This Drugstore Face Cream Can Actually Visibly Fade Dark Spots

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Also called sun spots, age spots, or hyperpigmentation, dark spots can pop up on your face, hands and décolletage as a result of sun exposure, genetics, hormones, and inflammation, says Howard Murad, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of Murad Skincare. If you’ve noticed freckle-like spots after a day at the beach or week-long vacation, these are sunspots or post-acne marks darkened by UV exposure, he explains. But they can also be age spots or melasma, which often occurs with pregnancy. Instead of just covering them with concealer, shop for dark spot correctors that can help fade hyperpigmentation for good.

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The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab scientists evaluate hundreds of skincare products every year, including ones that claim to correct dark spots, from night creams to at-home peels. GH Beauty Lab scientists conduct rigorous clinical testing, recruiting women of all ages and skin types to assess the products’ results after at home use. In the Lab, their skin is scanned with the Visia Complexion Analyzer machine to measure changes in the size and count of dark spots, plus pores, skin texture, and lines and wrinkles before and after weeks of use.

When shopping for dark spot correcting treatments, our experts suggest look for terms like “brightening” and “skin tone-evening” on the packaging. You should also look for products with ingredients like vitamin C (an antioxidant that brightens skin), niacinamide (vitamin B3, which slows pigment production), or hydroquinone (which inhibits an enzyme that produces melanin).

Here, the best dark spot corrector products on the market that really work to fade and remove dark spots on the face, as tested by the GH Beauty Lab, including treatments and creams for face, body, acne, and drugstore buys:

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Best Overall Dark Spot Corrector Treatment

Smart Custom-Repair Serum

Clinique
sephora.com

$62.00

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A winner of the GH Beauty Lab’s anti-aging serum test, this Clinique treatment was the best at reducing brown spots and shrinking pores in Lab evaluations. Consumer testers also rated it high for having a nice texture (not too thick or greasy), absorbing quickly, and brightening and evening skin tone. The formula with vitamin C and soy reduced dark spots by 7% in four weeks, according to calculations with the Visia Complex Analyzer. “This serum has made my skin much less red and has helped to fade some discoloration,” a tester reported.

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Best Value Dark Spot Corrector

Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Moisturizer with SPF 30

L’Oréal Paris
amazon.com

This drugstore moisturizer is formulated with anti-aging powerhouses like vitamin C, pro-retinol, and glycolic acid. It was a winner of the GH Beauty Lab’s day cream test, proving the best at improving UV spots (by 11.2%) in the Lab’s clinical study and testers agreed — they rated it top at perfecting skin tone. All for a bargain price!

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  • Visibly reduces dark spots
  • Contains SPF
  • Affordable and available at drugstores
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Best Fragrance-Free Dark Spot Corrector

Regenerist Max Tone Serum with Vitamin C

Backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal, Olay’s serum is supercharged with high levels of skin tone-evening vitamin C and free of fragrance for those with sensitivities. In a split-face study, imaging analysis showed significant improvement in spots and evenness in skin tone and color starting after two weeks of use, GH Beauty Lab data analysis found.

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  • Potent levels of vitamin C
  • Markedly improves dark spots and evens skin tone
  • Fragrance-free
  • Good value
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Best Dark Spot Corrector for Darker Skin Tones

Universal C Skin Refiner

BeautyStat
skinstore.com

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$80.00

Created by cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson, this multi-benefit serum from BeautyStat contains a high 20% concentration of the gold standard brightening ingredient vitamin C, especially beneficial for dark skin tones that are prone to hyperpigmentation. “Helps combat dark spots, breakouts, signs of aging,” a Skinstore reviewer reported. “It’s a miracle product that truly tackles it all.”

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  • High concentration of brightening vitamin C
  • Targets hyperpigmentation on dark skin
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Best Acne Dark Spot Corrector

ZitSticka HyperFade Microdart Blur Patch for Dark Spots

ZitSticka
ulta.com

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$34.00

These innovative ZitSticka patches, infused with brightening ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin C, and kojic acid, pinpoint and tackle dark marks from acne. “They work really well for hyperpigmentation after acne, and I like how targeted they are, so you can ensure they’re working on the area you want them to,” says GH beauty assistant Katie Berohn. 

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  • Formulated for dark spots from breakouts
  • Targets individual spots
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Best Dark Spot Corrector for Body

Blue Algae Vitamin C Dark Spot Correcting Peel

Algenist
sephora.com

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$85.00

Pamper your face and body skin plus reduce dark spots at the same time with this Algenist peel, a potent blend of acids (glycolic, mandelic, citric, azelaic, malic, salicylic) and vitamin C, balanced by botanical oils. The formula can be used below the chin, on the neck and chest area. “After I tried this peel, my skin was noticeably brighter and more even,” Berohn says. “It’s a great treatment feels like you’re going to a spa.”

