leopard spots

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. 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

    MAD Spot On Targeted Skin Brightening System ($42 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.
  • E’shee Intensive Brightening Serum

    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.
  • Ultra Renew PLUS Ultrasonic LED

    Ultra Renew PLUS Ultrasonic LED ($149 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. Green LED helps inhibit 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

    Sevani Rapid Renewal Resurfacing Crème ($65 in the 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.
  • Lumixyl Topical Brightening Crème

    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.