Best Cream: Cerave Ultra
What We Love: It’s very calming and it’s great for acne-prone or sensitive skin types.
What We Don’t Love: It is a bit light for a night cream.
When it comes to removing dark spots, you aren’t limited to just serums and treatments. A gentle, fragrance-free formula like CeraVe’s lightweight lotion can get the job done without irritating your skin. “This moisturizer is great because it has three types of ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid. All very good ingredients, which will help with not just dark spots but fine lines and wrinkles as well,” Dr. Jaliman says. These ingredients are also very nourishing and hydrating, so it’s a win-win for anyone with dry skin and discoloration. It is designed for nighttime use and it is non-comedogenic.
Size: 3 fl oz | Skin Type: Oily, combo, acne-prone, normal, dry | Cruelty-Free: No | Scented: No
Best With Niacinamide: First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Dark Spot Serum
What We Like: It improves skin elasticity and makes the skin noticeably more radiant.
What We Don’t Like: It’s very creamy and could absorb better.
First Aid Beauty’s Facial Radiance Dark Spot serum is another great option to even out your skin tone. It is clinically-proven to boost your complexion in just four weeks and it features niacinamide to gently even out skin texture, minimize pores, and add some bounce. The formula is also reinforced by licorice root and golden kiwifruit, which work together to soothe the skin and protect it from environmental stressors.
Size: 1 fl oz | Skin Type: Oily, combo, normal | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Scented: No
What Causes Dark Spots On Your Face And What Are The Different Types Of Dark Spots
Discoloration on the skin is caused by an over-production of melanin, or the natural pigmentation that gives skin its color, which can lead to visible dark spots on the skins surface, creating an uneven skin tone. Discoloration typically falls into one of three categories: dark spots, hyperpigmentation, or sun spots. Hyperpigmentation and dark spots can be brought on post-acne or due to inflammation in a concentrated area of the skin, age or something that triggers an excess of melanin production in a defined area. Sun spots are brought on by sun exposure, and all three types of discoloration can become visibly darker with continued unprotected sun exposure, which is why its important to incorporate an efficacious sunscreen into your daily routine!
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Best Spot Treatment: No7 Laboratories Dark Spot Correcting Booster Serum
What We Like: It’s very gentle and targets individual spots very well.
What We Don’t Like: It takes almost a month to see results.
This dark spot corrector from No7 is formulated with the brand’s special lightening complex that is clinically proven to improve the appearance of dark spots, age spots, and sun spots. And since it’s a spot treatment, you can specifically target areas with hyperpigmentation without having to apply it to your entire face. It’s a very thin, lightweight consistency that is suitable for all skin types, even those with sensitive skin.
Size: 6.5 fl oz | Skin Type: Oily, combo, normal, dry | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Scented: No
How To Use A Dark Spot Corrector
The exact method you should be using to apply your corrector depends on the type of product you buy. Some may recommend twice a day usage and some may need to be applied at a specific time of day. You can follow this general application guideline for applying dark spot corrector, but always be sure to check your products specific instructions first.
This application process can be followed anywhere you have a dark spot. Be sure to perform a patch test with a small amount of product before applying it onto your face or body.
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Best Patches: Peace Out Microneedling Dark Spot Brightening Dots
What We Like: They dramatically fade dark spots after just one use.
What We Don’t Like: They leave behind a residue that needs to be washed off.
The brand loved for its pimple patches and pore strips also makes these 1-step microneedling dots that are specially designed to fade dark spots. Each sticker contains niacinamide, tranexamic acid, and ferulic acid, ingredients that actually help reduce discoloration, as well as 430 self-dissolving, hyaluronate-infused microneedles. They provide all the radiance-boosting benefits of real microneedling with a much simpler process, just stick on a dot wherever you see a dark spot and leave it on overnight. They are also made with no parabens, sulfates, or harmful chemicals, so you can rest assured knowing they won’t dry out your skin.
Size: 12 dots | Skin Type: Oily, combo, normal, dry | Cruelty-Free: No | Scented: No
When To See A Doctor About Dark Spots
Dark spot development is very common, especially as we age, and is usually not a medical concern. However, there are certain types of melanomas and other medical conditions that can appear similar to the way a dark spot looks on the skin.
If your dark spot becomes itchy, tingles, bleeds, changes in color or size, or appears suddenly, make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist to rule out any potential medical issues.
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Best With Vitamin C: Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
What We Like: It’s packed with antioxidants and has powerful brightening abilities.
What We Don’t Like: It pills under moisturizer and makeup.
This editor- and expert-approved serum by Mad Hippie is another favorite of Dr. Jaliman’s and it features all-natural ingredients. It uses vitamins C and E to make dark spots appear less noticeable and doesn’t contain any fragrance or parabens. The antioxidant-rich formula is also packed with hyaluronic acid, konjac root powder, ferulic acid, and chamomile extract to improve your skin’s overall complexion and grapefruit to naturally exfoliate dead skin cells.
