Getting Rid Of Facial Dark Spots

December 16, 2011 · 30 comments

Not gonna lie, I’m pretty shocked that only 13 people have entered to win the free TIU membership. When I announced I’d be giving one away, I received like 500 comments! Is liking a persons fan page and leaving a comment on its wall really that bad? This isn’t a rhetorical question, I’m curious. Read the rules on how to enter on yesterday’s post.

Anyway, today I want to talk about something that has become a frustrating issue for me over the last 2 years. Sorry men, you won’t appreciate this post. So I noticed that I was getting some funky freckles in the summer a couple of years ago. It looked like I had a freckle mustache and too much bronzer on the right cheek! I asked my doctor what it was and she informed me that the brown spots aka skin discoloration were called melasma. It’s something that women on birth control get when they go into the sun and are not wearing enough sunscreen. The only way to get rid of them would be to either go off the pill or stay completely out of the sun. Frustrating! I began wearing 30+ SPF sunscreen daily and wearing a hat to the beach which stopped them from getting more noticeable but it didn’t help them go away.

Each fall, they start to fade away. I read up on skin lightening creams that they sell in Sephora but all the reviews were mixed. Was it really worth $80 to most likely be disappointment? No. I did buy one cream from Philosophy (who also makes my favorite cleanser, Purity) called Miracle Worker. It has worked relatively well, on one side at least. I can’t tell if it’s just my tan fading or the cream working. Not sure if I will pay another $62 for it again.

I feel like the number of dark spot treatments has dramatically increased recently. It makes me feel like more people are getting it these days. I guess now is the time though to invest in my skin. I have only had two facials in my life but when The Sports Club/LA in Boston asked me if I wanted to have one, I jumped at the opportunity. I was supposed to have a Holiday Facial but long story short I ended up having a 20 minute treatment called the “Hydrafacial” which was developed by engineers, not¬†esthetician. This kinda worked out to my benefit since it was more focused on hyperpigmentation.¬† Instead of hands massaging and extracting, this vortex like tool was used to exfoliate, suck out impurities, and hydrate my skin. It felt refreshing and my skin felt firmer immediately afterwards. I’m not facial expert, but I feel like it would be more valuable to spend my money on facials than creams.

It felt like I had a mini vacuum the size of a dentist tooth-brush scrubbing my face. It did not hurt at all. After a couple of the steps, a glycolic acid peel was applied which tingled my skin slightly. The Hydrafacial is recommended for individuals who want to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and oily/acne prone skin.

After the facial, I took Aspen Ascent a ski conditioning class that was no joke. It was super challenging and full of plyometric movements. If you belong to the Sports Club/LA in Boston and love to push your limits, try this class!

Questions of the day:

  • Do you have dark spots from any medication you might be taking?
  • Do you notice a difference from facials?

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stella Rose December 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Loved this post! I have been contemplating trying the philosophy dark spot corrector, I might try a sample since it seems so pricey. Also I am already a TIU member (ever since your college plan video!) but I think it is an AMAZING plan. I have lost almost 15lbs (around 13ish) since I started, but I don’t want to lost anymore so I can keep my BMI in the healthy range. But I LOOK so much better since I started working out. I have been watching your videos for a really long time, since even before you were a trainer. I would love to see more cooking video, those are my favorite! :) Could you do a how to cook chicken breast a few different ways video?

Thanks so much for all of your hard work on the videos and blog :)

Stella Rose


2 Sarah December 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I should have known! I’m so happy to hear that you love the plan. I do too, which is why I’m a part of it and try to spread the word! :)


3 Jillian D. December 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I didn’t enter the Tone It Up giveaway because I’m already a lifetime member – maybe that’s why some aren’t entering?

I have melasma too and I saw a dermatologist about it when it started getting really bad. He prescribed me a prescription cream that worked SO well and really quickly. I still get the dark spots the following summer when I go out in the sun but this at least helps take it away. It’s called Tri-Luma and worked so well for me. Hope this helps!


4 Sarah December 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Thank you Jillian for your comment. I will ask my doctor about Tri-luma – mine said there were no creams and my mothers was like “Yeah, that’s not true.” Frustrating. I do feel bad for doctors bc there are so many new products and companies pushing them to sell but it stinks when there are creams that exist and I pay $65 for one that doesn’t really… hmph.


5 sherri December 31, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Not sure if you’ve looked into Tri-Luma yet but just an fyi….it’s $200 a tube and not covered by most insurance. I’ve used it and while it did help to fade the spots, they didn’t go away completely and came back as soon as summer hit and the sun was out more. I use a moisturizer with 15spf daily but it still continue to get more spots. I’m looking into dermabrasion or lasers to help them go away….but agreed, very frustrating!


6 MsBridget December 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm

I use a glycolic acid cleanser, toner, and night.cream I got from The Vitamin Shoppe as well as Jojoba oil which seems to be working very well. They’re not very expensive and well worth the investment.


