Banish the Brown (spots, that is!)

Brown may be stunning in a sleek coat, trendy shoes, or a buttery leather handbag…but darkened brown spots on your face? Never! Those pesky blotches, often worsened by the summer sun, are anything but attractive. If your goal is to make those unsightly complexions spots vanish, read on.  

What we call ‘brown spots,’ are actually a skin condition known as hyperpigmentation. In many cases, they result from years of unprotected sun exposure. But age can also play a part, which is why the terms ‘age spots’ and ‘brown spots’ are often used interchangeably. And with good reason: In a recent study, when photos of subjects were altered to accentuate their uneven skin tone, these subjects were thought to be older and less attractive than those with many deep wrinkles. The conclusion? Brown spots can add years to your appearance.

So if you’re looking to banish those pesky spots–and improve your looks–here’s a smart two-step regimen:  

Step One: Get a lightening agent, and plan to apply it regularly as part of your skin routine. Many products contain a natural lightener called Kojic Acid. It’s a naturally-derived crystal that works to limit the production of melanin, the substance that gives skin its color. Products with Kojic Acid work to gently bleach the skin, causing brown spots to gradually lighten while evening out the skin tone.  

Step Two: A chemical peel will also help eliminate brown spots. Peels work by removing the uppermost layer of skin, which enables new, clearer skin to grow back in its place. There are several different kinds of peels, varying in strength by how deeply they penetrate the skin. If the goal is to rid your complexion of brown spots, my recommendation would be a Glycolic peel, which is in the mid-range.

The good news: Once those brown spots are gone, they won’t be back unless you go back into the sun unprotected. True, our English climate tends to be complexion friendly—which is one reason English women are known for lovely skin—but sunscreen is still a must anytime you expect to be outside catching sunny rays, or visiting a sunny climate. Even those with darker complexions need protection. The sun’s UV rays target skin’s upper layers, where freckles are; a broad-spectrum sunblock with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is your go-to product. Look for formulas that contain titanium and/or zinc, which deflect rays so they won’t damage your skin. With clearer skin, you can enjoy sporting brown in your wardrobe choice…not in unwanted blotches on your face!

Suzi Barnett