I give my skin credit for treating me nicely most of the time, but if there's one thing I'd complain about, it'd be dark spots. (opens in new tab) Small dots of hyperpigmentation are the bane of my existence, and finding a dark spot treatment that works has proven...difficult, to say the least. In my case, these spots are the aftermath of the occasional pimple that I mutilate, which has its revenge by scarring, darkening, and never truly going away.
What causes dark spots?
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There are a number of other reasons you might have dark spots. Perhaps the most common is sun damage, which, after a prolonged period, can cause hyperpigmentation as a guilty reminder of that time (or times) you didn't wear SPF (opens in new tab). Hormonal changes, irritation, and certain diseases can also churn out these marks.
Can I get rid of dark spots?
Dark marks can be tough to prevent and even tougher to lift. While expensive dermatologist-conducted treatments can yield good results, there are also effective at-home products you can use to minimize and reduce the appearance dark spots. Enter: dark spot correctors. They contain highly concentrated ingredients that are designed to target and lift unwanted pigment with precision, and some have other complexion-boosting benefits. Here, we've compiled a master list of dark spot correctors with options for all skin types, tones, and occasions.
The Corrective Serum
This cult-favorite serum can be used on both the face and neck to treat dark spots. Packed with kojic acid and vitamin B3, it's gentle enough for daily use, even if you have sensitive skin.
The Vitamin C Spot Corrector
With a high concentration of vitamin C—an ingredient praised for its ability to brighten and repair discoloration—this spot corrector works hard to eliminate dark spots. This product works fast, so you can see clear, even skin ASAP.
The Brightening Serum
With vitamin C, birch and peony extract, this treatment will help brighten uneven skin tones over time. It can be applied on the entire face as an all-over brightening serum, or in specific areas as a spot treatment.
The Dark Spot Interrupter
This "interrupter" works in two ways: First, it works hard to heal dark spots with brightening ingredients. Secondly, it shields the skin from future marks from appearing. Be sure to wear SPF while donning this product, which you should be doing anyway.
If you can snag a bottle of this serum before it sells out (again), don’t hesitate: The milky formula—which has brightening ingredients like encapsulated vitamin C, niacinamide, and amber algae—fades spots in a flash, and is made specifically for darker skin tones.
A blend of potent vitamin C, exfoliating salicylic acid, and nourishing ingredients (to prevent irritation) make this luxe treatment worth the price. Plus, the ingenious roll-on applicator makes it super-easy to target dark spots.
This affordable treatment features three of the biggies—niacinamide, tranexamic acid, and kojic acid—to brighten up spots quickly and gently. Even better, it’s also got antioxidants to protect skin from future photodamage.
The Age-Spot Serum
This powerful serum minimizes signs of age spots and hyperpigmentation. Its ingredients not only even out skin tone overall, but also lighten areas that have been heavily affected by dark spots.
The Hyperpigmentation Reducer
Alpha arbutin and hyaluronic acid work together in this concentrated serum to reduce hyperpigmentation. For those with dry skin, hyaluronic acid also helps retain moisture for a brightened, hydrated appearance and feel.
For All-Over Dullness
Antioxidants are key for a clear complexion, and this 20% vitamin C offering from Wander Beauty is full of 'em. A pea sized amount will help lift discoloration and uneven tone, while plant-derived squalane, niacinamides, and seven different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid add much needed bounce back to dull, sleepy-looking skin.
For Specific Spots
Who knew the secret to brighter skin can be found in the Finnish forest? Ok, we did, but now you do too. This targeted formula contains antioxidant-rich wild lingonberry that'll help clear an uneven skin tone.
For Beauty Sleep
You know how microneedling and dermarolling can help skin heal itself and products to absorb better? Same idea here with these cute patches, which boast 176 microdarts each to help its vitamin C, licorice, and cica-infused serum treat skin fast. Best of all, you can wear them while you hit the sheets or under makeup.
For Stubborn Marks
Just because those spots have been there for a long time doesn't mean they're permanent. Just mix one or two drops of this highly concentrated formula into your favorite moisturizer and watch those age spots fade.
For a Budget
Bakuchiol is a plant-based, powerful substitute for retinol, and it can help even out skin tone on even the most sensitive complexions. Even better, the formula is 98.6% natural if you like to keep your routine as green as possible.
The Defensive SPF
This SPF-filled product not only protects your skin from fun, which can worsen dark spots, but also contains key ingredients that will heal the marks already occupying your face. With vitamin C, glycolic acid and healing peptides, you can enjoy the sun without worrying about impending dark spots.
The Acne-Scar Saver
For acne-sufferers who tend to see the lingering ghosts of a pimple on their faces, this product works in two stages. Not only does it help fade dark marks leftover from a breakout, but it also helps treat acne as it's occurring.
The Spot Treatment Cream
This product should be used as a spot treatment on dark marks caused by aging and sun damage. It can be used twice a day with sunscreen to heal existing spots and prevent the worsening of developing marks.
The Lifting Treatment
This SPF-infused moisturizer has anti-aging properties that also corrects dark spots. For women who are concerned about fine lines, loss of firmness, and aging spots, this is the cream for you.
The Algae Gel Peel
This gel peel smooths uneven textures while the vitamin C treats dark spots. This algae-infused product is also vegan and works hard to combat signs of aging and dark spots.
The All-Over Solution
For people who develop dark spots on the face, body and hands, this all-over product has a powerful dose of retinol 8 to treat these marks from head to toe.
The Overnight Worker
This night cream uses the natural powers of algae to lighten dark spots. It's incredibly hydrating, which helps smooth rough skin patches and provide an ultra glowy morning dew look.
The Effective Toner
Glycolic acid and lactic acid treats fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, uneven textures, and, of course, dark spots. This toner should be applied as the first step in your routine followed by serum and moisturizer. In just a week, you can look forward to seeing your dark spots fade.