2019 Reviews – Treatments for Skin Discoloration (aka. Dark Spots)

Hyperpigmentation is a condition in which there is an excess of melanin present in the skin. Melanin protects us from the sun, but in some people there can be an excess of this present.  People often resort to hyperpigmentation creams because these can do wonders for your skin without harming it. How? A good hyperpigmentation cream has natural ingredients which can eventually lighten and fade the patch or patches and eventually make your skin an even tone. Apart from hydroquinone, there are also other ingredients such as glycolic acid and  vitamin C which are present. Obviously, the cream would take time and you will need to apply it continuously for about 3 months if you really want to see results.

Skin blemishes are one of the biggest skin-related issues out there, and it seems like almost everyone struggles with them. In fact, the problem is so widespread that the issue alone has spurred a product boom in the skincare industry.

Unfortunately, there are dozens of skincare brands on the market that make false promises and fill products with potentially unhealthy and ineffective additives.1,2

This is why our staff of skin experts set out to pinpoint the ingredients that high-quality hyper-pigmentation removers use to support smooth, spotless, even-toned skin. The results were surprising, and we wanted to share what we learned so that you can make the best decision for your own personal skincare needs.

How exactly does hyper-pigmentation removers work?

The secret that celebrities have used (albeit through their dermatologist and master esthetician) for years to maintain spot-free bright healthy skin has been the gentle exfoliating power of glycolic acid. Glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid and is used to stimulate new collagen growth. It also works to exfoliate and shed dead skin cells by scrubbing the top layer of the skin. Glycolic acid can also help reduce oil on the surface of the skin. Discolored or brown spots on the skin, which can occur due to aging or sun exposure, can sometimes be covered with cosmetics.

High-quality ingredients typically contain a combination of glycolic  acid,  hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and vitamin E. These ingredients work together to maintain smoothness, promote hydration, and help brighten your overall complexion to make your skin look youthful and flawless.

Ingredients to look for:

  • Glycolic Acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Peptides
  • Aloe Vera
  • Allantoin

Beware of Additives:

  • Hydroquinone
  • Sulfates 
  • Synthetic Dyes and Fragrances
  • Mineral oils 
  • Formaldehyde Releasers
  • Paraben

The Dangers of Hydroquinone

This effective skin lightener does effectively and quickly fade dark spots, but it  can actually be more harmful than helpful. In fact, hydroquinone is banned and illegal in every country except the U.S. due to an increased risk of Cancer, problems of the adrenal glands, and can cause the skin to turn blue-black; a condition called Ochronosis.

What to look for in a hyper-pigmentation removers and brightener with the ingredients listed above is important, but there are some other factors we recommend considering as you shop:  

Transparent list of ingredients 

Many popular skin discoloration removers on the market fail to list all of their ingredients on their labels. This means that you might be using a product with potentially harmful or unwanted chemicals. Look for a brand that isn’t afraid to list all of its active ingredients clearly on both its product label and its website. 

Quality moisturizers 

Properly hydrated skin is key to a clear, even tone. Studies suggest that hydration helps maintain the skin’s barrier and promote regular melanin production. To get the best bang for your buck, look for a spot corrector that doesn’t just help brighten your complexion, but helps moisturizes skin, too.3

Money-back guarantee 

Americans spend millions of dollars every year for youthful skin, and they still find themselves unhappy with an apparent lack of results. It’s better—and safer—to invest in a product that offers a 100% money-back, no-questions-asked guarantee to show the company’s faith in the potency of its product.

Exceptional reviews

It’s essential to review customer feedback from multiple places. Try asking friends and family for their input, and then check reviews from online marketplaces. The best products usually have overwhelmingly positive reviews  on multiple platforms.M

Our unique ranking system

Our skin care addicted staff employ a comprehensive evaluation system to analyze and measure the full value of products, by looking at the ingredients, safety, projected effectiveness, return policies, and overall customer satisfaction. 

In addition to ranking products, we also collect research from the latest studies and clinical trials. We offer a clear-cut system that covers the most important criteria, and takes into account the experienced personal reviews of our valued Smarter Shoppers. We’ve taken the guesswork out of the process, so you can shop smart, and save on time and money.

The 5 Best Skin Discoloration Removers On The Market

Based on our own extensive research, the metrics provided by our Smarter Reviews Ranking System, and consideration of numerous reviews by Smarter Shoppers just like you, we’ve compiled a list of what we’ve found to be the top five products to help promote the appearance of flawless, smooth, even-toned skin.





Ingredient safety 95%
Projected Effectiveness 97%
Value 100%
Return Policy 95%
Customer Satisfaction 97%


  • Natural nutrients that help hydrate dry skin
  • Clear list of ingredients
  • Noticeable results
  • Glycolic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin E,  for youthful skin
  • No sulfates, fillers, or synthetic components
  • 90-day, risk-free, money-back guarantee
  • Value kit (for all 4 items) $59.95 


  • New on the market
  • The Bottom Line

The Peel On-the-Go Kit  by pH Beautiful ranks #1 on our exclusive list of top five skin discoloration erasers by gently and safely removing the top dead skin layer to reveal regenerated new skin.  The value kit includes:

  •  Rejuvenist 10% Glycolic Acid Night Cream
  • Ultimate AHA
  • 2% Glycolic Acid Cleanser
  • Balancing Toner
  • Cellular Rejuvenation Day Cream

This skin discoloration kit delivers a potent and effective solution to getting rid of dead skin as it both help maintain hydration and support an even-toned complexion. 

