Call It Witchcraft, But I Swear These 15 Products Treat Dark Spots in Days
Ugh, dark spots. Anyone who has them knows they're not always the easiest to keep at bay—especially if you have a darker skin tone and struggle with acne. To be perfectly honest, though, hyperpigmentation can't really be treated with a one-size-fits-all approach. There are so many factors that can trigger the formation of dark spots, including sun exposure, eczema, acne, and the list goes on. Either way, it's important to see a dermatologist to find out how to treat your specific needs and hyperpigmentation. They'll be able to tailor a custom hyperpigmentation skincare routine that's just right for you and your skin. Generally speaking though, there are a few great ingredients that can treat it, including vitamin C, retinoids, AHAs, BHAs, niacinamide, and tranexamic acid.
I was also able to ask aesthetician and global educator for QMS Medicosmetics Rowan Hall-Farrise for a little extra insight on the matter. "At QMS, we would first address and remove some causes of pigmentation," she says. "Pollution plays a huge hand in this. I would first work with our Epigen range to clear the skin and retrain it against the effect this stressor has had on the skin. This is like an aesthetician's version of a blank canvas. You have a much clearer and longer-lasting result with your pigment-correcting products when first actively protecting the skin from pollution. Then, I can start to work on calming the melanin production with the QMS Even Tone Day & Night Serum ($178) and Advanced Cellular Marine Day & Night Lotion ($310). I would always have my clients working continually with the QMS Collagen System Sensitive 3-Step Routine Set ($298) to keep the skin's integrity and barrier function at its optimum. The last product that should be used religiously is an SPF 50. Always protect, protect, protect!"
For a few more of Hall-Farrise's favorite products to treat dark spots and our own recs, keep scrolling. You'll find the best exfoliants, masks, and serums to add to your hyperpigmentation skincare routine.
The Best Serums for Hyperpigmentation
Even out your tone in no time with The Ordinary's Hyperpigmentation Serum. It targets dark spots with concentrations of pure alpha-arbutin and hyaluronic acid to brighten and even your skin. The price tag doesn't hurt, either.
Hyper Skin is a brand I love because its products are specifically formulated to address the challenges faced by those with Black and Brown skin tones—like hyperpigmentation. This serum contains vitamin C to reduce hyperpigmentation, hyaluronic acid, and kojic acid to exfoliate and prevent further dark spots from forming.
Derms always recommend CeraVe products because they're gentle, effective, and budget-friendly. The brand's Skin Renewing Treatment has both glycolic and lactic acid to help lighten the appearance of dark spots and slough off pore-clogging dead skin cells. Additionally, licorice root in the formula brightens while hyaluronic acid helps skin retain its natural moisture levels.
Hall-Farrise recommends this serum for both day and nighttime to help even out your skin tone and fade dark spots. It's an advanced multifunctional complex that gently targets pigmentation, creates a radiant complexion, and helps prevent premature light-induced skin aging.
Murad's Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum does exactly what it sounds like—reduces dark spots rapidly. Using a powerhouse trio of resorcinol, tranexamic acid, and glycolic acid, the formula removes dull surface skin cells and minimizes pigmentation almost instantly.
The Best Exfoliants for Hyperpigmentation
If you have sensitive skin, Hall-Farrise recommends using this gentle exfoliating toner just a few times a week. It increases cell renewal without irritating, improves overall elasticity, and brightens with a balanced fruit-acid complex.
This superfood-infused toner is a great option for those who struggle with acne and dark spots. It utilizes a 3% AHA, 2% BHA, 1% PHA, and superfood antioxidant blend. This purifies your pores, smooths out texture, and helps fade dark spots.
This product has gained a cult following for a reason. I use it and can confirm that my acne and dark spots improved within a matter of weeks. It has become a staple in my routine due to the powerful (yet gentle) blend of salicylic acid and green tea.
This is another great option if you tend to get dark spots after a breakout. It contains 10% glycolic acid and 5% witch hazel to help control excess oil and brighten the skin.
For tighter, brighter, smoother skin, go for Ren's Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic. Lactic acid from yeast exfoliates and eliminates dead skin cells while willow-bark extract minimizes the appearance of pores. The brightening component comes from azelaic acid precursors, which even out your skin tone.
The Best Masks for Hyperpigmentation
Hall-Farrise suggests using this active exfoliating mask, which contains 11% AHAs, twice a week. It has a gentle peeling effect, refines pores, and helps smooth and brighten your skin fast.
With a blend of enzymes, AHAs, and BHAs, this resurfacing mask from Versed tackles hyperpigmentation and boosts cell turnover. Glycolic and lactic acid work together to dissolve dead skin and fade dark spots while salicylic acid minimizes pores and redness. Vitamin C–rich pineapple and papaya enzymes also provide another boost of brightening to your complexion.
Ranavat's Resurfacing Saffron Masque is rich in AHAs and enzymes that resurface the skin and leave it totally glowing. It's also loaded with other Ayurvedic botanicals like mango, lotus seed, saffron, mombin fruit, and papaya enzymes to gently exfoliate and fade dark spots.
Amazon reviewers are raving about this brightening turmeric and vitamin C clay mask. It clarifies, hydrates, boosts radiance, and even helps with active blemishes.
This dark spot–correcting night mask provides rich hydration and extra brightening thanks to ingredients like vitamin C, chestnut-seed extract, and molasses. It works overnight to diminish the appearance of dark spots so you'll wake up with skin that's refreshed and ultra radiant.