Size: 1 fl oz | Skin Type: Oily, combo, normal | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Scented: Yes
Home Remedies For Dark Spots
Before investing in a dark spot corrector, you can try out these ingredients from around the house to help even out your skin tone.
One of the most popular home remedies, you can apply buttermilk to your dark spots and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing off. Do this every day, at least once a day, and you should start to see lighter skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar
For this method, combine equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in a bowl, and then apply it to the skin for 20 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water and follow up with a moisturizer.
Apply a slice of lemon on your dark spots for 10 minutes, morning and evening. If you have sensitive or dry skin, you can combine the juice of a lemon slice with a tablespoon of water and apply that to your skin via a cotton pad.
You can use either aloe vera juice or aloe vera gel straight from the plant for this remedy. Apply your aloe to dark spots daily for at least 30 minutes in both the morning and the evening before rinsing off and using a moisturizer.
Castor oil consists of Omega-3 fatty acids that can help repair skin discoloration. Apply it directly to dark spots with a cotton pad or swab once in the morning and once at night. No rinsing is necessary.
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Azelaic Acid To The Rescue
Key ingredients: Azelaic acid, salicylic acid, licorice root | Skin type: All, acne-prone | Benefits: Prevents breakouts, calms redness and irritation, promotes cellular turnover, fades post-breakout marks| Cruelty-free: Yes
Azelaic acid is the gold standard when it comes to fighting acne. Its antibacterial to subside current breakouts and has anti-inflammatory properties to calm inflammation, redness and rosacea. Its also a proven skin brightener that fades hyperpigmentationperfect for post-acne dark spots. In addition to a potent dose of azelaic acid, Pauls Choice Booster also contains salicylic acid to exfoliate and unclog pores, and licorice root to brighten and soothe angry skin.
Vitamin C Suspension 23% + Ha Spheres 2%
The Ordinary Vitamin C Serum for Evening Skin Tone and Fighting the Signs of Aging
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
This is one of the best The Ordinary products to add to your skincare routine, because it contains a potent concentration of vitamin C , which brightens and evens out overall skin tone while fighting the signs of aging.
Those looking to brighten their skin tone while also fighting against the signs of aging should turn to this product, which has the highest concentration of antioxidant-rich vitamin C of any of the products the brand offers. Since vitamin C has been shown to help with hyperpigmentation, this option is also great for those looking to even out dark spots. In addition to vitamin C, this product contains sodium hyaluronate , which increases moisture in the skin.
- May irritate sensitive skin
Since this product contains such a high percentage of vitamin C, some users may experience tingling as their skin adjusts, particularly if theyre newer to topical vitamin C.
Ascorbic Acid, Squalane, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Coconut Alkanes, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glucomannan, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Acrylates/Ethylhexyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Trihydroxystearin, BHT.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. “Vitamin C in dermatology”
Accessed Aug. 11, 2021.
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Vitamin C Serum With Ferulic Acid Vitamin E And
Dr. Brenner Vitamin C Serum for Brightening and Anti-Aging
Dr. Brenner Vitamin C Serum with Ferulic Acid, Vitamin E, and Hyaluronic Acid
This affordable vitamin C serum combines l-ascorbic acid with other potent ingredients to brighten, even skin tone, increase firmness, and fight against signs of aging.
This is an excellent product for those looking for a budget-friendly, fragrance-free vitamin C serum. It contains a 20% concentration of vitamin C, which works to fight signs of aging and even skin tone while defending against damaging oxidative stress. The formula also contains antioxidant-rich vitamin E and ferulic acid, which have been proven to increase the efficacy of vitamin C.
- Some reviewers complain that it feels sticky on the skin
In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this vegan and cruelty-free vitamin C serum contains hyaluronic acid, which helps attract moisture to the skin and lock it in for a plump and hydrated complexion.
Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid 20%, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Tocopherol 1%, Sodium Hyaluronate 1%, Ferulic Acid .5%, Panthenol, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol
National Center for Biotechnology. “Vitamin C in dermatology”
Accessed Jan. 27, 2022.
Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum for Anti-aging and brightening
Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
- Some reviewers noted it felt sticky on the skin
% Pure Vitamin C Serum
La Roche-Posay Vitamin C Serum for Hyperpigmentation and Wrinkles
La Roche-Posay 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum
This serum contains a potent concentration of vitamin C, which is known for its ability to brighten, diminish post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and even skin tone.
Vitamin C is an incredibly effective skincare ingredient that is known to boost collagen production, which in turn brightens, fades hyperpigmentation, and diminishes fine lines and wrinkles. This serum contains a potent 10% concentration of vitamin C , which will help even overall skin tone and texture.
- Contains fragrance
In addition to ascorbic acid, this serum contains salicylic acid, which gently exfoliates, and hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate, which draw moisture to the skin.
