Here’s how to remove dark spots on your face, hands and body with these tried-and-tested dark spot correctors and serums
Dark spots – known as sun spots, age spots, or hyperpigmentation – can plague your skin for various reasons and many of us turn to concealer in a bid to make them disappear. Yet, you may be better off choosing a dark spot corrector.
The best dark spot correctors use a selection of ingredients to block the different causes of pigmentation while inhibiting the enzymes that create melanin and lead to pigmentation. You can read more about what causes dark spots and how to get rid of age spots here.
Dark spots on the face, hands and body appear for a variety of reasons. These include:
The wide range of dark spot causes makes choosing the best dark spot corrector for you and your skin tricky. What’s more, if your dark spots are caused by genetics, in particular, a dark spot remover may not work as well as it would on spots caused by the sun.
However, before you decide on which dark spot remover best suits you and your face, we’re going to stress (again) how important it is to use SPF. Every day. Even in winter. This becomes even more crucial if you use a dark spot corrector that exfoliates the skin, and makes it more sensitive to the sun.
The ingredients to look out for in a dark spot remover/corrector include:
Also, it’s worth noting that unless you go to a dermatologist don’t expect results overnight with any dark spot remover. Once it starts to make a difference, the changes are permanent so it’s worth the wait. It just means you may need some patience! It also means that it’s worth investing in a good remover to get the best ultimate results (and not waste your time…)
Below, we’ve handpicked what we consider to be the most effective correctors for getting rid of dark spots, and hopefully, there’s something here for every budget.
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£48 | Buy now
Why we love it: OK, so it’s slightly more of Luxury Buy than a high-street bargain, but there’s a reason the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiant Serum is our Editor’s pick.
Not only is it the number one anti-dark-spot product in French pharmacies, but it’s also a global bestseller – with one sold every 30 seconds. In fact, it’s been a bestseller for the past 15 years, since it first launched, and this classic oil-free serum helps to brighten skin, improve the appearance of dark spots, and evens out skin tone, unlike any other product we’ve used.
Caudalie’s cult serum is enriched with Viniferine, which is said to be 62 times more effective than Vitamin C in correcting dark spots and boosting radiance.
Its natural brightening ingredients are also non-irritating and free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates (read more in our guide to clean beauty), making it perfect for those even with sensitive skin. We love it, and we know you will too.
£8.60| Buy now from Boots
Why we love it: Chemistry-led, high-street (and mamabella) favourite, The Ordinary continues to take the beauty industry by storm with this winning formula.
Fantastic for all types of hyperpigmentation, The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA does feel slightly sticky on the skin because of the hyaluronic acid, so we recommend only using a few drops before bed for best results.
This product contains 2% alpha-arbutin, which is a higher concentration than the standard 1% used by other brands.
For anyone who is really on a budget, this is the only product you need, with visible lightening of hyperpigmentation patches over a matter of weeks.
Disclaimer, if you have very sensitive skin this dark spot remover can cause irritation and cause breakouts so it’s worth introducing to your routine gradually.
£99 | Buy now
Why we love it: This is one of the most pricey recommendations we’ve ever made in our Best Buys lists, but we stand by it. As you can guess by this dark spot corrector’s name, it produces professional-grade results. Plus, because it’s concentrated, you only need a tiny amount.
This means that it lasts a lot longer than you might think. We’re not saying this makes it great value for money but it’s not quite as expensive and extortionate as first appears.
The Professional Grade IPL Dark Spot Concentrated Serum is great at lightening sun spots, age spots, and any dark patches on your skin in a matter of weeks thanks to it being formulated with 10% L-ascorbic acid, lactic acid, kojic acid, and arbutin.
Its formula removes over-pigmented surface cells, clears and illuminates skin tone, and fights against environmental aggressors. In a clinical study, 80% agreed that their skin tone looked more even and 88% agreed that their dark spots and sunspots had faded.
If we had one criticism – other than its high price – this dark spot corrector smells remarkably like soy sauce…and looks like it too!
FURTHER READING: Lactic acid for skin: What is lactic acid and what does it do?
£19 | Buy now
Why we love it: This is the second entry in our best dark spot corrector list for the Dr. Dennis Gross brand. This goes to show just how good the brand is.
These Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel Pads are by far the gentlest peel pads we’ve tried. They contain a combination of lactic and mandelic acid. This combination not only creates an even-looking glow, but it also reduces the appearance of scarring, pores and it lightens dark spots over time.
This is the only peel on the market to combine five alpha and beta-hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs) with potent, wrinkle-fighting antioxidants, to smooth, refine and protect the complexion. For best results, we recommend using them two to three times a week and it is available in five, 30 or 60 packages.
£29 | Buy now
Why we love it: Fantastic for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, Greek beauty brand Korres focuses on using natural ingredients and homeopathic remedies.
Its Wild Rose 24-hour Moisturising & Brightening cream is, as the name suggests, a highly moisturising and brightening cream. It contains 96.8% natural ingredients and is enriched with wild rose oil, leaving skin feeling extremely soft and smooth.
High in Vitamin C, this product works to correct pigmentation while making the skin visibly brighter.
It’s fragrance-free, relatively well-priced, and suitable for vegans. It’s also the best dark spot corrector for anyone with sensitive skin. This is because it doesn’t contain any harsh ingredients or high potency AHAs.
The downside to this is that it can take a little longer for pigmentations to fade – but we think it’s worth the wait.
£25 | Buy now
When applied to the skin it does tingle, however, it’s still gentle enough to use every day.
Its sugary lemon scent is refreshing and after a few weeks, the skin appears brighter and smoother.
We wouldn’t recommend using this product alone on dark spots or acne scars that are particularly bad, as it might take some time for results to show. However, it is a great post-inflammatory treatment to use alongside other serums and moisturisers in our best dark spot remover and corrector list. And it’s affordable, too.
FURTHER READING: What does toner do – and why is it so important?
Annie has a degree in Multimedia Journalism from Bournemouth University. Since graduating, Annie has freelanced for a travel magazine and is a senior account executive for a technology PR consultancy based in London, where her main role is content creation.