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  • High levels of active ingredients
  • Fast results
  • Can be used on the body
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Best Dark Spot Corrector Cream

Anew Ultimate Multi-Performance Night Cream

Avon’s cream with high levels of glycolic acid showed stellar performance in GH Beauty Lab testing, earning a perfect score for helping reduce the appearance of UV spots, by an impressive 12%, plus top rankings for improving skin firmness and hydration. Good to know: If you’re sensitive to fragrance, a few testers noted that the scent was strong.

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  • Measurably reduces dark spots
  • Effectively firms and hydrates skin
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Best Dark Spot Corrector with SPF

Multi Correxion 5 in 1 Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30

This all-in-one daily moisturizer from Roc was the consumer favorite in the GH Beauty Lab’s anti-aging day cream test and scored high for reducing visible spots over four weeks in Lab measurements. Testers gave it the best marks for softening, firming, and reducing wrinkles, and a few said it was perfect for wearing under makeup. “It left my skin feeling plump and looking
smooth and glowing,” one said.

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  • Visibly minimizes dark spots
  • Multiple anti-aging benefits
  • Contains SPF
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Best Dark Spot Corrector Night Cream

Overnight Restorative Cream

Algenist
sephora.com

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$94.00

A standout night cream in the GH Beauty Lab’s test, Algenist was the best at improving the look of UV spots (by 10.5%!) in calculations with the Lab’s Visia Complexion Analyzer device. It also earned the highest moisturization scores from consumers and boosted skin’s hydration by 33% over six hours in Corneometer machine measurements. One tester said that the formula “really is removing my dark spots.”

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  • Effectively reduces dark spots
  • Highly moisturizing
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Best Targeted Dark Spot Corrector

Laboratories Dark Spot Correcting Booster Serum

Zero in on stubborn dark spots on the face with this concentrated vitamin C treatment from No7, a Good Housekeeping Seal star. After just two weeks of use, 66% of users reported their age spots, dark spots, or other areas of pigmentation were visibly reduced, and 72% said their skin tone was more even after four weeks, according to GH Beauty Lab data evaluation.

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  • Precise applicator to target spots
  • Visibly reduces dark spots
  • Evens skin tone
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Best Anti-Aging Dark Spot Corrector

Metacell Renewal B3 Serum

SkinCeuticals
dermstore.com

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$112.00

Treat dark spots on the face with this serum from dermatologist-recommended brand Skinceuticals, a winner of the GH Beauty Lab’s anti-aging serum test. Not only was it the best at reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles according in Lab evaluations, at-home testers raved that it was the best at firming skin and a great skin brightener. It’s formulated with 5% niacinamide, which Beauty Lab chemists say has been shown to brighten skin, improving hyperpigmentation.  

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  • Brightens skin and hyperpigmentation
  • High levels of active ingredients
  • Reduces wrinkles and firms skin
12

Best Hydroquinone Dark Spot Corrector

Skin Success Anti-Dark Spot Fade Cream

Palmer’s
walmart.com

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$5.64

Made with potent 2% spot-fading hydroquinone, retinol, and vitamin C, this Palmer’s cream is the best-selling dark spot corrector at Walmart. “I have been using this product for years— it is the best dark spot fade cream I have ever used,” a reviewer raved. “Most of my dark spots have completely faded.”

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  • Contains multiple effective active ingredients
  • Bargain-priced
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Best Natural Dark Spot Corrector

Deep Wrinkle Plumping + Age Spot Concentrate

Korres
sephora.com

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$78.00

Combining botanicals with science-backed skin benefits, like white pine, artichoke and black oat extracts, this creamy GH Beauty Award-winning Korres serum effectively brightens, plus minimizes pores. After 28 days of twice daily use, 93% of women agreed the formula visibly brightened skin, and in clinical assessment after four weeks, 100% showed improvement in the look of pores, GH Beauty Lab data evaluation found.

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  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Brightens skin tone
  • Minimizes pores
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Best Lightweight Dark Spot Corrector

TimeWise Tone-Correcting Serum

Mary Kay
marykay.com

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$45.00

Even out spotted skin by applying this Good Housekeeping Seal star Mary Kay serum daily. GH Beauty Lab evaluations confirmed that 95% of women reported improvement in pigmentation and spot size after 12 weeks of use. Testers also appreciated that it was fragrance-free and lightweight. and our Lab chemists like that it’s non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog pores.

