5 Products to Erase Dark Spots

Hydroquinone is often prescribed to help lighten dark spots, but it can be irritating, potentially worsening the pigmentation you are trying to lighten. Besides that, it can only be used for three to five months at most and the effects can plateau. These options offer an alternative if you want to get spot-free without prescription-strength products.


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Kojic Acid

What It Is: A mushroom-derived skin brightener that inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase. Kojic acid works best when it’s used in conjunction with glycolic acid. Some doctors suggest using kojic acid after hydroquinone for continued lightening.

Find It In: The oil-free Image Skincare Ageless Total Skin Lightening Serum addresses the needs of aging and pigmented skin by helping to lighten freckles, melasma and age spots. $31, imageskincare.com


Alphahydroxy Acids (AHAs)

What It Is: Exfoliating acids (glycolic, lactic and mandelic acids) that release the buildup of dead surface cells where pigment may be trapped.

Find It In: Packed with 5 percent glycolic acid plus hydroquinone and kojic acid, Glytone Fading Lotion exfoliates dead, discolored skin and limits the activity of tyrosinase to stop spots before they start. $46, glytone-usa.com



What It Is: A B vitamin that halts the transfer of pigment from the melanocytes to the skin cells.

Find It In: Niacin, a key ingredient in NIA 24 Rapid Depigmentation Serum, helps to slow and normalize the transfer of melanin throughout skin for a more even toned complexion. $75, nia24.com


Vitamin C

What It Is: An antioxidant that evens out discoloration and creates healthier, stronger skin.

Find It In: The moisturizing Epicuren CxC Vitamin C Complex formula relies on a high level of vitamin C to brighten and improve skin tone. $36, epicuren.com


Mandelic Acid

What It Is: An AHA that brightens sans irritation by gently exfoliating the outermost layer of skin. It also does not instigate melanin levels to increase in the skin.

Find It In: Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel combines the lightening power of mandelic acid along with glycolic and phytic acids in presaturated peels to reduce the look of dark spots and discoloration. $69, philosophy.com

  • Monica
    Posted on

    I've tried everything for my pigmentation/melisma/discoloration/whatever you want to call it. I've learned this - every person is different, what may work for one doesn't work on another. No matter how much money we spend products and procedures the problem always comes back. So, until that perfect product or procedure to clear up our skin and keep it that way is created all we can do is keep hoping & trying & spend money.

  • crf
    Posted on

    And the spots come right back. You have to stay away from the sun and use sunscreen. I gave up on this stuff. No use curbing my lifestyle in the outdoors.

  • Iva Taylor
    Posted on

    THE ONLY LINE WHAT WORKS ON MELASMA IS O B A G I I have tried everything. New line for dark spot Garnier for 3 months daily. Did not do anything. I had all of it, peel, masks, creams, all what they have for dark spots. ONLY one time in my life I had lightened the melasma from Obagi, unfortunatelly a bit pricy. But the best. Absolutely.

  • Posted on

    There's a wide range of products that target hyper pigmentation - Hydroquinone being the most well known, but there are many non-hydroquinone versions as well - The important question to ask yourself is how severe is the hyper pigmentation and quality of your skin - The more sun damaged the skin the more aggressive you will need to be with your treatments - I often like to combine retina-a usage with this - It helps to remove damaged skin therefore working beautifully as a pair. THE most important thing is that both of those treatments will cause sun sensitivity so SPF 35 is a must! As usual follow @SKINCAREXPERT for more beauty tips! Happy New Year! :-)