Skincare Products » Best Dark Spot Correctors

13 Best Dark Spot Correctors of 2023

The Glowsly editors independently test and choose the best products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from the affiliate links.

No one likes to wake up and find a random dark spot on their face. Whether because of acne, a random scratch, or reasons unknown, dark spots and the hyperpigmentation they can create are irritants that everyone wants to avoid. Thankfully, dark spot correctors exist. 

These handy skincare must-haves come in a variety of formulations, from spot treatments to full-face options. Whether you prefer serums, masks, oils, or even creams, there’s a solution to help you put your best face forward every day. Keep reading to see our top recommendations as well as tips for picking the right dark spot corrector for your needs. 

Best dark spot correctors overview:

How we chose the best dark spot correctors

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including skin type, benefits, frequency of use, size, price, and more, to create a short list of the top dark spot correctors. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best dark spot correctors for each category.

Our picks for the best dark spot correctors

Best overall
Aprilskin Calendula 10% PHA+AHA Resurfacing Serum

What we love

  • Gentle exfoliation
  • Leave-on formula saves time
  • Clears and tightens pores, reduces look of blemishes, improves skin texture

What we don’t love

  • May require tweaking skincare regimen to prevent ingredient reactions with other products

Sometimes, the best way to keep your skin looking in tip-top shape is to incorporate exfoliation as part of your skincare routine. Although you shouldn’t mechanically exfoliate every day, you can opt for a serum like the Aprilskin Calendula 10% PHA+AHA Resurfacing Serum that works to gently promote cellular using chemical exfoliation.

Along with unclogging pores, it banishes dull skin to reveal a revitalized, plump texture with a more even complexion. It also reduces the look of blemishes and fine lines with an optimal pH range of 3.5 to 4.5. Note that while this is an exfoliant, it’s meant to be a leave-on serum. 

Although this product is safe for daily use, keep in mind that it contains active ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid, and gluconolactone. So, you may need to adjust your skincare routine to prevent negative interactions if other products in your lineup also contain actives.

Skin type: All | Benefits: Exfoliation, pore refining, texture correction, discoloration correction | Frequency of use: Daily

Best budget
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Original Solid Jar

What we love

  • Affordable
  • Gentle, moisturizing formula
  • Can be used head to toe

What we don’t love

  • Solid formula can be a bit greasy

You might be surprised to see the tried and true Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Original Solid Jar on this list, but as the kids say — if you know, you know. Yes, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter has long been a go-to solution in many communities for correcting dark spots from acne, cuts, and scrapes, as well as more pervasive hyperpigmentation on critical areas like the knees and elbows.

This is a great wallet-friendly option that you can also use safely with most other items in your skincare routine without worrying about active ingredients fighting each other. The cocoa butter smells heavenly and can gently fade away dark marks while deeply hydrating your skin. Along with cocoa butter, this formula leverages the power of vitamin E for even more moisture.

Skin type: All | Benefits: Hydration, texture correction, discoloration correction | Frequency of use: Daily

Best overnight
Aveda Tulasāra Firming Sleeping Masque

What we love

  • Vegan and cruelty free formula
  • Tightens, brightens, and moisturizes skin
  • Overnight sleeping mask

What we don’t love

  • Expensive
  • Extended timeline to see results

Your body does its best reparative work when you’re catching 40 winks. The Aveda Tulasāra Firming Sleeping Masque is designed to visibly transform your skin while sleeping. This overnight product works to firm your skin’s texture, leveraging a 97% naturally derived formula with key ingredients like peptides, vitamin C, turmeric, molasses, and shea butter. 

The vitamin C and peptides aid in boosting collagen production, ultimately improving your skin tone. Ingredients like shea butter and cupuacu seed butter moisturize, while turmeric and molasses work to brighten dull skin. 

For visible results, you’ll want to use this product nightly for at least four weeks to diminish fine lines, though for best results, you’ll have to wait longer, as it’s meant to be an eight-week treatment solution. But given the high price, this might not be realistic for some beauties.

