You Asked, We Answered: How To Fight Dark Spots

There's a handful of beauty questions that I can count on to come up time and time again, and this one from Adedoyin O. is at the top of the list: “I have dark skin, but my skin tone is very uneven with loads of little dark spots on my face. What can I do to have even skin tone?”
Adedoyin, if you really want to treat the issue and not just cover it up, my advice is to be really, really patient. It can take several weeks for over-the-counter brightening products to work and you must apply them religiously. But, before you invest in anything at the drugstore or makeup counter, consider going to a dermatologist. A doctor can prescribe stronger creams that’ll work faster, or she may decide to tackle your spots with laser treatments or chemical peels. If you can’t go to a pro, here are a few remedies to try at home.
Web02Obaji Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $46, available at
Whether your skin is fair, medium, or dark, the sun’s rays cause discoloration and makes existing dark spots even worse. Slather on SPF daily, otherwise you might as well flush your dark spot treatments — and your money — down the toilet. I’m always on the hunt for good sunscreens that won’t make my face greasy or leave behind an ugly, chalky cast. The new one from Obaji doesn’t disappoint.
Web03Bioelements Light Plex GigaWatt Dark Spot Corrector, $52, available in September at Bioelements.
Brightening Serum
I know from listening to my acne-prone sister’s complaints that many so-called lightening treatments out there just don’t work. Make sure to choose a product that contains effective skin brighteners like kojic acid, vitamin C, and retinol. There’s also an impressive new product launching soon from Bioelements, a brand that’s been used by spa estheticians for years.
The new serum minimizes dark spots without the irritation that can come from harsher bleaching ingredients like hydroquinone. You won’t see magical results overnight, but dab it on twice a day and you could notice improvement in less than four weeks.
Web04Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel, $78, available at
Facial Peel
Compared to monthly microdermabrasion sessions at a spa, these pads are a bargain. They’re made with alpha and beta hydroxy acids to slough off skin cells. Plus, they have a mix of skin-tone-evening and wrinkle-fighting ingredients — score! It’s a two-step process: Rub one towelette all over your face, wait two minutes, then apply the second wipe. Moisturize as usual.
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