7 Kindal December 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I get them terribly, even now. I am super sensitive to birth control and am on the lowest dose estrogen possible. My doctor told me to suck it up and deal with the spots (wear spf of course) or get off the pill which is not an option right now. It sucks majorly!


8 Nicole December 16, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I also developed melasma two summers ago. I tried using more make up, skin lighting creams, even stopped taking the pill. Nothing worked. I saw a dermatologist, but their advice was to stay out of the sun-not going to happen. I either need the cream Jillian’s dr. prescribed or find out where in CO I can get a Hydrafacial. Did your spots go away after?


9 Sarah December 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm

that was when mine started! they didn’t go away after one of the facials but i feel like if I keep going back they will eventually. I think I’m going to try one of the prescription strength creams but I agree. The doctors telling me not to go out in the sun is impossible, not just the beach, but like, how do I run outside with going in the sun?! If running was dangerous I would stop, but I think I’ll risk my chances with SPF. :/ annoying.


10 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers December 16, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I’m fighting some dark spots now. I’ve been trying and Aveda brightening serum, but so far, not so good. Maybe I need a peel.


11 alicia December 17, 2011 at 1:03 am

Hi Sarah,

I love your posts. I never miss a one. The reason I have not entered to win the TIU membership, which I would love to have, is because I do not have a facebook account. Don’t laugh!


12 Rebekah December 17, 2011 at 4:24 am

I didn’t enter because I already have a TIU membership! Maybe most of your readers already are too?


13 Vicky December 17, 2011 at 11:30 am

I’m already a TIU life-time member, but generally I don’t enter competitions that involve @ someone on facebook (including TIU competitions). I don’t really know why, I guess I’m just more comfortable with doing that on twitter than I am on facebook. Maybe because on twitter I tend to follow/ or be followed by people who have the same fitness interests as me, but on facebook a lot of people don’t and that makes me self-conscious. I know that’s quite a weak excuse or I should be proud to want to be healthy, but it’s just something I’m aware of. Sorry!


14 Kendra December 17, 2011 at 3:11 pm

First of all , Purity is the best face wash ever *fist bump* I have a huge sun spot from a bad burn on my forehead and tops of my cheeks!! I haven’t tried the Miracle Worker yet, mostly due to cost, but I did purchase the Olay Definity Restorative Sleep Cream, and I do think I am seeing a lightening of my spots!


15 Kristen December 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Hi Sarah! I think I entered the give away…but I just want to clarify something. This may just be a silly question, but I want to make sure I’m entered! :) In your instructions on how to enter you said to leave a comment on your wall. But then further down in the instructions you say to write a status update. Which is it? Or does it not matter?

Thanks so much for doing this give away! I would LOVE to win this…I NEED TIU in my life!


16 Nicole December 18, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Sarah, this completely off topic, but I wanted to ask you a question and wasn’t sure where to go regarding that! I was wondering if you’ve looked into or heard anything about Kimberly Snyder’s book “The Beauty Detox Solution.” I was just really curious to hear your outlook on a mostly raw based diet vs eating 5-6 clean meals per day, because I am personally a little torn on what to believe! I’ve also always been athletic and like staying active, so I really love the concept of eating clean meals. However reading this made me question which is “better.” so any feedback would be greatly appreciated!!


17 Marla-Deen December 18, 2011 at 10:55 pm

I have had the same problem! Mine is more due to sun and AGE, though. Yuck! I began the Reverse Regimen from Rodan and Fields. It really works on facial and chest spots. I liked it so much I have begun working as a consultant! This program is from the doctors who began ProActiv – they know their stuff. You might want to try it when you complete what you are doing now. The price point is a little better than Miracle Worker, but more than drugstore products. Check out the link on my website!


18 Angelica December 19, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I have been on the pill for almost 15 years now. Initially it helped clear up my acne from college but I had to find something else to fade acne marks and through time something to fade age spots. I discovered a cosmetic industry expert, Paula Begoun, who wrote the best selling books “Don’t go the Cosmetics Counter without me.” She eventually created her own skincare line which is AMAZING and AFFORDABLE. I been devoted to her skin lightening product called RESIST Clearly Remarkable Skin Lightening Gel with 2% BHA. It’s under $20 and works well. (It’s even on sale now.) Her products are formulated with high quality ingredients in great packing to protect the product’s integrity. My friends always ask me (at 35 years old) what’s my secret to my clear smooth skin. I always say educating myself on good skincare, the pill and her products esp this lightener. And yes you don’t have to spend a lot of money on good skincare.


