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10 Easy Ways To Get Rid Of Dark Spots & Hyperpigmentation

Beauty & Fashion

Of all the years that I have worked in the beauty industry alongside women of color, hyperpigmentation has hands down been one of the more prominent areas of concern. Hyperpigmentation is the overproduction of melanin in the skin that leads to unwanted dark spots and discoloration. For many women, including myself, it can be frustrating and make you feel very insecure about your skin. There's a ton of DIY methods and products that promise to correct hyperpigmentation but compared to other skin concerns, it's something that takes a lot of time and patience to really see results.

For many women, acne and breakouts are the leading cause of hyperpigmentation, so it makes sense that some ways to combat hyperpigmentation is rooted in taking care of the breakouts first. Whether you're the kitchen beautician that prefers using natural ingredients on your skin, or the girl that doesn't mind venturing out to your local department store, there any many ways to combat hyperpigmentation right at home. If getting your skin in check is at the top of your list of priorities, here are 10 ways you can correct your hyperpigmentation and live your best life.

How To Treat Hyperpigmentation

Check Your Diet

Whether you want to accept it or not, your skin a major reflection of everything you put into your body. At the end of the day, your skin is an organ and if you're not eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, etc. your skin will show it. Though a balance diet targets breakouts more so than hyperpigmentation itself, it's sensible to start there. If you get to the root of what is causing your dark spots (i.e. acne scarring), you can stop them from forming in the first place.

Wash Your Face For 60 Seconds

Increase your cleansing routine to 60 seconds

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This is another word of advice that pertains mainly to controlling breakouts, but for most women breakouts are the main culprit for hyperpigmentation. According to skin expert and licensed esthetician Nayamka Roberts-Smith of LABeautyologist, washing your skin 60 seconds at minimum is a non-negotiable if you're looking to achieve overall healthy skin--and yes, this includes hyperpigmentation. Taking the time to thoroughly clean you skin will ensure that you're ridding your skin of dirt, bacteria, and other culprits that are clogging your pores, contributing to breakouts and causing hyperpigmentation. 60 seconds may seem like it's such a short amount of time in most areas of your life but to your skin, it's a lifetime.

Exfoliation (Preferably Chemical)

We have heard the word be thrown around pretty often but now is the time to pay close attention. Exfoliation is important in any skincare regimen because it helps to breakdown layers of dead skin that we all have to reveal fresh "new" skin. Specifically when it comes to hyperpigmentation, exfoliating is important because it helps breakdown the excess melanin and speed up the process of the dark spot fading.

If you're suffering from hyperpigmentation as a result of breakouts, it's best to use chemical exfoliants vs. a physical one like a scrub. Chemical exfoliants are non-abrasive and and in some cases do a better job of breaking down hyperpigmentation than physical ones. Also, when you have active breakouts chemicals exfoliators won't irritate them more.

Layer On SPF

Is there anything better than being in the sun?

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We know. You've heard this time and time again but honestly wearing SPF is key if you're on a the road to correcting hyperpigmentation. The sun is one of the biggest if not the biggest skin aggressors. Not only does the sun age the skin prematurely, it can work against you when you're working to correct hyperpigmentation. Most skincare experts would recommend using a SPF on at least 30 anytime you're outdoors. If you're discouraged from wearing sunscreen because of the white ghostly cast it may display on the skin, check out these brands that are perfect for WOC. Also, there are natural products like shea butter that have very mild SPF (about 6-10) if you want to take baby steps into the world of sunscreen.

Correcting Serum

A serum is essentially a lightweight concentrated product that is typically applied directly to the skin (before most other products) to absorb through and really get to the root of your skin concerns. With hyperpigmentation specifically, most serums that are formulated to correct hyperpigmentation contain vitamin C. Though they are highly concentrated, you do have to stay consistent with them and your skincare regimen as a whole to see the desired results.

Probiotics

Probiotics have many powerful health benefits for your body and skin

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With products such as Kombucha being all the rage, probiotics has been something that more people have become obsessed with. Probiotics are best known for improving gut health but they also have a major effect on your skin and hyperpigmentation. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that in turn kill bad bacteria, including the ones causing breakouts that may be leading to your breakouts. You can incorporate them into your diet by taking probiotic supplements or by consuming food or beverages rich in them.

Aloe Vera

If you ever typed "how to get rid of dark spots" into your YouTube search bar, I'm sure a ton of videos about aloe vera have popped up. Aloe vera gel (specifically from fresh aloe leaves) is known to be a natural skin brightening agent and anti-inflammatory. Most people would recommend rubbing the gel of aloe vera on your skin and leaving it on overnight for five days straight to see an improvement in both hyperpigmentation and breakouts.

Microdermabrasion

If you have the extra cash to spare and really want to jumpstart your road to even skin tone, cosmetic procedures such as microdermabrasions are a great way to go. Microdermabrasion is like a sandblaster for the skin that gets rid of layers upon layers of dead skin to reveal brighter skin--including those areas of hyperpigmentation. I would recommend speaking to a dermatologist beforehand or getting a consultation at medical spa before booking an appointment.

Chemical Peel

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If you're really about that life, a chemical peel is a much more intensive facial treatment that literally uses chemicals to peel your skin. Unlike a microdermabrasion, a chemical peel does require some recover time, however many people swear by its skin renewing capabilities. This is also something you should speak to an expert about before pursuing.

As frustrating as dealing with hyperpigmentation may be, there are so many ways to combat it. There's no need to go out and try every solution on the list but by slowly implementing these tips into your lifestyle, you can and will see major improvements in your skin.

Look For Products With AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) And Enzymes

You might have seen AHAs and enzymes being the hot new "it" ingredient to hit all sorts of products in the beauty industry. AHAs and enzymes (such a pineapple, papaya, and pumpkin) essentially are exfoliating agents that can help to correct skin texture, tone, and overall health. Try slowly implementing a few products with these key ingredients into your skincare routine to boost the correction of your hyperpigmentation. These can be present in everything from toners to facial creams. My word of advice is to incorporate products containing these ingredients one at a time so you don't over-exfoliate and damage your skin in the long run.

Featured image by Getty Images

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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