15 Dark Spot Correctors for Bright and Even-Toned Skin

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15 Dark Spot Correctors for Bright and Even-Toned Skin
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Dark spots don’t require a lofty explanation. They’re post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or the marks that get left behind after inflammation, such as a pimple or other irritation. And according to New York–based dermatologist Hadley King, MD, other dark spots can be melasma, a type of discoloration that results from a combination of your hormones, genetics, and sun exposure.

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Regardless of where your dark spots came from, they’re generally a pain to get rid of, especially if you’re in the habit of picking while they heal. This is where dark spot correctors come in handy. They come in many forms (spot treatments, creams, gels), but the best ones contain a few key ingredients.

“I generally find that hydroquinone is the most effective ingredient for fading dark spots,” says Dr. King. “Hydroquinone is sometimes combined with a topical cortisone and a topical retinoid, and these combination products are great because each ingredient decreases the discoloration through a different mechanism. Azelaic acid is another ingredient that can also be helpful.”

MORE: 3 Black Women Share the Routines That Transformed Their Skin

It’s also important to minimize sun exposure and up your daily sun protection, even after you’ve applied something topical. But because we can’t resist a little skin-care magic, here are the top-rated correctors that should be on your radar.

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STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Burt's Bees Brightening Skin Perfecting Serum
Burt's Bees Brightening Skin Perfecting Serum

Daisy extracts and a host of other clean ingredients work together to soothe skin and elevate your natural glow.

$20 at Burt's Bees

Photo: Burt's Bees
STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Caudalie Radiance Serum
Caudalie Radiance Serum

Apply this serum, made with Viniferine and olive squalane, to your face and neck before you moisturize to diminish spots.

$79 at Caudalie

Photo: Caudalie
STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector
Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector

This prescription-strength formula is made with a gentle dose of turmeric extract to brighten and exfoliate damaged skin.

$144.50 at Clinique

Photo: Clinique
STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Dermadoctor Photodynamic Age Spot Eraser & Brightener
Dermadoctor Photodynamic Age Spot Eraser & Brightener

Instead of hydroquinone, this formula includes a host of gentler, but still effective brighteners, such as azelaic acid and mulberry extract.

$60 at Dermadoctor

Photo: Dermadoctor
STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Estee Lauder Enlighten Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum
Estee Lauder Enlighten Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum

Apply this serum day and night before your moisturizer for one month and expect to see fewer dark spots and more brightness overall.

$96 at Estee Lauder

Photo: Estee Lauder
STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors |
Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution Serum

Vitamin C, peony extract, and white birch extract are the star ingredients of this gentle spot corrector, which can be applied all over the face before your moisturizer.

$50 at Kiehl's 

Photo: Kiehl's
STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector
Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector

This dark spot corrector doubles as a retinol that gently exfoliates as it diminishes the appearance of dark spots.

$17.99 at Target

Photo: Neutrogena
STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Paula's Choice Resist Triple-Action Dark Spot Eraser
Paula's Choice Resist Triple-Action Dark Spot Eraser

Glycolic acid and hydroquinone work together to lighten acne marks while also hydrating the surface of the skin.

$27 at Paula's Choice

Photo: Paula's Choice
STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Ren Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic
Ren Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic

Lactic acid and willow bark extract reduce pore size while azelaic acid brightens and evens out skin tone.

$35 at Ren

Photo: Ren
STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | tarte Blemish Bully Acne Spot Treatment
tarte Blemish Bully Acne Spot Treatment

Cover just the affected area with this spot treatment one to three times daily to reduce the size of irritations and lighten dark spots.

$16 at tarte

Photo: tarte
STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

Get a straight dose of azelaic acid daily when you apply this serum all over.

$7.90 at The Ordinary

Photo: The Ordinary
STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Korres Wild Rose Brightening Targeted Tone Corrector
Korres Wild Rose Brightening Targeted Tone Corrector

This botanical-based toner is a great corrector choice for sensitive skin that doesn't respond well to acid-based products.

$26 at Korres

Photo: Korres
STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Murad Post-Acne Spot Lightening Gel
Murad Post-Acne Spot Lightening Gel

Hydroquinone does the brightening while plant-derived ingredients do the soothing and healing.

$65 at Murad

Photo: Murad
STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Peter Thomas Roth De-Spot Brightening Corrector
Peter Thomas Roth De-Spot Brightening Corrector

Dealing with "pregnancy mask," or discoloration all over? This potent formula promises visible results in as little as two weeks as long as you're using it regularly.

$75 at Peter Thomas Roth

Photo: Peter Thomas Roth
STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Gel
Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Gel

Slather on this lightweight gel before bed and wake up to smaller blemishes without completely drying them out.

$80 at Sephora

Photo: Sunday Riley

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  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Burt's Bees Brightening Skin Perfecting Serum
  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Caudalie Radiance Serum
  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector
  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Dermadoctor Photodynamic Age Spot Eraser & Brightener
  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Estee Lauder Enlighten Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum
  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors |
  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector
  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Paula's Choice Resist Triple-Action Dark Spot Eraser
  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Ren Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic
  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | tarte Blemish Bully Acne Spot Treatment
  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Korres Wild Rose Brightening Targeted Tone Corrector
  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Murad Post-Acne Spot Lightening Gel
  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Peter Thomas Roth De-Spot Brightening Corrector
  • STYLECASTER | Best Dark Spot Correctors | Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Gel

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