It’s totally normal for women over 50 (and younger women who spend lots of time in the sun) to get age spots on their arms, face, hands, and shoulders. While they are harmless, that doesn’t mean we have to like them. Luckily, a dark spot corrector can help brighten skin, even out complexions, and fade our pesky little friends.
Age Spot or Something Worse?
A new spot anywhere on your body can cause a fright (and it’s never a bad idea to consult your doctor when one appears), but before your inner hypochondriac takes over be sure to check whether your mysterious spot looks like one of these three common age spots:
Cherry hemangiomas: Also called Campbell De Morgan spots or senile angiomas, cherry hemangiomas are small red bumps that can appear anywhere on the body. These red dots are usually no bigger than a pencil eraser and appear red due to an abnormally high concentration of blood vessels.
Lentigines: You’ve probably already heard of this type of age spot but under a different name — liver spots. Lentigines pop up on areas of skin that are often exposed to the sun and may not have a uniform shape. They’re darkish in color and tend to increase in number as you get older.
Seborrheic keratoses: These spots are either flat or raised and may have a scaly texture like a wart (they are not warts, however). Seborrheic keratoses often appear in clusters and are dark in color.
If you’re still unsure whether it’s an age spot or something cancerous, refer to the ABCDEs of skin cancer: asymmetry (one half of your mole looks different from the other), borders (irregular borders may be a sign of skin cancer), colors (lesions shouldn’t be more than one color, and darker hues are more of a cause for concern), diameter (melanomas are typically larger than a pencil eraser), evolving (changes in size, shape, or elevation as well as new symptoms like bleeding, crusting, or itching may signal skin cancer). Suspicious spots should be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible.
How to Get Rid of Dark Spots
When it comes to fading age spots, look for products that contain hydroquinone. This topical skin lightener has been used for decades to restrict the production of tyrosinase, an enzyme that plays a role in the creation of melanin. Dark spots, age spots, and hyperpigmentation are the result of an overproduction of melanin, so it makes sense that less tyrosinase means less melanin.
Hydroquinone is available over the counter in two percent concentrations, though you can get as high as four percent or even greater with a prescription. You may see results in as little as four weeks depending on your skin, but expect to wait eight to 12 weeks to see a visible difference in your complexion.
In addition to hydroquinone, azelaic acid, glycolic acid, kojic acid, retinoids, and vitamin C are all powerful skin-brightening ingredients, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists. And lucky for you, there’s no prescription needed to use these products.
How to Choose the Best Dark Spot Corrector
Knowing your specific skin type will help you find the best dark spot corrector. Is your skin extremely sensitive? Is your hyperpigmentation years old? To help navigate the confusing world of age spot creams, serums, and oils, we’ve rounded up the best dark spot correctors on the market so you can make your decision with ease.
Keep scrolling to shop Woman’s World’s picks for the best dark spot correctors to fade age spots and hyperpigmentation.
We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.
Best Face Body Screen Jack Black Oil-Free Sun Guard Sunscreen Water Resistant SPF 45
Best Face and Body Sunscreen
Where to buy: $21, Sephora
Before we dive into the best dark spot correctors, let's talk about sunscreen. One of the best ways to prevent age spots in the future is to slather yourself in sunscreen to prevent sun-damaged skin. Jack Black's Oil-Free Sun Guard Sunscreen is a great all-over sunscreen if you don't want to fuss with different products for your face and body. Women of color rave about this sunscreen, saying it won't leave a white cast on the skin. Even better, it's paraben-, phthalate-, sulfate-, and cruelty-free as well as vegan, so it won't aggravate sensitive skin.
Best Dark Spot Corrector Lancome Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector Serum
Best Splurge Dark Spot Corrector
Where to buy: $80, Sephora
Lancôme's Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector Serum is a multi-tasking beauty superstar that evens skin tone, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and minimizes pores. This serum is great for mature skin because it's formulated without irritating ingredients like parabens, phthalates, sulfates. Simply apply this serum directly to your face after cleansing and before moisturizing for best results. You can expect to see a difference in your skin just after three days.
Best Dark Spot Corrector Ole Henriksen Power Peel Transforming Facial System
Best Dark Spot Corrector Kit
Where to buy: $50, Sephora
Chemical peels are a common treatment option that fades dark spots, however, they can be quite pricey. Enter: Ole Henriksen's at-home Power Peel Transforming Facial System. This three-part system comes with a scrub, facial peel, and mask designed to brighten and even out your complexion for a fraction of the price. Users warn that this peel will sting a bit and that your face may be red for about an hour after using, but that the results are well worth it, especially if you have acne scars.
Best Dark Spot Corrector The Ordinary Aha 30 % Bha 2 % Peeling Solution
Best Dark Spot Corrector Peel
Where to buy: $7.20, Sephora
The Ordinary's AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is a budget-friendly peel. Its star ingredients —glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid — are known for exfoliating the skin and clearing out pore congestion so your face looks bright and fresh. To use, apply the product directly to your face using the built-in dropper and let sit for 10 minutes. Then, rinse will lukewarm water. Reviewers love the "glass skin" look this product gives them.
