Dark spots are stubborn and, as I wrote in my post on getting under the skin of hyperpigmentation
, require a regimen: 1) exfoliate the damaged skin, 2) protect new skin from further sun damage, 3) use a melanin inhibitor and 4) give the regimen a big boost a few times a week with green LED light therapy. For additional ideas, check out my recent post on treatments for melasma
. While there are no silver bullets there are better and better dark spot-fading creams on the market and for the first time – ever – I am able to recommend my Five Best:
MAD Spot On Targeted Skin Brightening System
($38 in the shop
). This has been doing a very good job of working on a dark spot on my right hand, affectionately known as The Freckle. For the price, this is such a good product with a sophisticated array of skin lighteners including Lumiskin, a peptide that inhibits skin pigmentation, several forms of vitamin C, niacinamide and botanicals. MAD Spot On punches above its weight and is a great value for the price. Read the full review
E’shee Intensive Brightening Serum
($119 in the shop
). E’shee’s products are deceptively simple and surprisingly potent. This is no exception and is probably the best dark spot fader I have found so far (although my expectations – given how hard dark spots are to treat – are realistic to say the least). The active is an unusual one called m-tranexamic acid and it inhibits U- induced hyperpigmentation and melanocyte activity. It works best on localized areas of irregular melanin distribution – such as a melasma patch or a dark spot – rather than lightening the overall skin tone. The other key active is vitamin C, which behaves synergistically with the m-tranexamic acid. Read the full review
Green LED light
(Sirius Aurora $149 in the shop
and Ultra Renew $89 in the shop
). In my experience and that of many members of the TIA community, regular use of green LED light fades dark spots. Theoretically, green light targets melanocytes, melanin-producing cells located in the bottom layer of the skin's epidermis. According to Sirius, it inhibits the production of excess melanin, prevents it from traveling to the skin’s surface, and breaks up melanin clusters to diminish existing discoloration. So go green and give a boost to your brightening serums. Read more on green light and hyperpigmentation
Sevani Rapid Renewal Resurfacing Crème
($65 in the TIA shop
). I used this throughout the summer on my nose to prevent large pores and keep my oily T-zone under control. One day I noticed that the freckles on my nose were fading (they usually deepen in summer). Sevani’s Rapid Renewal was a freckle and dark spot fader – who knew! Exfoliation is essential to taking down hyperpigmentation and here the job is done with sugars and fruit acids. There are also brighteners in the form of willow bark and licorice. With moisturizing ingredients as well, this is a great multitasker. Read the full review
Lumixyl Topical Brightening Crème
($120 in the shop
). The synthetic peptide used in Lumixyl does not topically bleach the skin like hydroquinone, but rather restrains tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for the production of melanin. There’s also something called SymWhite 377, Phenylethyl Resorcinol is a synthetic compound partly derived from natural lightening compounds in scotch pine bark. Ultimately, Topical Brightening may be better at prevention rather than cure, but used in conjunction with Lumixyl’s 20% glycolic acid GlycoPeel ($60 in the shop
) and green LED), existing spots will fade with regular use and, as with all of these recommendations, patience.
Ingredients in MAD: Water, Propanediol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Niacinamide, PEG-8 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Tetra-hexyldecyl Ascorbate, Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Phyllanthus emblica Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Diacetyl Boldine, Oligopeptide-68, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Chamomilla recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Uva ursi (Bearberry) Fruit Extract, Morus nigra (Mulberry) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium angustifolium (Blueberry) Extract, Citrus paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil , Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Oil, Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Bisabolol, Titanium Dioxide, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Mica, Silica, Polysorbate 20, Acrylates/C0-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Oleate, Lecithin, Sorbitol, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.
Ingredients in E’shee: Propylene Glycol, Ethoxydiglycol, Diglycerin, Ascorbic Acid, m-Tranexamic Acid, Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Oil, D-Limonene, Citral, Linalool.
Ingredients in Sevani: *Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, *Olive Fruit Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Bilberry Fruit Extract, Sugar Cane Extract, Sugar Maple Extract, Orange Fruit Extract, Lemon Extract, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate (Olive derived), Olive Squalane, Argan Nut Oil, Veg. Glycerin, *Leuconostoc (Radish Root), Ferment Filtrate, Willow Bark Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Opuntia Ficus Indica Extract, *Green Tea Leaf Extract, Tremella Hyaluronic (Mushroom derived) Extract, Algae Extract, Artemisia Vulgaris, Kukui Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, *Rose Damascene (Bulgarian Rose) Extract, *Neem Leaf Extract, *Sacred Lotus Extract, *Red Tea Leaf Extract, *Neroli (Orange) Blossom Extract, Sclerotium Gum, Lemon Peel Oil *Certified Organic
Ingredients in Lumixyl: Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, Bis-Ethoxydiglycol Cyclohexane 1,4-Dicarboxylate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Decapeptide-12, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium PCA, Phenylethyl Resorcinol, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Panthenol, Allantoin, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Dicetyl Phosphate, Ceteth-10 Phosphate, Sclerotium Gum, Aminomethyl Propanol, Butylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Chlorphenesin, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol.