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Dark Spots No More: How to Prevent, Conceal, and Completely Remove Pesky Blemishes

Dark spots are some of the peskiest little imperfections that skincare enthusiasts spend serious time and money to try to get rid of. There are different types of dark spots and varying causes, but in order to get rid of them, you need to be extremely patient and consistent with your skincare routine. Even though they can be embarrassing and annoying, there is hope, and we’ve found the best products to help rid your skin of dark spots once and for all.

Whether you have an acne scar, sunspot, general hyperpigmentation, or even melasma, the most important thing to remember is sun protection. Hopefully, you remembered to apply sunscreen daily this summer, but don’t get lazy now that it’s cooler out. Sunscreen is a must throughout the fall and winter, especially if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow (hello snow glare!).

Hyperpigmentation is easier to deal with than melasma, so it’s important to figure out what you’re dealing with before investing in a pricey brightening serum. Hyperpigmentation occurs when melanin deposits in certain areas on the skin, and can occur when you scar or get too much sun. Melasma, on the other hand, occurs from hormonal changes, so pregnant women or those on birth control are among the most affected. It can cause a mask-like appearance and can be much harder to get rid of. For effective melasma removal, you may need to visit an esthetician for microdermabrasion or another procedure that requires the expertise of a trained professional.

EltaMD is a favorite of product junkies, dermatologists, and anyone who cares about a quality sunscreen, so it’s a great first step in hyperpigmentation prevention. This lightweight sunscreen will protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays while hydrating it with hyaluronic and lactic acid. This particular bottle is made for those prone to acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation, and it won’t feel greasy or clog your pores. If you don’t think your dark spots are bad enough to warrant a brightening serum, at the very least add this sunscreen to your morning routine-even on cloudy days!

If your hyperpigmentation is seriously killing your self-esteem (we’ve all been there), this fast-acting brightening serum could be the answer to your prayers. Sunday Riley’s hit serum uses a form of vitamin C called tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate which is lipid soluble so it rapidly penetrates the skin. Fans of the product love how quickly it brightens their skin and promotes an overall healthy glow.

PSA to anyone with acne: do not pick at your face! Of course, this is easier said than done, but popping a zit will only make things worse in the long run as it can lead to serious scarring. Even when we don’t succumb to the temptation of picking at pimples, they can still leave dark spots behind, so this post-acne lightening serum is a great choice for anyone with acne. This popular product from Murad uses hydroquinone to fight the discoloration left behind from blemishes and contains other ingredients that will prevent future breakouts, like willow bark and tea tree leaf extract.

Friends, vitamin C is so good for your skin, but it ain’t cheap. You get what you pay for, so if you have a dull complexion that needs some brightening, look no further than Blue Mercury for this amazing vitamin C serum. This can be used on all skin types, but from personal experience, I can vouch for this product when it comes to getting rid of dark spots. Use it morning or night (with sunscreen!) and be prepared to look seriously radiant, and say goodbye to those fading dark spots.

You don’t have to break the bank to treat those annoying dark spots! This serum from Burt’s Bees will treat any sunspot or post-acne mark for only 20 bucks. The formula contains daisy extract, which has been known to be a natural skin-brightening agent. It’s effective, it’s cheap, and it’s sustainably-sourced, so it’s a great guilt-free choice.

Where to even begin, these little pre-soaked sheets of goodness will completely change your skin’s texture and complexion, while eradicating even the worst dark spot. The Dr. Dennis Gross peels aren’t specifically for brightening, but it’s just one of the many results of this amazing product. The product comes with two sheets, the first is soaked with exfoliating acids, while the second has nourishing ingredients. These can be a little harsh on sensitive skin so you may need to save them just a few nights a week. They’re also perfect for traveling or when you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to do your whole routine, which may happen more than we’d like to admit.

No, this isn’t a serum that will fade those dark spots, but it can temporarily hide them! Sometimes foundation and concealer don’t do enough to hide your hyperpigmentation or melasma, so a peachy color corrector is key. With concealer alone, dark spots can look gray while peach cuts out the dark tone creating a smooth canvas for the rest of your makeup. Add this to your makeup bag while you wait for your brightening serum to start making a noticeable difference, you will be so glad you did.

by Clare Saxton
cover photo of Jorja Smith via Instagram