As if it’s not enough to deal with wrinkles, dark spots are another aging factor that can make us look older than our years. They often make a complexion look dull and mottled, robbing it of its radiance. There are two different reasons why our skin changes. Intrinsic aging is a genetically determined process that we cannot manipulate. Contributing factors include oxidative stress, glycation, your DNA, and fluctuating hormones, all of which contribute to the loss of collagen and elastin, roughness, uneven and dull skin, wrinkles, and dark spots. On the other hand, extrinsic aging is caused by circumstances we can change, such as smoking, poor sleep habits, the environment (think pollution), an unhealthy diet, drinking too much alcohol, and sun exposure — the number one cause of aging skin. Luckily, there are skincare products that specifically target pigmentation issues.
Formulyst Dark Spot Solution, $79
Formulyst Luminous Skin Serum, $49
Dr. Brandt Dark Spots No More Triple Acid Spot Minimizing Concentrate, $68
Verso Dark Spot Fix, $95
SkinMedica Lytera, $154
Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, $146
Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector, $17.96
Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, $56
Olay Prox Even Skin Tone Spot Fading Treatment, $31.50
Estee Lauder Enlighten Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum, $98
La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Dark Spot Serum, $49.99
The Cause of Dark Spots
The main culprit in the battle against dark spots is tyrosinase, a key enzyme in melanin production. As you may already know, melanin is the pigment that gives our hair and skin its color, and its role is to protect the skin. It is often heightened in the skin by tanning and general sun exposure. Though it’s necessary, too much melanin is what causes dark spots and discoloration on the face and body. Dark spots can also result from hyperpigmentation due to acne scarring or spending too much time in the sun. Other causes include hormonal issues, liver damage, genetics, and various skin disorders.
Where Dark Spots Occur
Dark spots can occur anywhere on the body, though they’re mostly found on the cheeks, forehead and upper lip, or around the mouth. They can also appear on the neck, hands, and legs. But keep in mind: dark spots can pretty much pop up anywhere, especially areas of your body that are more often exposed to the sun.
Popular Ingredients in the Best Dark Spot Correctors
Thank nature (and science!) for all of the ingredients available to halt or inhibit tyrosinase. Ingredients like hydroquinone, vitamin C, niacinamide, and mulberry root have the power to stop tyrosinase in its tracks. Other ingredients you’ll encounter on this list are exfoliators like glycolic acid and salicylic acid. These acids work hard to “unglue” the skin cells that bind together and cause dullness. Once those offending cells are sloughed away, radiant, glowing, and even-toned skin can emerge.
The Best Dark Spot Correctors of 2021
Let’s dive in and look at some of the best dark spot correctors currently on the market, all of which are full of effective and oftentimes very potent ingredients to give you back the youthful, even-toned, glowing complexion.