Having trouble finding the perfect concealer or foundation to cover dark spots on your face and neck? It may be because foundations and concealers aren’t even the products you actually need.
If you have a hard time finding cosmetics to cover your skin's dark areas properly, what you actually need is a dark spot corrector.
From affordable drugstore brands to expensive high-end designer beauty brands, dark spot correctors are everywhere. They’re made with different ingredients, but they all claim to do the same thing: lighten and brighten those dark spots on your face.
Ready to find a product that fits your needs and your budget? Here’s our roundup of the 15 best dark spot correctors (that actually work).
What Are Dark Spot Correctors For?
Dark spot correctors aren’t just for covering small blemishes or small patches of redness (that’s what concealers do). Products formulated and marketed as dark spot correctors are designed to treat areas with hyperpigmentation.
What is hyperpigmentation? In simple terms, it’s the darkening of the skin in patches or spots.
If you have significant areas of darkened skin on your face, a dark spot corrector won’t just help to cover it. Unlike a traditional concealer, a spot corrector will also treat the skin and lighten it over time.
There are a variety of factors that can change the pigment of your skin. If you’re looking for a way to lighten and minimize those dark marks, it’s time for a dark spot corrector.
What Ingredients to Look For in Dark Spot Correctors
Dark spot correctors come in the form of serums, moisturizers and various other products, and they’re made with a variety of ingredients. Since they are designed to work as skin lightening creams, most of them contain at least one ingredient proven to lighten the skin.
When shopping for a dark spot corrector, look for ingredients such as hydroquinone, retinoids and retinol and Vitamin C. Many also include powerful acids, such as azelaic acid, salicylic, glycolic acid and kojic acid.
The most effective dark spot correctors usually include at least one of these ingredients.
It’s important to note, however, that hydroquinone is defined specifically as a skin lightening agent. It can cause excess dryness in people with dry or sensitive skin. It also works best on people with fair to light skin tones.
If you have dark skin, dry skin or sensitive skin, consult with your dermatologist before using a product that contains hydroquinone.
Ready to make a dark spot corrector a part of your daily skincare routine? Here are our 15 picks for the best dark spot correctors at price points to suit every budget.
Fade dark spots and treat areas of skin discoloration with the Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution. It’s formulated with salicylic acid as well as a variety of natural ingredients to correct dark spots and improve the look of your skin over time.
For best results, put it on your face (as well as on any dark spots on your hands and arms) morning and night, beneath your moisturizer.
Available at Nordstrom, $56
Loaded with brightening ingredients, including kojic acid, the Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense is a soothing serum that’s safe for use on all skin types.
Apply three or four drops of this serum twice daily to brown spots and you should see significant improvement with twelve weeks of daily use.
Available at Skinceuticals, $98
Alcohol-free and oil-free, the Clinique Even Better Clinical Radical Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter can be used on all skin tones. It includes salicylic acid as well as antioxidants to improve the look of existing dark spots and prevent future ones.
Available at Nordstrom, $54.50
As the name suggests, the L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C Serum is loaded with vitamin C. This serum is designed to reduce the appearance of fine lines as well as boost radiance and create brighter skin.
Available at Ulta, $29.99
Looking for a skincare product that does double duty? Check out the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Dark Spot Sun Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50. This powerful sunscreen features Vitamin C, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, and peptides to reduce hyperpigmentation, dark spots and the look of aging skin.
This sunscreen doesn’t just help you to create a more even complexion. It also prevents further skin damage to reduce more dark spots from forming.
Available at Dermstore, $42
Based on reviews, 73% of users said they saw lighter dark spots in six weeks with the Murad Rapid Age Spot Correcting Serum. Featuring a niacinamide complex with Vitamin C, this serum blocks the UV light that creates dark spots in the first place.
It's great for correcting the ones you already have and preventing future spots from forming. Its clinical strength formula is safe for use on all skin types, including sensitive skin.
Available at Murad, $76
Fade those marks from post-acne breakouts and improve the look of dull skin with the Dermalogica Active Clearing Age Bright Spot Fader. It includes salicylic acid as well as an AGE Bright complex to prevent the skin from getting too dry.
This formula is best suited for people looking to reduce dark spots from acne as opposed to sunspots or age spots.
Available at Skinstore, $45
The Skinfix Correct+ Dark Spot Corrector reduces the appearance of dark spots and exfoliates the skin. It’s a rich lotion that includes antioxidants to brighten the skin and even your skin tone with continued use.
Available at Sephora, $60
Hyaluronic acid moisturizes the skin. Vitamin C helps to make the skin brighter and even skin tone. The CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum features these ingredients and a host of others.
