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Age spots—otherwise known as hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and sunspots—are caused by a variety of factors. From genetics to sun exposure to aging (duh), age spots can pop up at any time, especially when uninvited. If you’re looking for a quick fix, concealer and foundation will do the trick. But, if you’re hoping to minimize or decrease the look of your spots, you’ll be in for the long game—but don’t worry, it’s worth it.
When treating age spots, most topical age spot removers are either spot treatments or overall skin-brighteners, says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shasu Hu. While spot treatments are meant to be applied only to the spots themselves, skin-brighteners are meant to be applied to the entire face. And it’s what’s in these products that make the most impact. Look for brightening ingredients like ascorbic acid (also known as vitamin C), licorice, soy, and retinoids, says Dr. Hu. Ingredients like niacinamide and turmeric target inflammation as it relates to melasma and post-acne hyperpigmentation.
Ahead, the best age spot removers on the market, now.
Best Overall: Murad Vita-C Glycolic Brightening Serum
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body, including the skin, but we cannot produce it on our own. For the skin, it helps to boost collagen, lighten discoloration, and fight free radicals.
Vitamin C is the main star of this power-packed serum. To accelerate its brightening benefits, glycolic acid works to chemically exfoliate the surface of the skin for maximum absorption. Plus, you’ll love the dual-chamber which deposits an even, fresh dose of both ingredients with every use.
Best Budget: Paula’s Choice RESIST Triple-Action Dark Spot Eraser
Lighten up discoloration with this sheer texture that doesn’t leave a tacky residue behind after application. This 7% AHA lotion, which contains glycolic acid and hydroquinone, is best used in smaller doses—reviewers recommend starting small to test the waters, then amp up dosage when you know your skin tolerates the product.
Best Spot Treatment: Peter Thomas Roth Potent C Targeted Spot Brightener
With 10% THD ascorbate—think of it as a next-level vitamin C—this formula works to eliminate dark spots and discoloration, especially those caused by acne. One reviewer, who suffers from severe acne, found that her acne marks significantly improved after a week of using this treatment.
Runner-Up, Best Spot Treatment: cocokind Turmeric Spot Treatment
Meet turmeric—a time-tested ingredient that’s known to lighten up and even out hyperpigmentation and inflammation. Shaped like a stick of lip balm, this treatment is super easy to apply—simply pop off the cap and dab onto age spots. Leave it on for a minimum of 20 minutes, then swipe off with a cotton pad or with water.
Best Serum: CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum
Help spots, scars, and more to fade away with a mix of brightening licorice root extract and soothing vitamin B3. And with encapsulated retinol, it smooths uneven skin texture and balances out the skin tone. Reviewers rave about how quickly their spots diminished with continued use—and the fact that the formula is free of parabens and fragrances.
Best Peel: Bliss Clear Genius Clarifying Liquid Peel
Don’t let the word peel scare you. Though potent, it’s also gentle—and it does wonders for your skin. An acid blend works to unclog pores, exfoliate and buff away dead skin cells, and clear the look of your skin. Add this product as a step into your night routine so the formula can work its magic while you get some beauty sleep.
Best Moisturizer: Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Face Moisturizer
Smoother, tighter, and brighter skin is in your future—and all it takes is a few swipes of this retinol-laced moisturizer. Made with no fragrance or dyes, it’s ideal for all skin types, even those with sensitive skin. Reviewers report that their spots faded over time and their complexion felt even.
Best Overnight Mask: Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Dark Spot Correcting Night Mask
Here’s another great product to slather on before bed. This overnight mask has a blend of every dreamy ingredient you could imagine—vitamin C, chestnut rose, and chestnut seed extract—and they all band together to battle it out with your dark spots while you snooze. Users like its light fragrance, gentle formula, and its hydration benefits.
Best for Combination Skin: Urban Skin Rx Retinol Rapid Repair and Dark Spot Treatment
Kojic acid is derived from mushrooms and is excellent at fading hyperpigmentation and discoloration by inhibiting pigment production.
In addition to diminishing age spots, this retinol treatment also targets acne scarring, fine lines, and wrinkles—making it an all-in-one that deserves a spot on your vanity’s lineup. Its trio of retinol, kojic acid, and niacinamide team up to deliver smooth, plump, and even skin. We love it’s also vegan—no animal byproducts or testing here.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Dermologica Age Bright Spot Fader
Acne is annoying for so many reasons—one of those includes what it can do to skin after it goes away. Scarring, dark spots, and other marks can unfortunately appear, even after acne has come and gone. Luckily, this formula combats active breakouts and tackles post-breakout woes, too.
Best for Oily Skin: Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum
If you’re after that sunlit glow that everyone talks about, look no further than to this vitamin C serum. All our favorites—like turmeric, kojic acid, and fruit enzymes—work together to brighten discoloration and slough off dead skin cells. And guess what’s revealed underneath? Yep—your natural glow.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Aba Love Apothecary Flower Crown Facial Serum
Is it an oil? A serum? A treatment? How about all three? Infused with essential oils within a grapeseed oil base, this hydrating yet clarifying formula promises even-toned skin and a calm complexion. It comes in two sizes, including a trial size so you can test out the product before committing—though, trust us, you’ll love it.
Best Night Treatment: No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrate
Small but mighty, this small tube houses a slow-release retinol delivery system—which means you get a steady stream of retinol all night with no irritation to be had. Because it’s so powerful, we recommend applying it once or twice a week, then increasing your frequency as your skin acclimates to the formula. And, as Dr. Hu advises, don’t forget to supplement with sunscreen.
Best Powder: Vitabrid C12 FACE Brightening Powder
An active and stable form of vitamin C penetrates the skin and works hard for twelve hours. The result? A brighter complexion and firmer skin. To use, simply shake well, then deposit a small amount of powder into the palm of your hand. Mix it with a skincare product of your choice, whether that’s cream, toner, oil—you name it. Apply directly to your face and neck.
How to Use an Age Spot Remover
Daily application is key—and improvement should be visible within 8-12 weeks of use. Dr. Hu also recommends smart sun behavior, including wearing SPF 30 daily and remembering to reapply throughout the day. And perhaps the most important piece of advice: “If you find that your age spots are changing in color or shape or are becoming irritated easily, check in with your dermatologist,” says Dr. Hu.