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  • Reduces dark spot size
  • Lightweight formula
  • Fragrance-free and noncomedogenic
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Best Dark Spot Corrector Peel

Rapid Reveal Peel

Dermalogica
dermstore.com

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$85.00

Dermalogica’s professional-level lactic acid peel was the best at  brightening skin the GH Beauty Lab’s face peel test. 100% of testers agreed that it brightened their skin, improved skin tone, and left it looking smoother, and all reported they’d use it again. It also performed impressively at boosting skin’s radiance

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  • Effectively brightens skin tone
  • Smooths skin
  • Tester favorite
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Best Dark Spot Corrector for Glowing Skin

Early Defence Glow Activating Serum

At just $25, this No7 serum rivals many of its much more expensive competitors. It’s packed with vitamin C to help boost skin renewal for a smoother, brighter complexion. No7 products are consistent strong performers in GH Beauty Lab testing and this one is also backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal!

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  • Affordably-priced
  • Brightens skin
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Best Exfoliating Dark Spot Corrector

Cellular 3-Minute Peel

La Prairie
nordstrom.com

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$250.00

A GH Beauty Lab face peel test winner, La Prairie’s fast-acting formula with a potent blend of lactic, glycolic, and salicylic acids is splurge-worthy. It scored highest in Lab digital imaging evaluations for improving radiance and earned some of the highest scores for brightening skin. “My skin looked brighter as soon as I washed it off — my family even noticed!” one revealed.

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  • Noticeably smooths, brightens, and boosts radiance
  • Luxurious formula and packaging
18

Best Dark Spot Correcting Moisturizer

Luminous Whip Face Moisturizer

A Good Housekeeping Seal star, this cloud-like moisturizer from Olay contains 5% niacinamide for brightening and antioxidant green tea. The formula quickly soaks into skin, increases skin radiance through an eight-hour day and fades and shrinks dark spots and pores over time, GH Beauty Lab data confirmed.

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  • Brightens and boost radiance all over
  • Fades and shrinks dark spots
  • Fast-absorbing
  • Affordable
19

Best Brightening Dark Spot Corrector

The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel

Philosophy
sephora.com

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$70.00

In the GH Beauty Lab’s face peel test, Philosophy’s individually-packed pads earned the top score for brightening skin according to consumer testers and came in second for evening skin tone. Great for use before a special event, a few testers found their skin glowing for days after application. “After each use, my skin looked brighter for two days,” one said. “It also felt softer and smoother.”

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  • Effectively brightens skin
  • Evens skin tone
  • Boosts radiance
  • Visible effects for days
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Best Dark Spot Corrector with Retinol

Retinol Correxion Max Daily Hydration Crème

Testers saw results after only one week of using this Good Housekeeping Seal star cream from Roc. It’s packed with retinol, a potent ingredient that boosts skin’s collagen production to minimize fine lines, speeds up cell turnover to reduce dark spots, and helps unclog pores. Start by adding it to your routine every other night (retinol can be irritating at first), and always wear SPF to protect skin.

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  • Contains retinol
  • Reduces lines and dark spots
  • Affordable
21

Best Dark Spot Corrector Peel Pads

RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Peel Pads

L’Oréal Paris
walmart.com

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$31.82

No rinsing (or effort!) required with these L’Oréal Paris glycolic acid peel pads, a winner of the GH Beauty Lab’s face peel test — they’re presoaked with treatment ingredients, affordable, and mild enough to use nightly. Nearly every tester raved about how convenient and simple they are to use and 71% said they brightened skin.

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  • Easy to use
  • Brightens skin
  • Bargain-priced
22

Best Dark Spot Corrector for Wrinkles

Anti-Wrinkle Deep Wrinkle Daily Moisturizer SPF 20

Neutrogena
walmart.com

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$15.47

Packed with anti-aging ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid and a vitamin C variant, Neutrogena’s GH Beauty Award-winning formula is a proven dark spot reducer and line minimizer. In 12 weeks of use, 89% of women saw visible fading of age spots and 97% saw a reduction in the look of fine lines, GH Beauty Lab clinical data assessment confirmed.

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  • Fades age spots
  • Minimizes fine lines
  • Value-priced
23

Best Instant Dark Spot Corrector

Papaya & Vitamin C Brighter Days Ahead Moisturizer

SheaMoisture
walmart.com

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$9.97

Give skin instant radiance and blur dark spots with this moisturizer from SheaMoisture, made with illuminating minerals and vitamin C. “The moisturizer makes your skin really glow,” a Walmart reviewer raved. “You will always look healthy and pretty with this.” 

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  • Immediate blurring effect
  • Great value
  • May be too shimmery for some

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