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Advertising Sponsored by Tru Alchemy, the makers of Spot Check

2023's Top Spot Correctors for Dark Spots & Hyperpigmentation

We’ll reveal the top 5 most effective
spot correctors for bright, even-toned skin at any age.

Uneven skin tone? Sun spots? Age spots? As we notice skin discoloration begin to show up in the mirror, it’s common to feel frustrated or even self-conscious. And, unfortunately, dark spots don’t go away on their own.

That’s why dark spot correctors are popping up online and in retail stores everywhere, promising skin that looks refreshed, radiant and youthful.

A Quality Spot Corrector
Can Reduce the Look of:

What To Expect From a Quality Spot Corrector

As the product’s brightening ingredients start to take effect, you may begin to notice your dark spots are becoming less visible. But be wary of companies claiming to erase the look of dark spots in a single month. Significant lightening takes time.

After a couple months of addressing the dark spots and hyperpigmentation, many people report that their skin looks clearer, brighter, and more even-toned. Check the mirror around the two-month mark—you’ll likely be able to see the difference.

This is typically when people realize they no longer need as much makeup, now that there is less discoloration to cover up. So, if you’re hoping to restore a bright, radiant, youthful-looking complexion, then we recommend sticking with your new skincare regimen for at least three months.

However, some retail brands add cheap fillers and additives to their formulas that dilute potency and can even be harmful to your overall skin health.

To help you make an informed purchase, we reveal what causes dark spots, the top spot corrector ingredients to look for, and how high-quality e-commerce products could deliver maximum results.

What Causes Dark Spots?

Dark spots or sun spots can happen all over your body from a day in the summer sunshine or weeks on vacation sitting under an umbrella. With prolonged sun exposure, our skin releases a pigment called melanin to protect itself from UV rays.

Sometimes this results in a glowing tan, but this natural UV response can also often cause excess melanin to pool in key areas of our skin, which can then cause discoloration or dark spots over time. Post-acne marks are also frequently darkened due to overexposure from UV light which can cause this kind of discoloration.

This is why high-quality spot correctors typically contain a combination of active ingredients and antioxidants that work together to exfoliate the skin to maintain smoothness, and help prevent melanin from collecting in concern areas.

Top Ingredients to Look For:

A dark spot corrector with these ingredients will go a long way to help your complexion, but there are other things to consider before making a purchase:

What to Avoid

Your Definitive Dark Spot Corrector Checklist:

Here's who made the cut...

After closely analyzing almost 70 different dark spot correctors and over 10,000 user reviews, we unfortunately only found 5 dark spot correctors that met our requirements. There were a surprisingly high number of ineffective products with either sub-standard ingredients or confusing money-back guarantees. Quality dark spot correctors aren’t easy to find, and out of 67 products that we reviewed, only 5 of them carry our recommendation.

1. Spot Check

by Tru Alchemy

Owned by the Smarter Reviews Group of Companies

a

OVERALL GRADE

PROS

cons

The Bottom Line

Named “Best Brightening Serum” by Vogue, Tru Alchemy’s Spot Check is our #1 pick because of its naturally derived formula that brightens the skin while minimizing the appearance of hyperpigmentation, dark circles, and acne scarring.

It contains a patented version of sodium hyaluronate, niacinamide, white shiitake mushroom, polyglutamic acid, and a blend of 3 brightening acids—phytic, lactic, and glycolic—as well as other ingredients that work together to visibly smooth and hydrate the skin.

Spot Check is also free of hydroquinone, mercury, synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrances, petroleum, sulfates, and other harsh chemicals. And, Tru Alchemy offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked, which shows us they stand by their product.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

2. Advanced Pigment

by Skinceuticals

a-

OVERALL GRADE

PROS

cons

The Bottom Line

The Advanced Pigment Corrector by Skinceuticals came in at #2 on our list of top five spot correctors. We like that it contains three brightening acids: salicylic acid, hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid, and ellagic acid. And the 90-day return policy is one of the best we’ve seen.

The main complaint about this product is the high price point. At one fluid ounce, Advanced Pigment Corrector costs $119.91. A few customers ran out of the corrector and needed to repurchase before they saw their results.

Though it’s expensive, Advanced Pigment Corrector by Skinceuticals earns the #2 pick for its quality formula and 90-day return policy.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

3. Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum

by Dr. Gross

b+

OVERALL GRADE

PROS

cons

The Bottom Line

Dr. Dennis Gross’ Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum comes in 3rd place on our list because of its formula that contains 2 brightening acids: kojic acid and lactic acid. However, at $92, the treatment itself is expensive.

While our researchers appreciate the addition of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), consumers have complained that they received rancid, discolored products due to improper packaging and frequent oxidation after only a few uses. It’s also important to note that Dr. Gross offers a limited 30-day return policy for unopened products only, so this is quite inconvenient if the product doesn’t work for your skin type.

Despite these concerns, all of Dr. Gross’ products are vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, and fragrance-free. For those reasons, Dr. Gross landed our #3 spot.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

4. Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

by Murad

b

OVERALL GRADE

PROS

cons

The Bottom Line

While Murad’s Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum is quite popular, it does contain hydroquinone, a potentially unsafe ingredient.

We ultimately decided to include Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum on our list because it’s a potent formula that may act faster than others, but at a possible cost to your skin’s health.

Users also felt that this was a relatively more cost-effective item, so buyers on a budget might be willing to take the chance. Despite its active ingredient, we decided to take our Smarter Shoppers word for it and put Murad’s Rapid Age Spot Pigment Lightening Serum in the 4th spot on our list.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

5. Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector

by Neutrogena®

b-

OVERALL GRADE

PROS

cons

The Bottom Line

Neutrogena’s Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector ranks 5th on our list. This dark spot corrector contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and retinol, all of which can help support a brighter appearance.

And Neutrogena goes as far as to claim that their dark spot corrector will show results within one week. Although this is unlikely to happen, the formula does contain mica, a mineral which may help conceal dark spots temporarily.

The issue with this product is that some users report experiencing irritation, especially around the eyes. This may be due to the retinol which, while effective, is a known irritant.

If you’re concerned about irritation, you can rest easy knowing Neutrogena® offers a 30-day guarantee.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

CITATIONS

  1. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/media/news-releases/dermatologist-shines-light-on-natural-ingredients-used-in-new-topical-treatments-for-hyperpigmentation
  2. Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-E
  3. US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Short, RW. Department of Dermatology, Malcolm Grow Medical Center, MD, USA. 2007 Jan;32(1):88-90. Epub 2006 Nov 27. PMID:17137484. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17137484