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4 Reasons Why Your Hyperpigmentation Isn’t Fading

A model shielding her face from the sun

When we think of the top signs of aging, it’s often fine lines, wrinkles, and gray hair that come to mind. However, dark spots are another skin concern that can become more commonplace as we grow older and wiser–and they can affect everyone.

If you’ve been consistent with your dark spots routine, but you’re still feeling frustrated about the increase or darkening of existing hyperpigmentation, we’re here to help! Ahead, we’re discussing what causes hyperpigmentation and why your dark spots aren’t fading as quickly as you’d like. Plus, we’re sharing our tips on how to improve the look of dark spots.

What Is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation goes by many names–including dark spots, sun spots, liver spots, and age spots–and refers to the darkening of skin pigment. These flat areas of discoloration can range from freckle-sized dots to larger marks.

We know that age is a major factor in what causes hyperpigmentation, as dark spots are most prevalent among people over 50. However, these pesky spots can occur on anyone at any age, and people with lots of sun exposure are especially prone. On that note, dark spots on skin are most likely to make an unwelcome appearance in areas that are most exposed, including your face, backs of hands, shoulders, and even feet.

The good news is that a few tweaks to your daily habits and skincare routine could make a big difference in the look of dark spots.

Why Is My Hyperpigmentation Not Going Away?

That first time an unfamiliar dark spot decides to take up residence on your face can be a bit jarring. You may shrug it off and stay the course with your current regimen, only to wonder months later, “Why aren’t my dark spots fading even though I’m doing everything right?”

If the above sounds familiar (or you’re concerned your current routine isn’t right for dark spots), it’s officially time to fine-tune your skincare routine and figure out which habits and products may not work in your favor. Here are some of the most common reasons why your dark spots aren’t budging or are getting darker.

Reason #1: You’re Getting Too Much Sun

While you certainly don’t have to adopt a vampire’s suncare habits, that big ball of fire in the sky is one of the biggest culprits in terms of what causes dark spots on the face and on your body. That being said, it’s in your skin’s best interest to keep direct exposure minimal when possible and take protective measures when enjoying the sun.

“Hyperpigmentation can be incredibly frustrating and tough to treat. One of the easiest things you can do at home to help with hyperpigmentation is to be vigilant with sun protection,” says Dr. Camille Howard, a board-certified dermatologist and IT Cosmetics Advisory Board Member.

Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day, like Hello Sunshine Invisible Sunscreen For Face SPF 50, making sure to apply enough–about one ounce (or 2-3 tablespoons) for your entire body–and reapplying as needed. You’ll not only get the sun protection you need to keep dark spots on the face at bay, but also a hydrating serum and skin-perfecting makeup base all in one. Plus, you’ll be able to keep your skin protected, whether you’re wearing makeup or not with an invisible finish that shows up clear on all skin tones.

If you do choose to wear makeup on top of sunscreen, look for a foundation with SPF, like our best-selling range of CC creams. Bye Bye Dark Spots Concealer + Serum is the perfect spot concealer to pair with sunscreen makeup. With buildable medium coverage and 2% niacinamide, it’s clinically tested to visibly fade dark spots in 12 weeks. For extra protection, it’s also helpful to stay in the shade, avoid peak sun hours and wear protective clothing and hats.

Did You Know?: Sun exposure can cause dark spots on skin to appear darker, and it can even cause previously faded dark spots to reappear.

Reason #2: Antioxidants Are Missing from Your Routine

While sunscreen can protect your skin from the sun’s powerful UV rays, antioxidants can also help by neutralizing free radicals. In a nutshell, free radicals are unpredictable unpaired oxygen atoms that adhere to your skin’s surface and trigger a chain of damaging events.

If you want to help improve the look of dark spots on skin, you’ll definitely want an antioxidant-rich serum on your side. At night, apply a vitamin C serum like Confidence in Your Beauty Sleep Brightening Antioxidant Serum. In the morning, try a serum like Bye Bye Dark Spots Niacinamide Serum to double down on the dark spot battle. Formulated with 4% niacinamide and 1% ethyl vitamin C, it helps fade the appearance of dark spots and discoloration while helping to visibly improve your skin's clarity. Just remember, these solutions take time, and if you are exposed to the sun, dark spots can darken again, so you’ll want to be sure to apply your sunscreen as the last step in your morning skincare routine and before you apply any makeup.

Reason #3: You’re Holding out on Retinol

We argue that no grownup skincare routine is complete without retinol. Retinoids–the term for a class of compounds derived from vitamin A–are championed for their ability to expedite turnover of the skin's surface cells, which visibly improves skin tone and texture. As a bonus, retinoids can even reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Not ready for a prescription treatment? The Hello Results Wrinkle-Reducing Daily Retinol Serum-in-Cream formula, which features a blend of free and encapsulated retinol, visibly fades dark spots, helps improve skin's firmness and reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

Hello Results Wrinkle-Reducing Daily Retinol Serum-in-Cream

Hello Results Wrinkle-Reducing Daily Retinol Serum-in-Cream


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Reason #4: Patience Isn’t Your Strong Suit

Trust us when we say that we love seeing results just as quickly as you do! The thing is, it can take time for skincare products to take effect. In fact, The American Academy of Dermatologists says that most products take at least six weeks to work, and some can even take up to three months.1

Stay the course, follow the directions and take pictures along the way so you can see how far your skin has come.

Dealing with pimple-related hyperpigmentation? Check out our guide on post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), which covers causes, treatment options, and makeup tips. And don’t forget to check out Bye Bye Breakout Salicylic Acid Acne Serum while you’re at it.

Bye Bye Breakout Salicylic Acid Acne Serum

Bye Bye Breakout Salicylic Acid Acne Serum


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1. American Academy of Dermatologists. “How to Maximize Results from Anti-Aging Skin Care Products.”

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