What Ingredients to Look for in a Dark Spot Corrector

Dark spots are a common skin complexity that can be difficult to correct. People develop dark spots for a number of reasons. For some, the dark spots result as a result of scarring from past acne breakouts. Others have trauma to the skin or spots from unprotected sun exposure. In any case, it’s not fun to have these spots. And it’s even less fun to not know how to deal with them.

Once you have them, it just seems like a part of your skin that’ll never go away. Fortunately, there are several skincare ingredients that can help correct dark spots. Here are seven beneficial ingredients to look for that can help address pesky skin discoloration.

1. Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is an antioxidant used in many topical skin-lightening creams. It works by blocking the enzyme that makes pigment. It interferes with melanin production, lightening and preventing hyperpigmentation. If you want to start using this powerful depigmenting agent, you’ll need a prescription hydroquinone cream. That way, you’ll get the most powerful version of this treatment.

How to use it: Apply the cream in a thin layer directly onto the affected areas of the face. Since hydroquinone can cause some irritation, it’s important to wear sunscreen while using this cream. It’s also advisable to avoid mixing it with other irritating ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, or alpha hydroxy acids.

2. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can improve the skin’s appearance by providing brightening benefits. It’s found in many skincare products and can address skin concerns like discoloration, texture, fine lines and wrinkles, and dullness. With so many benefits to offer, practically everyone can use a little vitamin C in their skincare routine. Incorporate a vitamin C serum to see how this powerful ingredient can benefit you.

How to use it: Vitamin C serum can be applied once or twice per day. Start by cleansing your skin, using a toner, and then use vitamin C serum. Finish with a good moisturizer.

3. Retinoids

Retinoids are a form of vitamin A that provide many anti-aging benefits. Retinoids work to speed up the skin renewal process, thus boosting collagen production. Whether you’re experiencing signs of aging or discoloration, this ingredient can provide amazing visible results. They act against darker brown spots on the skin by curbing the production of melanin.

How to use it: Make sure to use sunscreen while using retinoids as it can make your skin photosensitive. It’s also important to use retinoids consistently and for a long period of time. With retinoids, it can be a longer game, but the results are so worth it.

4. Kojic Acid

Kojic acid, also known as koji, is an ingredient that comes from the fermentation process of malting rice. It’s used in food, cosmetics, and skincare to change the color of substances. When used for correcting dark spots, kojic acid works to inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme that produces melanin in the skin.

How to use it: When first using kojic acid, introduce it slowly and be cautious. Start by doing a patch test to see how your skin reacts. Don’t use any other irritating products.

5. Licorice Root

Licorice root is a great natural ingredient that can help fade dark spots and tackle discoloration. It acts as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and skin-brightening agent. Licorice root stops pigment production by stopping tyrosinase activity. Since licorice root has anti-inflammatory properties, it’s great for those with sensitive skin who want a solution for dark spots.

How to use it: Licorice root is found in creams and serums. The application of this ingredient will depend on which product you choose. Make sure to read the directions carefully before applying.

6. Azelaic Acid

This powerful ingredient can correct uneven skin tone and provide a number of other skin benefits. By working to counter and neutralize free radicals that cause inflammation, it calms the skin and improves redness. For dark spots specifically, azelaic acid also inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase. This enzyme would normally cause hyperpigmentation or dark spots, so slowing down the activity prevents this from happening.

How to use it: Apply products with azelaic acid on the skin after cleansing. It can be used twice a day, but introduce it into your routine slowly. Use it only a few times per week to start to see how much your skin can tolerate.

7. Trichloroacetic Acid

Trichloroacetic acid is a colorless, sand-like solid that’s used in liquid solutions. In skincare, it works great for exfoliation purposes. This extremely powerful acid exfoliates layers of the skin off; products with higher concentrations can resurface the entire face. Typically, the use of this acid is in the form of a trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel.

How to use: Usually, TCA peels should be applied by a professional esthetician or dermatologist. If applied at home, protect areas of the face such as lips and eyes with petroleum jelly. Make sure to leave the peel on for only 3-5 minutes and wash off with cool water.

When it comes to skincare, ingredients are everything. If your products contain good ingredients, you’ll be able to address your skin concerns without an issue. It may surprise you how powerful one simple ingredient can be. Maybe that one ingredient is powerful enough to address many skin concerns. The more you know, the more you can improve your skin. And knowing a lot about skin care starts with the basics — knowing the ingredients.

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