The formula is designed to defend the skin against free radicals, which can lead to dark spots. It also has a lightweight and gentle feel, making it a favorite amongst dermatologists.
Available at Ulta, $24.99
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension is ideal for using on dark spots resulting from acne breakouts. This lightweight gel-cream boasts a multifunctional brightening formula that’s safe for use on all skin types.
Azelaic acid is proven in evening out skin tone and reduces the appearance of blemishes. It also lightens and brightens the skin while creating an overall better skin texture.
Available at Ulta, $7.90
Vitamin E and Vitamin C are just two of the many powerful ingredients in the Hyperskin Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Serum. Safe for all skin types, this serum is proven to brighten skin, reduce dark spots from hyperpigmentation and create a better skin texture.
Featuring various fruit enzymes and kojic acid, this product can drastically lighten dark spots and minimize the possibility of future dark spots occurring.
Available at GetHyperSkin, $36
Glycolic acid and hydroquinone make the Paula’s Choice Triple Action Dark Spot Eraser a powerful option for reducing all sorts of dark spots on the skin. This lotion is specifically designed for anti-aging and reducing sun spots, age spots and discolorations anywhere on the skin.
It includes antioxidants to make the skin look younger. It fades dark spots and hyperpigmentation. It smooths the texture of the skin. Plus, the addition of alpha hydroxy acid creates an overall brighter and clearer complexion.
Available at Paula’s Choice Skincare, $29
Neutrogena products are affordable. They’re gentle on the skin. And, most importantly, they’re effective.
And those are just three reasons to love the Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector.
With Vitamin C, retinol and hyaluronic acid, this serum is designed to create younger, more radiant skin, including the reduction of age spots and dark discolorations.
If you’re looking for a product that goes above and beyond, this dark spot corrector also hydrates the skin and smooths wrinkles. It may be one of the most inexpensive products to make this list, but it’s also one of the best.
Available at Amazon, $19.28
Minimize dark spots, age spots, and sunspots with the Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector. This formula brightens skin tone, promotes healthy cell turnover to increase the skin's radiance, and reduces dark spots' appearance.
While most of us think of Garnier as a haircare brand, this particular skin care product is one worth trying out. To maximize this product's effectiveness, pair it with Garnier's Clearly Brighter exfoliating cleanser and moisturizer with SPF.
Available at Amazon, $15.46
The Verso Dark Spot Fix includes a high dose of retinol 8, which is proven to reduce dark spots from aging, acne scars and sun damage. It’s on the pricey side, but if you’re looking for a powerful way to reduce hyperpigmentation, this is a great option.
The Verso Dark Spot Fix includes niacinamide to reduce the production of melanin. Why is that important? Because the less melanin the skin produces, the less likely you are to see future dark spots form.
The addition of hyaluronic acid and antioxidants makes it an effective product for use on the face, neck, and décolletage.
Available at Dermstore, $95
When in Doubt, Talk to Your Derm
Not sure which product is right for you? Not sure if you’re using a product with the right ingredients for your specific needs?
Whether you’re looking for a great way to combat the signs of aging or looking to reduce the scars from acne breakouts, it’s always a good idea to ask your dermatologist to recommend a dark spot corrector.
Some products are better suited for people looking to prevent and defend against dark spots. Others are better suited to people who already have dark spots and are looking for a way to minimize them. When in doubt, talk to your dermatologist to determine which product is right for your skin.
It’s also important to note that most dark spot correctors are safe for use on all skin types. However, your dermatologist may recommend a specific product, particularly if you suffer from sensitive skin.
Do Dark Spot Correctors Work?
From spot treatments to brightening serums, anti-aging products are everywhere. And while most are safe for use at any point in time, dark spot correctors are often best used on areas of the skin that are already experiencing hyperpigmentation.
Don’t want to have to worry about dark spots as you age? Adopt a solid skincare routine of a cleanser, toner and SPF moisturizer when you’re young, and you can prevent those dark spots from occurring.
Remember, it’s always easier to prevent a problem from happening than to have to address one once it becomes an issue!
You might also be interested in: The 23 Best Skincare Subscription Boxes for Men and Women [For All Skin Types]
The 15 Best Dark Spot Correctors:
- Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution
- Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense
- Clinique Even Better Clinical Radical Dark Spot Corrector + Interruptor
- L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C Serum
- Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Dark Spot Sun Defense
- Murad Rapid Age Spot Correcting Serum
- Dermalogica Active Clearing Age Bright Spot Fader
- Skinfix Correct+ Dark Spot Corrector
- CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum
- The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension
- Hyperskin Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Serum
- Paula’s Choice Triple Action Dark Spot Eraser
- Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector
- Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector
- Verso Dark Spot Fix