Expert Advice on How to Fade Brown Spots

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Dr. Beer put his knowledge on this subject to good use by developing his own dark spot corrector: ScientificRx’s Brightening Serum ($98). It has potent botanical extracts—emblica, seaweed, white mulberry, saxifrage—plus three forms of vitamin C to brighten, and hyaluronic acid for moisture.

Clinique’s best-selling Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector ($50) has a laundry list of extracts—mulberry root, birch bark, rice bran, grapefruit peel, and many more—plus salicylic acid and a dose of squalene.

Murad’s Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum ($60) is a light, gel-like formula that soaks into skin immediately, delivering a dose of hydroquinone, glycolic acid, and hexapeptide-2, a lightening peptide.

Paula’s Choice Resist Triple-Action Dark Spot Eraser 2% BHA Gel ($25) has hydroquinone and glycolic acid for lightening results, plus a hefty amount of alpha hydroxy acids to exfoliate skin.

Skinceuticals’ Advanced Pigment Corrector ($90) has a unique blend of hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid and ellagic acid to block new spots from forming, plus salicylic acid to fade existing discoloration.

Think of Arcona’s Brightening Drops ($38) as a spot treatment for any discoloration you want to fade. It has arbutin, vitamin C, and a cocktail of acids: azelaic, kojic, lactic, and more.

Looking for an affordable option that still has potent ingredients? Try Equate’s Dark Spot Corrector Skin Lightener ($6), it has 2 percent hydroquinone (a hefty dose!), plus glycolic acid and antioxidants.

Is your skin sensitive to hydroquinone? Clarins’ Vital Light Serum ($86) has hexylresorcinol, a gentle alternative, plus potent plant extracts like spergularia, waltheria, and cochlearia.

Garnier Nutritioniste’s Skin Renew Clinical Dark Spot Corrector ($16) is full of brighteners like vitamin C and botanical extracts to brighten skin and help prevent brown spots from surfacing.

Dr. Dennis Gross’ two-step Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel ($82) is a celebrity favorite, and delivers a serious exfoliating treatment with retinol, ubiquinone, and resveratrol.

If you prefer a one-step treatment and moisturizer, try Ole Henriksen’s Sheer Transformation ($40). It’s packed with botanical fruit extracts, vitamin C, licorice extract, and more.

American Academy of Dermatology Association. How to fade dark spots in skin of color.

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