Skip to Content

Why Is My Skin Getting Darker Without Sun?

If you’re trying to slip into your autumn and winter skin after a summer of tanning, you might be asking yourself, “why is my skin getting darker without sun??” Sun damage has lasting impacts to your skin, and those side effects don’t always show up instantaneously. 

But if it’s not sun damage that’s leading to darkening, you might need to see a dermatologist to pinpoint the exact cause.

Table of Contents

Why Is My Skin Getting Darker Without Sun?

You might not be standing outside right at this very moment, but any sun damage that your skin has gone through in the past could be darkening it as we speak.

Hyperpigmentation (those dark freckles on your skin, a.k.a. “aging spots” a.k.a. “sun spots”) is most often linked to skin damage from too much sun exposure. It doesn’t always kick in immediately, and it can come and go throughout your lifetime.

Besides sun exposure, hyperpigmentation can also be linked to:

• Acne scars

• Hormone imbalances

• Vitamin deficiencies

• The aging process

• Prescribed medications like birth control

• Pregnancy

• Chemotherapy drugs

• Addison’s disease

• Skin inflammation

Really, anything that might cause your body to produce extra melanin can be the cause of hyperpigmentation. Melanin gives your skin its color.

How Can I Stop My Skin From Darkening?

The best thing you can do to prevent skin darkening is to wear sunscreen. But if it’s not the sun that’s causing your hyperpigmentation, you might need to take a look at your medicine cabinet and skincare routine.

Any products or habits that tend to cause skin inflammation can lead to darkening. So first try to identify sources of inflammation.

If you have the flexibility to swap out any of your hygiene items for something more moisturizing, try that too. Darkened skin tends to be more sensitive, so soaps with shea butter and creamier nice-smelling body lotions can soothe that inflammation. Plus, using a moisturizer encourages skin cell turnover, which in turn can fade some dark spots.

If skin darkening, or even irritation, are frequent symptoms for you, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment with your dermatologist. They know your skin best, and they can prescribe specific treatment to restore skin after damage.

What Deficiency Makes Your Skin Darker?

Have you been taking your daily gummy vitamin? Darker skin is occasionally linked to vitamin B12 deficiencies.

But it’s an easy fix. Animals and animal products in our diets make up our largest sources of B12. If you follow a vegan diet, you can find fortified cereals and some yeasts that will make for an okay substitute.

While you’re at it, make sure that you’re also getting enough Vitamin C (it helps produce your collagen, keeping your skin taut). And Vitamin E – it helps repair skin damage. You can even apply it topically.

As for vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, it’s essential for healthy skin that can replenish itself. So your skin does need some sun, but you need to protect yourself with sunscreen. Sun damage is still a leading skin darkener in the short and long run.

Why Is My Face Getting Darker Than My Body?

Scars from pimple popping, past sun exposure, and irritating cosmetic products are some of the likely suspects causing your face to darken faster than the rest of your body.

Plus, our faces are just really good at producing melanin. They have to be – we put them through a lot on a daily basis. Even if you’ve “been good” this week, wearing sunscreen even indoors, doing your facial routine, the skin on your face can be finicky. Scarrage and past skin damage can rear its head unexpectedly.

Most treatments for a hyperpigmented face involve seeking your dermatologist’s help. They may prescribe microdermabrasion, a chemical peel, or a similar exfoliating treatment.

At home, it’s a good idea to reassess whether you’re hitting all your basic skin care needs: cleanse your face every day, exfoliate 2-3 times per week, and moisturize with a lotion or oil afterwards. It’s easier to be consistent with a good routine, rather than waiting to see a doctor oncel your skin gets bad.

Why Is My Skin Getting Darker With Age?

As you get older, your body is more prone to picking up pigmentation disorders. Your melanin tends to ramp up production.

Those “age spots” form when your body can’t quite distribute that melanin evenly, so it puts it wherever it fits. It’s partially just a symptom of getting older, and partially a symptom of the skin care choices you made when you were younger. Lots of sun exposure and tanning in your 20s? That’s going to catch up to you throughout your life.

Keep in mind, hyperpigmentation and age spots are rarely signs of health issues. Really, they’re signs that you’ve embraced life, and your skin has picked up memories for you along the way. If the aesthetics bother you, bring sunscreen with you on your next adventure to prevent future darkening.

To lighten the spots you already have, try to use moisturizing products. Bar soaps that are made for sensitive skin, body lotions, and other heavy moisturizers boost cell turnover, which can fade spots faster.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.