19 Courtney December 28, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I dont have dark spots from any medications but I do have acne scars and my dermatologist prescribed me retin-a, which is basically just a high concentration of vitamin a that makes your skin create new cells a lot faster than it normally would. I’m not sure if it would help you but it might be worth it to try the clinique even better dark spot correcter because it’s essentially the same thing just cheaper :)


20 MC December 29, 2011 at 2:50 am

I had a few sunspots and areas of darkness from sun damage. An IPL photofacial gets rid of the problem in 20-30 minutes. They cost roughly $200, take are of the problem immediately and are practically pain free. If you use your sunblock religiously the spots don’t come back. Instead of buying multiple products that may or may not work, this was the most cost effective and efficient for me. A no-brainer!


21 Sarah December 29, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Thanks for the tip! I will keep my eyes out for a groupon :) haha. But I agree the price tag is worth it rather than experimenting with different creams which never seem to work. Thanks again for sharing.


22 Vicki July 7, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I started getting dark spots on my face, especially on my upper lip area (looks like a mustache, not cool at all) and i have had 2 facials a year since they started (about 3 years ago) Recently I have been exfoliating my face 2x a day with Proactiv (i used to just rub on and wash off, now i spend time rubbing it into my face) and using Clinique Clinical Dark Spot Corrector (about $54 for the large bottle) 2x a day. I use SPF 15 in my tinted moisturizer every day and really am not spending more than an hour in the sun, if that…I prefer to workout in the gym. But use SPF 30 when I do walk/hike outside. I am going to the dermatologist next week and will ask about other treatments, but I cannot go off birth control at the moment and since my sun exposure is low, I really want these suckers gone… I am sick of feeling self-conscious about having a “mustache”… thanks for all the product reviews! Great to know before you go spend the $$. And also good to know I am not the only one with this issue. Thanks all!


23 Tracy July 26, 2012 at 9:14 pm

The best thing for lightening dark spots is to use a physical sunscreen. Eco Logical makes a great facial sunscreen that I use every day. Mychelle also makes a good one but sometimes it clogs my pores if I don’t wash it off right when I get home from work. Use physical sunblock with high zinc oxide and your dark spots will definitely fade even without using any lightening agents but even more if you do.


24 RiriSunshine July 14, 2013 at 5:46 pm

I have combo-oily/dry, acne prone skin and I started to get these brown/dark spots on my face. I used the Made from Earth Aloe Vera Lotion and it helped fade the brown/black marks. I applied it every evening at night after cleansing.


25 christa fl August 14, 2014 at 11:51 am

I have a very sensitive skin & pro breakout & have a lot of dark spots due to acne scars. One of my concerns, aging skin around my eyes. after 2-3 days of using the Somaluxe Moisturizer – the results are unbelievable! around my eyes, the line that’s been bothering me for quite a while is lessening & the dark spots on my cheeks wow! start to lighten!


26 ema August 14, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Being someone who has been to the dermatologist to battle my melasma and dark spots, I have to recommend to you the Lady Soma Renewal Serum (w/ hyaluronic acid). Its the only over the counter product that has actually worked! The spots are not gone but significantly faded to where you do not notice them after putting on my makeup. I tried Nerium for a month and it did nothing!! Nothing completely disappears without major dermatological help but the Lady Soma Serum has done exactly what I wanted it to do.

It took about 3 weeks to see results so hang in there and stay out of the sun.


27 belen September 18, 2014 at 5:55 pm

hello Sarah,im masked myself with melasma .I tried everything whitening liquid out there in the market and has no improvement @ all and its rather depressing in this point.I have talked to my Dermatologist and she said i have to just continue using sun block.She can’t do any machine anything of that on my face because i have dark skin and shes afraid of scarring around my face…. I spent so much and wasted money all the rubbish liquids or foam none sense in the market has not work @ all.I tried natural lemon etc.not working..Oh well cie la vie.If anyone of you finding any thing for Melasma cure let me know pls,pls..I thank you all..Good luck


28 militarygal November 17, 2014 at 10:18 pm

I had a patch of melasma below my eye a year ago: I had no idea what it was, but after going out in the sun, it started to spread to my other eye and my cheeks. I did some research into natural alternatives and my melasma has faded to almost nothing. Here is what I have done:

-4 tbs of strong apple cider vinegar (apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’ ) daily, in a glass of water
-Daily use of the Lady Soma Renewal Serum (in the areas of discoloration)

You have to be patient, as I am only seeing results after 3 weeks but this has really worked for me.


29 Gillian Pietersen December 21, 2014 at 11:18 pm

I feel stressed out…im using cell tone now,and waiting for results…i gave out a lot of cash already,nothing help…YOH i feel like someone that did not wash my face with these dark spots on my face…


30 Sheena February 1, 2015 at 5:11 pm

I have a dark spot on my upper lip from the sun. Dermatologist gave me a skin lightening cream. It works but as soon as I go outside ion a sunny day it is back. I wear sunscreen everyday. Any suggestions on a better sunscreen to use??? Also is there a way to cure the skin so I do not have to worry about walking through the park and having the dark spot come back?


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