Expert Advice on How To Fade Brown Spots

Think you can’t benefit from a dark spot corrector because you’re still in your 20s or 30s? Think again! It turns out the term ‘age spot’ is actually a misnomer. “The two biggest causes of dark spots are the sun and estrogen from pregnancy or birth control pills,” Dr. Kenneth R. Beer, board certified doctor of dermatology and dermatopathology (the microscopic study of the skin), told us. “Ageing doesn’t usually cause dark spots.”

What should you do? You already know daily SPF is incredibly important, but so is a brightening product, whether you have dark spots or not. Why? The right formula will help fade any current discoloration you have and prevent the spots that have yet to appear from past sun exposure or hormone fluctuations. Bonus? These formulas will also help fade scars and red marks from pimples, plus hyperpigmentation.

For current discoloration, Dr. Beer recommends choosing a product with ingredients like hydroquinone, salicylic acid, vitamin C, or retinol, all of which lighten and brighten skin. To help prevent new spots from forming, he suggests licorice extract, botanical extracts, or arbutin, a fungus that actually inhibits pigment production.

Each ingredient alone will help, but a combination is even better. But don’t worry, we’ve done all the work for you. Shop our slideshow, then apply your product of choice twice a day, right after cleansing, Dr. Beer says. “You want to put on your active ingredients first,” he says, since emollients like creams and oils form a barrier on skin, preventing anything applied on top to penetrate the skin. “Wait 15 or 20 minutes, then apply your moisturizers.” The most important step in this regimen, however, is sunscreen. Lightening and brightening products can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays, making it incredibly important to layer on broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher every day. Dr. Beer recommends Elta MD's line of sunscreens to his clients.