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As you age, you might find yourself with a few dark spots here and there. If you notice some pigmentation and patches of discolored skin, don't despair, dermatologist Dr. Macrene Alexiades stopped by TODAY to share how to best treat dark spots.
There are a variety of ways to remedy dark spots, ranging from visiting a dermatologist for laser procedures — Alexiades likes the Nordly's fractional laser to treat the entire surface area of skin — to more affordable drugstore products (in-office laser treatments costs can start at $600) to handy at-home devices.
But the key to seeing serious improvement in dark spots at-home is making sure you're using the right ingredients and staying consistent. Alexiades advises looking for options that contain vitamin C, glycolic acid or glucosamine. When using these products, it often takes weeks to see results, so it is important to apply the products regularly and be patient. In this case, however, more is not more. Overuse of some of these ingredients can cause irritation, so make sure to use the products as directed.
Scroll below to see expert-recommended options for treating dark spots.
Drugstore dark spot solutions
One of the key ingredients Alexiades suggests using to help treat discoloration is vitamin C. The Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair line has a variety of products that have vitamin C as a key ingredient, including these serum capsules. This product works to brighten and even skin tone to reduce the appearance of dark sports, says the brand. This serum comes in small capsules to preserve the potency of the 20 percent vitamin C.
To help brighten skin, Alexiades recommends using the ingredient glycolic acid, which can be found in products from the L'Oreal Revitalift line. This anti-aging dark spot corrector has a concentration of glycolic acid that is suitable for daily use and can visibly reduce spots in two weeks, says the brand. This lightweight serum is formulated to get rid of dead skin cells to reveal more even skin.
The last ingredient you should target is glucosamine, which, Alexiades says, can help gently and gradually reduce brown spots. She recommends trying the Olay Regenerist line as this ingredient is included in their formula. This sculpting cream works to hydrate and firm skin to improve elasticity. This product also has vitamin B3 and hyaluronic acid to improve the look of wrinkles.
More products to target dark spots
Vitamin C in this formula helps to even skin tone while also reducing the appearance of dark spots, the brand says. A glucose complex in the moisturizer also contains retinol, which helps skin cells regenerate and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
This spot treatment is gentle enough for daily use and you can see results in as little as one week, according to the brand. It tackles dark spots and discoloration and also hydrates the skin thanks to hyaluronic acid in the formula.
This powerful concentrate uses vitamin C to target dullness, wrinkles and uneven skin tones, according to the brand. It can be used in the mornings and at night on the face and neck.
Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid in this formula brighten and hydrate, while a retinol derivative works to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and firm the skin. According to the brand, it is suitable for sensitive skin and for daily use.
With a 10% glycolic acid complex, these peel pads help to brighten and smooth the skin while also reducing wrinkles. The ingredient also helps exfoliate your skin and can be used daily, followed by a moisturizer, the brand says.
Superstar ingredients vitamin C, vitamin B3 and lactic acid join forces in this moisturizer to brighten and hydrate the skin, promising to leave you with a glowing complexion. In one week, the brand says your skin will look less tired and in one month, your skin should feel smoother and brighter.
If you prefer to exfoliate with a scrub, this cleanser uses sugar-like beads to help smooth your skin. Despite being an exfoliator, it can be used daily in the morning and at night, the brand says.
At-home devices to treat dark spots
At-home devices are another great option when it comes to blasting away brown spots. Though these products are on the pricier side, these devices offer at-home procedures that can make a more significant impact on spots and discoloration, Alexiades said.
"Infrared devices like the Tria deliver invisible warm infrared light to the skin which reduces abnormal discolorations, resulting in a more even skin tone," Alexiades said. The light beams stimulate the skin's natural collagen production to improve the appearance of skin.
With this device you can customize your treatment and decide between three different energy levels. The device also has a contact light that glows purple when touching skin. To use, glide the device from side to side for 30 seconds per quadrant of the face until it beeps.
LED masks have become a popular at home option, and this CurrentBody mask is designed to eliminate brown spots and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. This mask combines anti-aging red light and near-infrared light therapy to improve skin tone and texture, the brand says.
"It is so easy to use because it comes as a face mask so there is no technique required other than placing on face and turning it on, which is a plus," Alexiades said.
"Microdermabrasion is an important at home option for clearing the skin tone," Alexiades said. "A well known brand is the Clarisonic Mia Prima. It works by exfoliation, manually rubbing off the dead skin layer and stimulating rejuvenation."
In four weeks after daily use, this device can help your pores look less visible and the tone and texture of skin will improve, says the brand. The brush head is designed to remove dirt, oil, impurities, makeup and more from skin.
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