Best Dark Spot Corrector Cover Fx Brightening Booster Drops
Best Dark Spot Corrector With Vitamin C
Where to buy: $45, Sephora
Vitamin C is effective at fading age spots because of its ability to increase collagen production to repair damaged skin. So, why not give your skin a concentrated dose of vitamin C with Cover FX's Brightening Booster Drops? You can wear it under or over makeup, but we recommend adding a few drops to your nighttime skincare routine so you wake up with luminous, even skin.
Best Dark Spot Corrector Evagloss Natural Skincare Lightening Serum
Best Dark Spot Corrector With Kojic Acid
Where to buy: $29.99, Amazon
Evagloss' Natural Skincare Lightening Serum is a fabulous pick, not only for lightening age spots and evening out skin tones on the face, but it's also gentle enough for use on sensitive areas of the body like armpits. "I have some dark spots on my face that I really wanted to balance out. I was really skeptical that this would work on my dark skin, but based on the reviews decided to give it a try. I used as directed and in about 3 days could definitely see results. The darker areas were lighter and not as noticeable as before. It was light on my skin, easy to wear under makeup without being greasy or heavy. Very slight smell, but not enough to bother and it faded very quickly after applying the serum. I'll be ordering again for sure!" one reviewer raved.
Best Dark Spot Corrector Alpha H Liquid Gold With Glycolic Acid
Best Dark Spot Corrector With Glycolic Acid
Where to buy: $60, Sephora
Alpha-H's Liquid Gold lives up to its name by delivering a host of nourishing ingredients to your skin while you sleep. See your dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles disappear over time thanks to a five percent concentration of glycolic acid. This alpha-hydroxy acid speeds up your body's skin renewal process to bring newer, brighter skin cells to the surface. Licorice extract is another excellent add-in that's known for its ability to correct uneven skin tones and soothe inflamed skin.
Best Dark Spot Corrector Proactive Advanced Dark Spot Correcting Serum
Best Dark Spot Corrector With Hydroquinone
Where to buy: $50, Sephora
You may know of Proactiv through its acne-fighting line, but its Advanced Dark Spot Correcting Serum is also earning a lot of praise from reviewers. Hydroquinone, sea buckthorn berry oil, and citric acid are the stars of the show and work in tandem to erase hyperpgimentation caused by acne scars and sun damage while simultaneously soothing skin.
Best Dark Spot Corrector Admire My Skin Ultra Potent Brightening Serum Otc Hydroquinone
Best Dark Spot Corrector on Amazon
Where to buy: $21.85 (originally $23), Amazon
Admire My Skin's Ultra Potent Brightening Serum is a cocktail of all the best skin-lightening ingredients: hydroquinone, kojic acid, lactic acid, and vitamin C. One thing to note about this product is that it will make your dark spots appear darker before the scab that forms falls off to reveal brighter, more even skin underneath.
"About a year ago I got horrible melasma [a common skin condition that causes brown patches to appear on the face] on my upper lip. It was so dark that everyone kept saying that I had dirt on my face. I was embarrassed and would not leave the house without trying to cover it up. However, even the top of the line makeup products would not cover it. I tried every product you can think of and [spent] hundreds of dollars trying to get rid of and nothing worked. I came across this product and thought why not, I'll try it. Thank god I did!! In just one night I noticed how my dark spots were already fading. After a week, you can barely even notice that I had such dark spots on my lip. My only suggestion besides buying this product is use it in very small spaces and apply it with a q tip. It will darken your fingertips and make them peel. For the first week, this product makes your dark spots look worse and very dry to where you can't wear any makeup. But if you can stick that peeling process out, you will be amazed at the results!! This is by far the greatest product I have ever used and I would recommend that anyone suffering from mesalma, acne scars or dark spots buy it!!"
Best Dark Spot Corrector Bloom Advanced Brightening Cream Vitamin C Ferulic Acid
Best Dark Spot Corrector for All Over
Where to buy: $14.92, Amazon
You want a product that's gentle on your face, but sometimes you need something a bit stronger for fading sun spots on your arms and shoulder. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a product that could do both? That's where Bloom's Advanced Brightening Cream with vitamin C and ferulic acid shines. This hyperpigmentation cream harnesses the damage repair abilities of vitamin C (and ferulic acid boosts vitamin C's effectiveness) to fade away annoying dark patches on your face and body.
Best Dark Spot Corrector Touch 20 % Glycolic Acid Pads
Best Dark Spot Corrector Pads With Glycolic Acid
Where to buy: $23.70, Amazon
If you don't want to deal with creams and serums, we suggest trying glycolic acid pads, which chemically exfoliate to reveal brighter, clearer skin. Made with calming chamomile, green tea, and cucumber extracts, Touch's 20% Glycolic Acid Pads fight signs of aging like dark spots and wrinkles without irritating your skin. You may also notice that your pores start to shrink in size — talk about a win-win!