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Having dark spots on your face is a common rite of passage through various stages of life. Turning 13? You get acne scars. Turning 50? Congratulations, melasma may be in your future. Somewhere in between? Random dark spots live rent-free on your skin. But worry not, these don’t have to ruin your selfies (it’s okay, you’re human!) and if you want, you can get rid of them using targeted ingredients.

Causes of Dark Spots on Your Face

"Dark spot” is such a generic term. But to be clear, we’re not talking about moles here. Dark spots are caused by overexposure to , , hormonal changes from , or from external factors like skincare products. Certain medications can also cause skin discoloration.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a new spot that’s only a few shades darker than your skin color should fade naturally within six to 12 months, while deep gray or blueish spots could take years. To speed the process up, you’ll need a little help from active ingredients that fade dark spots.

Ingredients for Addressing Dark Spots on Your Face

Tackling dark spots can be a frustrating process. It takes a lot of patience to stick to a routine without seeing any results. It also takes an understanding of your skin and how it responds to treatment.

Choosing your dark spot fighter involves consulting a dermatologist, following their advised routine, and sticking to it for the recommended length of time. The following ingredients are known to address hyperpigmentation but not all of them will work. Some would be irritating; others may be too mild. If your skin reacts, tell your doctor immediately.

1. Hydroquinone can minimize hyperpigmentation.

Hydroquinone is an effective treatment for melasma, age spots, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It works by inhibiting the synthesis of melanin, which gives skin its natural pigment. A notes that people using hydroquinone should avoid or medications that cause photosensitivity. It's also not suitable for breastfeeding moms.

2. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) even out the skin tone.

like acid and lactic acid are go-to ingredients for brightening dark spots and uneven skin tone. AHAs are also humectants, which means they bind and attract water to the skin. This function allows it to fight visible , including roughness, dryness, and sagging.

3. Vitamin C brightens skin from within.

is a super antioxidant that and brightens the skin’s appearance. Applying it on your skin during the day also helps limit damage from . However, it can be irritating on sensitive skin, so start with a low-concentration product to test your tolerance.

4. Niacinamide is an all-around brightener and skin refiner.

Everyone’s favorite ingredient, , is a multitasker and overachiever. It’s soothing, hydrating, pore-refining, and anti-aging. However, it’s most known for its ability to treat dark spots and brighten the skin. A shows that 4% niacinamide is well-tolerated and effective for most patients. It is milder than hydroquinone and has little to no side effects. 

During the day, use POND'S UV Bright Sunscreen to protect yourself from sun damage and brighten your skin with gluta-niacinamide. It fades dark spots in three days and repairs the skin.

At night, pat on a drop of POND'S NEW YORK Bright Brilliance Night Serum Essence Niacinamide. It uses niacinamide and ACTIENCE to accelerate nighttime renewal and fade dark spots while you sleep.

6. Retinoids aid in skin renewal.

Retinoids, which include , retinal, and retinyl, are -derived skincare products that can help even out the skin tone, treat mild acne, and make the skin plumper by stimulating collagen production. As many retinoid users know, high concentrations can lead to breakouts, peeling, redness, and other signs of skin irritation. While they are effective at removing dark spots, consult your doctor before trying them out.

7. Kojic acid fades age spots and sun damage.

Kojic acid is a popular ingredient for getting rid of hyperpigmentation, including age spots, scars, and those caused by sun damage. Skincare products containing kojic acid are safe, but the ingredient should never be used in . It also lightens the skin, so skip this one if you’re and want to keep your bronzed glow.

Your dermatologist can give you the best advice on addressing dark spots on your face. While the right ingredients are essential, there’s also your skin type and tolerance to consider. You’ll also need to stick to the treatment before seeing results – not to mention wear SPF religiously to avoid wasting your efforts.