(HealthDay News) — Unwanted pigmentation problems, such as dark spots, can occur in all skin types.

Dark spots are primarily caused by sun damage, the American Academy of Dermatology says, noting that the severity of dark spots varies with a person’s history of sun exposure.

The academy mentions these ways to treat pigmentation problems among lighter-skinned people:

  • Dark spots from early sun damage are often superficial, affecting only the top layer of skin. Dermatologists frequently recommend topical retinol, an over-the-counter form of vitamin A.
    But consult a dermatologist about any dark spots that appear suspicious.
  • When topical therapy fails, superficial chemical peels containing salicylic acid and glycolic acid may be used.
  • Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) devices and Q-switched lasers also may be used alone or in combination with topical therapies to selectively target dark spots. Lasers and IPL devices should only be used under the direct supervision of a physician.
  • Daily sun protection with a sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays and has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or greater is important in preventing additional sun damage.