Aqua/Water/Eau, Ascorbic Acid, Cyclohexasiloxane, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Potassium Hydroxide, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Polysilicone-11, Dimethicone, Propylene Glycol, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Tocopherol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Adenosine, Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester, Peg-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Poloxamer 338, Salicylic Acid, Polyacrylamide, Toluene Sulfonic Acid, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium Edta, Bht, Laureth-7, Parfum/Fragrance.
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Best For Sensitive Skin: Eau Thermale Avne Retrinal 01 Intensive Cream
What We Like: It features nourishing and soothing ingredients.
What We Don’t Like: It’s very thick.
This velvety cream will hydrate your skin, get rid of dark spots, and combat signs of aging all at the same time. It’s ideal for sensitive skin as it is formulated with retinaldehyde, a form of retinol that’s often gentler and more effective, along with the brand’s signature thermal spring water, which soothes the skin. The formula is also packed with peptides to nourish and firm the skin. It is free of fragrance, parabens, and silicones, making it even more gentle for anyone with skin that irritates easily.
Size: 1.01 fl oz | Skin Type: Oily, combo, normal | Cruelty-Free: No | Scented: No
Learn More About The Banish Serum
L-Ascorbic Acid : The star ingredient that helps increase collagen in skin. Collagen is needed to keep skin firm, and smooth. Vitamin C prevents and fades dark spots.
Aloe Leaf Juice: Compounds found in aloe can help reduce and prevent hyperpigmentation
Glycerin: Acts as humectant to moisturize skin and protect the skin moisture barrier.
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Foods That Help Reduce Dark Spots
One of the best ways to improve your skin condition is to add foods into your diet that help boost skin brightness and overall skin health from the inside out. These foods may take longer to act, but over time they will leave you looking and feeling your best.
Tomatoes contain high levels of vitamin C and free-radical fighting properties. These properties allow them to boost collagen levels and combat the dark spot damage caused by sun exposure.
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, potassium, and selenium, salmon is a powerhouse ingredient for increasing circulation and controlling inflammation that can lead to the development of dark spots.
Full of essential vitamins such as A, B, C, and K, papayas also have high levels of magnesium, potassium, and calcium. This makes them a great food for boosting skin brightness and overall health.
Sweet potatoes possess both beta-carotene and retinol which work together to improve skins appearance and prevent discolorations from forming.
C E Ferulic With 15% L
SkinCeuticals Vitamin C Serum for Anti-aging and brightening
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid
This brightening and anti-aging vitamin C serum is often considered one of the best of the best. It helps improve signs of aging while fighting environmental aggressors.
This fragrance-free vitamin C serum contains a potent 15% concentration of l-ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C that helps neutralize free radicals, defend against oxidative stress, and brighten and fight signs of aging. It is formulated with antioxidant-rich vitamin E and ferulic acid, which both further protect against environmental stressors. These ingredients have also been shown to increase the efficacy of vitamin C.
- Some reviewers complain about the smell
This anti-aging serum remains effective for at least 72 hours after being absorbed into the skin. It also contains additional ingredients that help hydrate the skin, including glycerin and sodium hyaluronate.
Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Alpha Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Ferulic Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate
National Center for Biotechnology. “Vitamin C in dermatology”
Accessed Nov. 9, 2021.
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What Does Vitamin C Serum Do For The Skin
Vitamin C is helpful for those with mature skin or looking to reduce signs of aging. It is an excellent antioxidant because it protects against free radical damage and oxidative stress, Campbell noted.
Think of sun and pollution creating reactive oxygen species in the skin that are breaking up collagen and elastin, causing premature aging, sun damage and wrinkles, she explained. Antioxidants like vitamin C chew up these free radicals, which helps protect your skin from damage and makes your sunscreen work better.
Vitamin C is also a great ingredient for anyone with acne-prone skin for several reasons, according to Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist: It can help neutralize inflation and prevent breakouts, brighten dark spots left behind when pimples heal it can also treat melasma and can calm rosacea, Campbell added. However, Zeichner advised those with acne-prone skin avoid vitamin C serums paired with vitamin E, a moisturizing ingredient that can cause breakouts. If you have dry or mature skin, vitamin E is a great ingredient to look out for in your vitamin C serum.
Multiple Actives An Affordable Price And Eco
Key ingredients: Tranexamic acid, kojic acid, niacinamide, licorice root extract | Skin type: All | Benefits: Fades dark spots, strengthens skins barrier | Cruelty-free: Yes
Our best overall pick really checks all the boxes. Its made with multiple dark spot fading actives: tranexamic acid , kojic acid , licorice root , and niacinamide . Plus, it features a smart design: The pointed applicator lets you target even the tiniest spots. It also has proven resultsafter an 8-week trial, 85% of users aged 18-70 said the product minimized their dark spots. And its better for the environment, since the packaging is made with 51% post consumer recycled plastic. If all of that isnt enough to make you a believer, theres the under-$20 price.
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