natural agents and uses the exfoliating and moisturizing properties of Glycerin. Its granules provide light exfoliation on the face and eyes to remove dead skin cells and refresh the skin’s surface. Up your skincare game by pairing this with our moisturizing organic serum Mastic Origins’ Hydrative Drops which does wonders in brightening your skin’s complexion. It boosts the reduction of dark spots and age spots while providing deep hydration to your skin.

Now that you have grasped the how’s and why’s of hyperpigmentation, we would love to help you on your Skincare journey to clear and healthy-looking skin that’s free from any dark and pesky spots. Have a look at our product catalog to learn more about our All-Natural, Mastic-infused products.