Skin type: All | Benefits: Tightening, brightening, moisturization | Frequency of use: Nightly

Best splurge
Tatcha Indigo Overnight Repair Serum in a Cream Treatment

What we love

  • Overnight sleeping cream
  • Hydrates and strengthens skin barrier
  • Brightens and minimizes wrinkles

What we don’t love

  • Expensive

If your budget allows, there’s nothing wrong with splurging on a bit of indulgent skincare. Tatcha’s Indigo Overnight Repair is a serum in a cream treatment, enabling you to combine two skincare steps in one. This fragrance-free overnight moisturizer aids in visibly reducing irritation, improving the skin’s barrier, and balancing your natural microbiome for healthier skin with consistent use. 

Key ingredients include Japanese indigo and red sage root to manage irritation and dryness-related redness. Ceramides and hyaluronic acid work to boost hydration and protect the skin’s barrier from environmental pollutants. Finally, mondo grass root can improve your good bacteria balance.

Skin type: Sensitive, dry, mature | Benefits: Texture correction, brightening, wrinkle reduction | Frequency of use: Nightly

Best multitasker
Pür Joystick Exfoliating Deep-Pore Cleanser

What we love

  • Easy application
  • Cleanses, removes makeup, and exfoliates
  • Natural exfoliant diatomaceous earth particles

What we don’t love

  • Diatomaceous earth may be too rough for some
  • Can be difficult to fully rinse off

If you’re short on time and seeking a product that can tackle multiple needs at once, this multitasking Pür Joystick Exfoliating Deep-Pore Cleanser is the all-in-one solution you need. Use it to exfoliate, remove makeup, and deeply cleanse your pores. And the travel-friendly stick formula makes application easy. 

The stick leverages Moroccan lava clay to draw impurities out of your skin, charcoal to purify, diatomaceous earth as a natural and gentle exfoliant, and jojoba oil to moisturize. While effective, some people may find the diatomaceous earth to be too rough as a mechanical exfoliant. Additionally, the tinyl size of the diatomaceous earth particles can make rinsing this product off a bit of a chore.

Skin type: Oily, acne-prone | Benefits: Exfoliation, pore-refining | Frequency of use: Daily

Best spot treatment
Shea Moisture African Black Soap Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Drying Lotion

What we love

  • Ideal for the occasional pimple
  • Controls oil production
  • Overnight treatment

What we don’t love

  • Contains alcohol
  • Not ideal for widespread blemishes or discoloration

So far, we’ve only focused on full-face solutions. But if you don’t have a lot of blemishes and need something to correct the occasional pimple, then an all-over treatment might be too harsh for the rest of your face. Instead, consider a spot treatment solution like Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Drying Lotion. 

If you’re familiar with African Black Soap, you know that while clearing skin conditions effectively, it can be incredibly drying if you use it frequently. Therefore, this product is meant to be for occasional use, not daily application.

Although this lotion does contain shea butter, it’s a spot treatment that also includes isopropyl alcohol as the main ingredient, along with salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and charcoal to balance and absorb excess oil. For best results, spot apply this product at night before bed and wash your face in the morning.

Skin type: Blemish-prone, acne-prone | Benefits: Blemish correction, oil control | Frequency of use: As needed

Best for the body
Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Body Treatment

What we love

  • Corrects hyperpigmentation and texture throughout body
  • Lightweight, non-greasy formula
  • Vegan formula created for use on body

What we don’t love

  • May take a month to start seeing results
  • Not for the face

Blemishes don’t just occur on your face; they can happen anywhere. Sometimes, you need a treatment that can safely be applied from head to toe. Good Molecules’ Discoloration Correcting Body Treatment is a topical moisturizer that leverages the power of a 2% tranexamic acid formula to correct dark spots, age spots, sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone. 

You’ll like that this vegan formula is fragrance-free with a pH of 4.4. Along with a non-greasy texture, it’s lightweight, absorbing quickly into your skin to gently fade discoloration. Other ingredients include niacinamide, arginine, and jojoba seed oil for hydration and capryloyl salicylic acid for exfoliation. Note this product is meant to be used everywhere except for your face. Likewise, because of the gentle formula, it may take as long as a month to see results.

