Rodan + Fields / Blog / Pro Tips

How To Prevent Visible Dark Spots

Rodan and fields model applying face wash

Dark spots are a common skin concern, as they can make it difficult to achieve an even, glowing skin tone.

Their appearance can be minimized with the use of makeup, but there are also some key methods to help address skin discolorations and prevent them from occurring in the first place. In this blog post, we’ll talk about what dark spots on the face are, what causes them, how to get rid of dark spots on the face, what hyperpigmentation is (the reason for dark spots!), how to prevent dark spots, and more.

What Are Dark Spots?

So, what exactly are dark spots and what causes them to show up? Dark spots are the result of an overproduction of melanin in the skin. This is called hyperpigmentation, which the Cleveland Clinic defines as “a common condition that makes some areas of the skin to appear darker than others.” This extra melanin creates spots or patches that look brown, black, red, gray, or pink.

What Causes Dark Spots on the Face?

So, what causes dark spots? If you spend a lot of time in the sun outdoors or you’ve indulged in tanning beds in the past or present, you may start to see visible dark spots appear over time. They can also occur in conjunction with hormonal changes. These hormonal shifts include those causing acne, since post-acne spots are also considered dark spots.

How Do You Address Dark Spots on the Face?

So, how can you remove dark spots on your face? Knowing how to get rid of hyperpigmentation is a matter of finding the right targeted formula. There are formulas that address the dark spots already on the face and then also help to prevent future ones. From exfoliating to chemical peels to cryotherapy, here’s some of our recommended go-to solutions.

Consult With Your Dermatologist

If you experience hyperpigmentation or post-inflammatory acne spots, contact your dermatologist for guidance and ask them what removes dark spots in general and for our skin type. Introducing skin brightening products or prescription skin lightening creams to your skincare routine may be the first step. Including a spot corrector for more stubborn dark spots can help even your skin tone and get it looking bright and glow-y. In-office treatments like laser treatments and micro-needling can also help you address existing dark marks.

Exfoliate Your Skin Regularly

If you want to remove dark spots from your face naturally, you’ll want to gently exfoliate your skin at least a few times per week with an exfoliant that works well for your skin type. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells and buildup, creating a better canvas for brighter skin to be revealed. Be gentle when exfoliating, and don’t overdo it in a way that strips the skin of healthy oils or irritates the skin’s delicate barrier.

Targeted Hyperpigmentation Products

Some dark spot correctors can not only be used on the face, but also on the neck, chest and hands to target visible skin discoloration. Add this product to your daily routine to minimize the appearance of brown spots, dark spots, patches, post-acne dark marks and age spots. For best results, always apply a sunscreen on the area of concern and try to avoid unprotected sun exposure.  Your targeted treatment or dark spot corrector should be used at night only, to avoid sun exposure altogether.

Chemical Peel

The superficial peels most often used to lighten up dark spots are alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic and lactic acid) and beta hydroxy acids (such as salicylic acid). Salicylic acid’s ability to exfoliate the top layer of skin makes it a good ingredient for peeling. It also helps prep the skin for brightening treatments that follow.


Cryotherapy is the exposure of the skin to low temperatures. It is used to treat skin lesions—including dark spots and skin tags. During cryotherapy, liquid nitrogen or another freezing agent is applied to your dark spots to address extra pigmentation. The skin will appear lighter as the area heals. Lasers, peels or other in-office treatments should all be carefully considered in consultation with your dermatologist.

Target Hyperpigmentation with the Right Skincare Ingredients

A nighttime regimen that includes retinoids, like retinol or retinal helps with addressing facial dark spots. “Science shows the most attractive feature of a person is even, pore free, shiny skin. It’s a sign of health and youth,” Dr. Kathy Fields says. The good news is that the right skincare regimen and ingredients for dark spots can help you visibly achieve that even color and elusive glow that we begin to lose in our 20s.

How to Prevent Dark Spots

Taking the right action steps to prevent dark spots is key.  Unfortunately, it’s an ongoing battle as we age! Always use sunscreen. Don’t forget that every day is a “Sun Day”, as Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields say. You want to apply your sunscreen as the final step in your skincare regimen daily and in the morning year-round—not just when you plan on spending a lot of time outside. The sun can get to your skin even when you’re inside (like on an airplane, in a car, or sitting near a window).

Brighter days ahead!