When sun- or hormone-induced brown skin discolorations appear, your best treatment option is a well formulated skin-lightening product (along with diligent use of a sunscreen rated SPF 25 or greater. In order to make the Best Products list, a skin-lightening product must:
The skin-lightening products on this list either contain the time-proven, safe skin-lightening agent hydroquinone or they contain ingredients related to it, such as arbutin or other agents that research (however limited) has shown hold some promise for lightening sun- or hormone-induced brown spots. In some instances, skin lightening products with stabilized vitamin C are also worth considering.
Some of these skin-lightening products also contain an AHA or BHA at the correct pH for exfoliation to occur. The synergistic combination of hydroquinone and an AHA or BHA exfoliant not only allows the hydroquinone to work better but also helps remove layers of uneven, sun-damaged skin (and those with BHA can help keep breakouts and blackheads at bay, so it's a double bonus).
Hydroquinone has become a controversial ingredient, despite considerable research demonstrating its safety when properly formulated (meaning following over-the-counter guidelines rather than adulterating products with compounds that can cause skin problems). For detailed information about this gold standard skin-lightening agent, please refer to our Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary.
Over-the-counter hydroquinone products are available in strengths of 1% to 2%; higher concentrations are available from dermatologists and plastic surgeons.
Keep in mind that no skin-lightening product will work if you don't use an effective sunscreen daily. Also, if you're using any over-the-counter product with hydroquinone and you haven't noticed any skin-lightening results after three months of daily use (plus daily use of a well-formulated sunscreen rated SPF 15 or greater), you should discontinue use. If this occurs, it is very likely that, for whatever reason, over-the-counter strengths of hydroquinone are not effective for you. You can try prescription-strength hydroquinone or consider various laser or light-emitting treatments from a dermatologist.
For best results, apply your skin lightening product to affected areas twice daily, after cleansing and before applying moisturizer and/or serum and sunscreen (which should always go on last).
Read more ...
Your results are in the table below. You can narrow your results by using the drop down menus or sort by toggling the column labels. If you would like to add an item to your faves check the box in the "+" column. Click the add to faves button when you're done adding items.
Optional: You can enter notes about these product(s) below. If you do not wish to add notes, click the 'Add' button.
We respect your privacy and the information you provide will NOT be sold, shared, or disseminated in any way.
Read More →
Call us Mon–Fri 6am-6pm PT, Sat–Sun 8am-4:30pm PT
Connect with us:
© Copyright 2014 Paula's Choice. All rights reserved. Paula's Choice and Cosmetics Cop are registered trademarks of Paula's Choice, LLC.
*Promotion expires 9pm PT, December 30, 2014. No cash value. Cannot be combined with other offers or applied to previous purchases.
**Promotion expires 9pm PT, December 30, 2014. No cash value. Applies to US and Canada only.
***Promotion expires 9pm PT, December 30, 2014. No cash value. Cannot be combined with other offers or applied to previous purchases. Limit one free per order while supplies last.
***Promotion expires 9pm PT, December 30, 2014. Choose any 3 from 28 available FREE samples on orders of $5 or more.
Please sign in and access your saved member information.
You will have the option to create an account after you have submitted your order.