Skin type: All | Benefits: Exfoliation, texture correction, discoloration correction | Frequency of use: Daily

Best strength
PCA Skin Pigment Gel Pro

What we love

  • Professional strength without a prescription
  • Works on all skin tones and types
  • Formula protects against future dark spot formation

What we don’t love

  • Expensive
  • May take up to 4 weeks to begin to see results

If you have serious discoloration or hyperpigmentation, you’ve probably been told that your best bet is to see a dermatologist for a prescription-strength solution. But if you’re not ready to take that step, then you can try PCA Skin’s Pigment Gel Pro, a hydroquinone-free solution. It’s considered one of the most effective and strongest dark spot and hyperpigmentation correctors you can get without a prescription. 

The brand uses a proprietary SynerPro Complex that targets discoloration no matter your skin tone or type. Although it may take around four weeks to achieve visible results, this product also works to prevent future dark spots from forming. It can be used twice daily and is primarily intended for the face, neck, and chest. However, you can use it as a spot treatment in other areas if needed. You’ll want to use broad-spectrum SPF during the day, as this gel can increase your skin’s photosensitivity.

Skin type: All | Benefits: Hyperpigmentation correction | Frequency of use: Daily

Best exfoliator
Pixi Beauty Hydrating Milky Peel

What we love

  • Gentle gommage exfoliation
  • Instantly removes dead skin
  • Safe for all skin types

What we don’t love

  • May not pair well with a skincare regimen heavy on active exfoliating ingredients

Sometimes the reason for dark areas on your face is nothing more than dull, dead skin that needs to go. If simple exfoliation is all you need to bring back a bright, even skin tone, Pixi Beauty’s Hydrating Milky Peel exfoliator is a must-have in your bathroom vanity. 

As with other gommage exfoliators, this is a non-irritating but dead skin-pilling product that you can easily incorporate after cleansing but before toning, serums, and moisturizers. You’ll instantly see dead skin lifted off your face as you rub the cream on your skin. This exfoliator uses coconut and probiotics to hydrate and balance your skin. Arginine boosts elastin and collagen production, while other botanicals like willow bark extract and cinnamon extract aid in calming it. 

Although Pixi Beauty states that this can be used daily, remember that it’s an exfoliant. So, until you know what your skin can tolerate, avoid following up with other products featuring exfoliating active ingredients like AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs.

Skin type: All | Benefits: Exfoliation | Frequency of use: Daily

Best for scarring
Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum

What we love

  • Safe for all skin types and tones
  • Results in just 2 weeks of consistent use
  • Exfoliates, brightens, and evens skin tone

What we don’t love

  • Expensive

Breakouts and blemishes are rough already, but the aftermath they can leave on your skin can be just as frustrating. If you’re tired of looking at scars and dark marks from past breakouts, Murad’s Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum is a great way to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Expect to use this serum consistently for about two weeks before you see visible results.

We like that the formula is designed to also control blemishes that might not be as visible. A proprietary and patented resorcinol technology minimizes the look of dark spots and uneven tone, while tranexamic acid soothes and brightens. Finally, glycolic acid works to exfoliate and boost the skin’s texture.

Skin type: All | Benefits: Exfoliation, texture correction, discoloration correction | Frequency of use: Daily

Best age defense
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic With 15% L-Ascorbic Acid

What we love

  • Minimizes fine lines and wrinkles
  • Brightens and firms
  • Protects against environmental pollutants

What we don’t love

  • Expensive

Age brings wisdom, but it can also bring unfortunate dark spots and age marks — especially if you didn’t practice proper sun health in your younger years. The Skinceuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid serum is a multitasking solution that helps turn back the hands of time. Along with reducing the visual effects of photodamage on your skin, this formula promises to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, boost firmness, and brighten your skin. 

This serum also provides critical hydration and protects your skin from free radicals. The potent formula ensures that the vitamin C remains active in your skin for at least 72 hours after application. Note that this can be used as a daytime serum to protect the skin from environmental exposure. 

