Dark Patches on Face: Causes, Preventions and Treatments

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Updated On - August 24, 2020 Dr Jisha Gomez
Read Time : 4 Mins

Dark patches and spots on your face bothering you? Want to know what has caused it? Wish to get rid of them to look flawless again? Thankfully, you don’t have to live with dark spots forever. It is possible to get rid of them. Here’s all you need to know about dark patches and treatments available.

What’s covered in this article:
Causes for Dark Patches on Face.
✔ How to prevent dark spots?
✔ How to treat dark spots?
✔ Dark Spot treatments by Dermatologists
✔ FAQs on Dark Patches and Spots on the face

Causes for Dark Patches on Face

Dark patches on the face commonly are due to hyperpigmentation. When your skin produces more melanin, the dark brown pigment, than usual, dark patches appear! 

Common causes for such skin condition include:

Overexposure to Sun

✔ Exposing your skin to the sun for a long time leads to dark spots.
✔ This is why sun-exposed areas of the body (especially face!) develop dark patches more often than other areas of the body.

Hormonal changes

✔ Hormones may trigger melasma in the skin, which results in hyperpigmentation.
✔ For eg., Dark patches are more common in women, especially during pregnancy. This is mainly due to drastic hormonal changes.

Side effects from taking pills

✔ Certain medicines increase skin pigmentation that leads to dark spots. Medications that are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), tetracyclines, and psychotropic drugs usually cause such skin troubles.

End result of skin infections and inflammations

✔ Dark spots usually follow Inflammations.
Note: Inflammation may occur for various reasons that cause injury to the skin, including acne, eczema, or psoriasis.

Wound healing

✔ Cuts, insect bites, burns are usually covered up by a darker skin. Fortunately, it lightens by itself most of the time.

Skin Irritation

✔ Some skin and hair cosmetics can irritate and affect your skin, causing irritation and eventually dark patches to appear.


✔ Diabetes can cause areas of the skin to become darker too.
✔ Many diabetic patients usually develop dark velvety patches on the skin, which are often times, confused with age spots.

How to prevent dark spots?

You can reduce the chances of dark spots and prevent them from getting darker by following these dermatologists advised tips:

  • Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 every day, even during non-sunny days. Apply them even while staying indoors.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect the delicate skin around your eyes.
  • Treat acne sooner before it turns to inflammation and leads to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
  • Avoid going out in the sun (if you can!) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is the hottest and harshest.

Sometimes, you can’t prevent dark spots! For example, hormonal changes during pregnancy may lead to melasma. One can’t stop this. Consult your skin doctor if you need help! 

Don’t want to visit clinics? Get Skin Treatments from the comfort of your home!

How to treat dark spots?

Dark spots don’t vanish suddenly.  It will take a while to see the difference, but treatment often lightens the spots. Dark spots on the skin may not completely fade depending on the depth and severity.

Start with Sunscreen

✔ Sunscreen prevents further darkening of dark patches.
✔ Look-out for “won’t clog pores” or “non-comedogenic.” sort of sunscreens. This will help prevent acne, which could lead to more dark spots.

Home remedies, self medications, over-the-counter medicines and commercial skin lightening creams which claim to reduce dark spots are not 100% safe. Some ingredients can be very harmful to your skin and your health. 

For eg., most of the commercially available skin lighteners contain potent steroids that can damage the structure of your skin when used without prescription. 

Dark spots and patches can be a challenge to treat; you may want to see a dermatologist. A dermatologist has the expertise to combine treatments to help you get the best results safely.

Get your Dark Spots Treatment Kit from an Expert Dermatologist

Dark Spot treatments by Dermatologists

A dermatologist may recommend one of the following treatments for dark spots on the skin:

Laser treatment

✔ Intense pulse laser light is applied to treat dark spots on the skin.
✔ The light targets melanin and breaks up the dark spots.


✔ A special device that has an abrasive surface is used to remove the outer layer of the skin.
✔ This treatment promotes collagen growth to reduce dark patches on the face.

Chemical peels

✔ A chemical solution is applied to the skin.
✔ It exfoliates the top skin layer and gives way for the new skin growth. 

Prescription skin-lightening cream

✔  Prescription-lightening cream works by bleaching the skin.
✔ It typically works gradually and takes several months to decrease the appearance of dark spots.

It is best to let a Dermatologist judge what is the best course of action for your skin instead of you judging it.

Let an Expert Dermatologist guide you for the right skin treatment for your skin!

FAQs on Dark Patches and Spots on the face

  1. Do dark spots cause harm? Should I worry?

Dark spots on the skin are not harmful. Many choose to remove them for cosmetic reasons. 

However, if you notice a weird-looking new mole or an existing mole with any of the following characteristics, consult a dermatologist to rule out possible skin cancers:-

  1. Asymmetry
  2. Irregular borders
  3. Irregular colour
  4. Changing colour
  5. Diameter > 6mm

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About Author

Dr Jisha Gomez
She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.