Tested on animals:No
Dual Action Skin Lightener has an identical ingredient list to the former Alpha Hydrox Spot Light Targeted Skin Lightener, right down to the excellent combination of 2% hydroquinone for lightening dark spots plus 10% glycolic acid for exfoliation—all in a lightweight, slightly fragranced lotion formula suitable for all skin types. It remains an excellent, inexpensive option to target brown spots from sun damage or other factors.
Dual Action Skin Lightener 10% glycolic acid can exfoliate as it lightens thanks to its pH of 3.6*, all in packaging that will keep the hydroquinone stable. If you'll be applying it all over your face, the slightly creamy lotion is ideal for normal to dry skin; however, if you're only going to spot-apply to discolorations, it's fine to use on all skin types not prone to breakouts.
The only thing that's still missing is a selection of state-of-the-art skin-identical ingredients and more antioxidants (vitamin E, listed as tocopherol, is included). Despite that shortcoming, Dual Action Skin Lightener remains one of the best hydroquinone-powered options at the drugstore. You'll find other hydroquinone skin lighteners that come in larger sizes, but the majority of them are packaged in jars, which will quickly render the hydroquinone ineffective.
OK, one more slight disappointment to mention is the inclusion of fragrance. Fragrance isn't skin care, and coupled with active like hydroquinone plus 10% glycolic acid, it could put skin at greater risk of irritation. Still, if you're only using this to spot-treat discolorations, the risk is minimal; hence our rating for this renamed-but-not-reformulated product remains the same.
Dual Action Skin Lightener ranks among the best hydroquinone-based options to tackle stubborn brown spots from sun exposure or other causes (like hormonal influences). Its lightweight, creamy lotion texture is easy to apply, the packaging keeps key ingredients stable during use, and the addition of pH-correct 10% glycolic acid will help enhance the results and provide smoother, more even-toned skin.
*The packaging for this Alpha Skin Care product indicates the pH is 4, but our testing confirmed it's 3.6, which is actually even better result for effectiveness.
- Contains 2% hydroquinone, the gold standard for lightening brown discolorations.
- 10% glycolic acid exfoliates and enhances results from the hydroquinone.
- pH-correct formula allows the glycolic acid to function as an exfoliant.
- Small amount of fragrance may increase potential for irritation from the combination of hydroquinone and glycolic acid.