Dark spots are all too common. They can appear as a result of acne, sun damage, or a rash, which is also known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. They can can also occur when dealing with melasma, which is common during pregnancy. No matter the cause, it takes a special cocktail of brightening ingredients to lighten them up.
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Most dark spot correctors will contain vitamin C or niacinamide (or both), active ingredients known for their brightening properties. But for those with medium to deep skin tones, you might need an additional boost. Dermatologist Erica Stevens of Westlake Dermatology says the best brightening ingredients for dark skin tones are hydroquinone (used sparingly), retinol, and azelaic acid. She explains that hydroquinone is the “gold standard” that is available over the counter or prescription from your dermatologist. Retinol gives you both brightening and firming benefits, as it works to boost collagen production and eliminate fine lines and acne. And if you’re looking to get an even skin tone while also dealing with acne and rosacea, azelaic acid is going to become your new best friend.
With all that in mind, we’ve gathered the best and the brightest dark spot correctors and removers so you can kiss dark spots goodbye at every budget, and for every skin tone. Scroll down to find the right one for you.