Testers gave it the best marks for softening, firming, and reducing wrinkles, and a few said it was perfect for wearing under makeup.
Whether caused by sun damage, pregnancy, hormones, inflammation, or breakouts (hello, acne scars), skin discoloration can be a frustrating thing to treat, to say the least. You should also look for products with ingredients like vitamin C (an antioxidant that brightens skin), niacinamide (vitamin B3, which slows pigment production), or hydroquinone (which inhibits an enzyme that produces melanin). —Sapna Palep, M.D., dermatologist at Spring Street Dermatology in New York City, I’m a huge fan of Differin’s powerful over-the-counter formulas, and this dark-spot corrector tops my favorites. —D.E.
Bonus: It’s also vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free, and it comes in recyclable packaging. It’s packed with vitamin C to help boost skin renewal for a smoother, brighter complexion. Ideally, your dark spot corrector will have a combo of melanin-inhibiting ingredients and those that remove the surface layers of skin, such as acids. See spots run with this powerhouse serum, which is formulated with 15% vitamin C, kojic acid, turmeric, vitamin E, and fruit enzymes—all of which work together to brighten skin, even texture, reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and acne scars, and prevent future breakouts. It scored highest in Lab digital imaging evaluations for improving radiance and earned some of the highest scores for brightening skin. Correct+ Dark Spot Corrector. Used daily to twice daily, this can be an important step in improving skin hyperpigmentation and evening tone. The dark spot that usually follows.
—Annie Chiu, M.D., dermatologist in Redondo Beach, California, Serums aren’t the only option for targeting dark spots. —Dendy Engelman, M.D., dermatologist in New York City, I love this moisturizer because it contains both soy, which actively turns down the production of melanin by the skin’s melanocytes, and SPF, which is key for fading any dark spots, whether caused by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne, a skin injury, or just by chronic sun damage. "This cream works really well at reducing the appearance of dark circles and spots, and it’s easy to find in drugstores," says board certified dermatologist Dr. Sapna Palep of Spring Street Dermatology in New York City. "With 18% glycolic acid and grapefruit extracts , this wash works amazingly to brighten the skin and lighten dark spots. —Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., dermatologist in New York City. It combines mandelic acid, lactic acid, gluconic acid, malic acid, and tartaric acid to be safe for all skin types without risk of hypo- or hyperpigmentation. required with these L’Oréal Paris glycolic acid peel pads, a winner of the GH Beauty Lab's face peel test — they’re presoaked with treatment ingredients, affordable, and mild enough to use nightly. April Franzino is the Beauty Director at Good Housekeeping, part of the Hearst Women’s Lifestyle Beauty Group. Almost as bad as a huge zit? "It's a staple among dark spot correctors. —Kenneth Howe, M.D., dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology in New York City, My favorite treatment for brown acne spots—or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation—is 100% tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate used twice a day on top of 8% glycolic serum. This is a new peel that combines AHAs and PHAs for an effective yet gentle exfoliation. You can spend years diligently attending to your skin regimen—the right cleansers! This uses AHAs, vitamin C, and lipids to correct, brighten, and support your skin barrier. It works most effectively on slightly uneven tone due to sun damage, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation like post-acne dark spots. “I have been using this product for years— it is the best dark spot fade cream I have ever used,” a reviewer raved. Avon's night cream showed stellar performance in GH Beauty Lab testing, earning a perfect score for helping reduce the appearance of UV spots, plus top rankings for improving skin firmness and hydration. It’s formulated with 5% niacinamide, which our Lab chemists say has been shown to brighten skin, improving hyperpigmentation.
Treat dark spots on the face with this serum from dermatologist go-to brand Skinceuticals, a winner of the GH Beauty Lab's anti-aging serum test. We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back.