Truth be told, I was pretty damn good about being out in the sun this summer. I wore sunscreen religiously and I tried to be as careful as possible. That didn’t stop crazy little brown spots from showing up on my forehead and along my jaw line. I thought to myself, “Wow, when did I start to get freckles?” until I realized that these were sun spots from years of former sunning.
Damn, they finally got me.
So, I don’t have to get into a whole discussion about protecting yourself from the sun (because you should know already that the shit is dangerous) and that you should be wearing sunscreen (duh) regardless of your racial background or skin pigment (double duh). But what might surprise you is that the spots that are showing up now didn’t happen this year -- they started a long time ago on a face far, far away. It takes years for melanin clusters to show up, but once they arrive, they’re the drunken guests that hang out long after the party is over: they are a bitch to get rid of.
That being said, there are a lot of solutions to help eradicate sun spots and hyperpigmentation that are available at a whole lot of price points. If you want to start working on a flawless complexion over the winter while the sun is in hiding so you can present your best face forward, look for products that break up melanin clusters AND preventing them from forming.
You also have to be willing to put in the WORK, meaning that results will be visible in about 4-8 weeks, depending on what you’re using and how often you apply. Twice a day with religious fanaticism not seen since a Southern tent revival should just about get it done.
Your best options are:
Cash and carry: Garnier Skin Renew Clinical Dark Spot Corrector ($14) -- When in doubt, go with Garnier. It uses clinical doses of pure Vitamin C to brighten and even skin tone, which is the trick to eradicating the spots. It can also be used to fade acne marks and age spots. Just use as directed. I repeat, USE AS DIRECTED for results you can see.
A little more dough: L’Oreal Youth Code Even Discolor Correcting Serum ($23) –- I am a HUGE fan of Youth Code products. For the price range, fewer products deliver as well as these do. That said, this uses some clinically powerful stuff to help break melanin clusters and dark spots up and then prevent melanin synthesis, which is the clustering issue that causes the spots and hyperpigmentation in the first place.
ATM/Debit Card: Kiehl’s Since 1851 Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Corrector ($49.50) –- I’ve written about this product for well over a year now because it is MINDBLOWING. It not only breaks up melanin clusters under the skin, but it goes to work to prevent it from happening. The thing I love about this amazing product is that it doesn’t cheat. There are no brighteners used in the product, so the luminescence you see is all you, baby.
Credit card: Peter Thomas Roth De-Spot ($75, not pictured) –- Honestly, this brand regularly delivers results not usually found outside a dermatology office, so if you want to get big bang results for the money, this is a SICK product to use (and I mean that in the best way possible.) It uses a patent-pending formula that works to break up discoloration due to sun spots, age spots, acne and pregnancy discoloration. Yes, mothers-to-be and those who have recently given birth to a child and uneven skin –- THIS is the product I recommend.
Ouch but Worth Every Penny: Skinceuticals Pigment Regulator ($85) –- People, there are some gold standards in the beauty industry (most are mentioned in this post), but this is a line with which beauty junkies are OBSESSED –- and for good reason. This product is a high-grade medical standard to alleviate dark spots and discoloration. This gets rid of dark spots, freckles, acne spots, hyperpigmentation and blotchiness. It also prevents future clusters from forming without causing harm to the skin. Dermatologists, skincare experts, beauty editors, the girl who has amazing skin that you would like to kill and skin because her face looks so good? This is what she’s probably using.
The other advice? Once the spots are gone, use the highest grade sunscreen you can afford, reapply it often and protect your results. Otherwise, you’re screwed.