  • Glycolic Acid – gently peels the top dead layers of skin to allow new regenerating skin surface. Promote collagen production lightens existing and prevents future hyper-pigmentation.
  • Hyaluronic Acid – unique ability to hold in moisture (1000 ml of water per gram of hyaluronic acid)
  • Vitamin C – an antioxidant that promotes an even skin tone.
  • Aloe Vera – helps heal wounds 

 pH Beautiful’s risk-free return policy includes a 90-day, no-questions-asked guarantee. It may not be needed, however, as the effectiveness of the product earned a top score. The Peel On-the-Go kit by pH Beautiful is by far our #1 top pick. 

*Results are based on our Staff’s Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more informatio

2. Advanced Pigment Corrector





Ingredient safety 89%
Projected Effectiveness 94%
Value 88%
Return Policy 90%
Customer Satisfaction 95%


  • Formulated for all  skin types
  • Noticeable results
  • Free from all harsh chemicals like parabens, steroids & dye
  • Fragrance-free & Non-Comedogenic
  • Great return policy and customer service


  • Customers had  to make multiple purchases to see results
  • Expensive for the amount of product  you receive
  • Contains few natural ingredients for skin
  • Inconsistent review
The Bottom Line

Advanced Pigment Corrector works best on skin discoloration due to sun damage, hormonal imbalance and natural aging process. The active technology present in this product exfoliates the skin and reduces the appearance of discoloration on your skin.

  • 3% Salicylic Acid: This ingredient acts as an exfoliating agent which helps in eliminating dull & discolored cells
  • 1% Hydroxyphenoxy Propionic Acid: A hydroquinone alternative which is nontoxic and works well in eliminating all signs of skin discoloration and uneven skin tone
  • 5% Ellagic Acid: Improve your skin texture after the look of skin discoloration.

It has been tested across all the skin tones.

SkinCeuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector, 1.00 Fluid Ounce landed in the #2 spot.*

*Results are based on our Staff’s Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.





Ingredient safety 70%
Projected Effectiveness 91%
Value 81%
Return Policy 80%
Customer Satisfaction 87%


  • Fast results


  • Contains hydroquinone
  • Formulated with other synthetic additives
  • Reviewers complain about pungent smell
  • Not suitable for sensitive skin
  • Not all ingredients are listed
  • Inconsistent review
  • No money back guarantee
The Bottom Line

PCA Skin Pigment Gel is really a useful product which helps in correcting hyperpigmentation. PCA Skin Pigment Gel comes with 2% hydroquinone which is an active ingredient which plays a major role in correcting hyperpigmentation, dark spots, age spots, and melasma. This makes your skin tone evener. The active ingredients hydroquinone though effective in brightening the skin, it is controversial.

  • Hydroquinone – lightens existing and prevents future hyperpigmentation.
  • Azelaic acid – helps promote a clear complexion and an even skin tone.
  • Phenylethyl resorcinol – an antioxidant that promotes an even skin tone.
  • Kojic acid – helps promote an even skin tone

For those reasons, PCA Skin Pigment Gel landed in the #3 spot.*

*Results are based on our Staff’s Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.





Ingredient safety 70%
Projected Effectiveness 91%
Value 85%
Return Policy 90%
Customer Satisfaction 86%


  • Fast results
  • Good return policy


  • Contains hydroquinone
  • Formulated with other synthetic additives
  • Sticky texture
The Bottom Line

While Murad’s Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum is popular among our Smarter Shoppers, it does contain hydroquinone, a potentially unsafe ingredient. We ultimately decided to include Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum on our list because it’s a potent formula that may act faster than others, but at a possible price to your skin’s health. Our Smarter Shoppers also felt that this was a relatively more cost-effective item, so buyers on a budget might be willing to take the chance. Despite its active ingredient, we decided to take our Smarter Shoppers word for it and put Murad’s Rapid Age Spot Pigment Lightening Serum in the 4th spot on our list.*

*Results are based on our Staff’s Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.





Ingredient safety 83%
Projected Effectiveness 84%
Value 84%
Return Policy 78%
Customer Satisfaction 81%


  • Oil-free
  • Formulated without fragrance, parabens and phthalates


  • Doesn’t contain ingredients that can help block melanin
  • Expensive for the amount of product you receive
  • Uncomfortable texture
The Bottom Line

We put Even Better Clinical™ Dark Spot Corrector at #5 on our list of top five spot correctors. This serum is oil-free and contains natural, high-quality ingredients, but few of these additives have been shown to effectively produce the flawless results our shoppers are looking for. This was also another product that cost a lot for the amount, and some customers complained about its texture, that is not suitable for oily skin and those with sensitive skin. Compared to the other products we reviewed, however, the Even Better Clinical™ Dark Spot Corrector definitely deserves to round out our list at a solid #5.*

*Results are based on our Staff’s Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information