Skin type: All, mature | Benefits: Hydration, environmental protection, discoloration correction | Frequency of use: Daily

Best for travel
Pop Beauty Pompom Peel

What we love

  • Gentle exfoliation with glycolic acid
  • Compact, travel-friendly format
  • Aids in a brighter complexion

What we don’t love

  • May need stop using other additives when using this product

These functional Pompom Peel exfoliating pads from Pop Beauty are a reliable option to avoid spilled exfoliator solution in your bag upon arrival.

Each pad is soaked in glycolic acid, witch hazel, pomegranate, and arginine. Glycolic acid is a powerhouse exfoliator, while pomegranate is high in antioxidants for a protective solution. Arginine smooths your skin, and witch hazel aids in clarifying and improving your tone. You’ll be left with smoother, cleaner, and brighter skin. Just remember that while gentle, glycolic acid is a powerful exfoliant. So, on the days you’re using this product, you’ll want to avoid incorporating any other strong actives in your routine.

Skin type: All | Benefits: Exfoliation, brightening, texture correction | Frequency of use: 2-3 times a week

Best brightening
Sephora Collection Ultra Glow Serum: Glow + Strengthen Vitamin C Serum

What we love

  • Ideal for dry or mature skin
  • Corrects dark spots and reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • Hydrates to minimize dryness

What we don’t love

  • Takes about 28 days to see visible results

Sephora is a beauty destination but also offers its own complete beauty collection — titled Sephora Collection — that can take care of you from head to toe. The Ultra Glow Serum: Glow + Strengthen Vitamin C Serum is a great way to brighten your complexion. While it’s safe for all skin types, it’s promoted as best for people with dry or mature skin. 

This clean and vegan formula has ingredients like vitamins C and E, along with peptides and marine algae that help banish dark spots. The vitamin C improves collagen production and brightens, while vitamin E moisturizes. Peptides also aid in moisture, and marine algae helps to tighten your skin. Note that it can take up to 28 days to begin to see visible results.

Skin type: Dry, mature | Benefits: Tightening, moisturization, discoloration correction | Frequency of use: Daily

Dark spots be gone

Dark spots are frustrating, and you shouldn’t always have to rely on concealer to hide them. Get to the root of the problem with the power of a dark spot corrector. Whether it’s using an all-over solution or a spot treatment, you can achieve an even complexion. If you want to incorporate a gentle daily corrector that yields excellent results, Aprilskin’s Calendula 10% PHA+AHA Resurfacing Serum is a solid choice that you can use both in the morning and evening. The Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Original Solid Jar is perfect for budget beauties, plus it doubles as a daily moisturizer. 

How to pick the right dark spot correctors for you

Dark spots can occur because of a number of reasons. Your first step in picking a corrector should be to determine what’s causing them. Then, consider how frequently you can use it and how easily you can incorporate it into your skincare routine. 


Dark spot correctors typically focus on a few target goals — brightening, texture correction, dryness, and protection. Active ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic, and tranexamic acid are ideal for exfoliating. Exfoliation, or the removal of dead skin, is a great way to naturally brighten and minimize dark marks, as dullness is often caused by dead skin buildup. Likewise, exfoliation can aid in improving the texture of the skin. 

Protection usually refers to antioxidant ingredients, which can often be botanicals such as pomegranate or green tea. If you’re treating mature skin, look for ingredients like vitamin C, a naturally occurring nutrient that aids in collagen production and can also work to brighten the skin. 

Skin type

The majority of the dark spot correctors we highlighted are generally designed to work for all skin types: normal, combination, oily, dry, sensitive, and mature skin. However, you’ll find that sensitive skin products tend to feature gentler formulas that are less likely to encourage irritation. 

Dry and mature skin formulas usually have moisture-rich ingredients since both skin types tend to struggle with maintaining hydration — which can ultimately encourage discoloration or hyperpigmentation. Oily or acne-prone skin may find that formulas specifically designed for this skin type tend to feature salicylic acid or stronger active ingredients that target oil control or absorption, as well as fully cleansing pores to minimize blemishes. 


Dark spot correctors vary widely in terms of application or purpose. In our guide, you might have noticed that many correctors were really exfoliators — using these is one of the easiest ways to correct hyperpigmentation or dark spots. Meanwhile, there are spot treatments that are meant for tackling specific individual blemishes such as a pimple. But you can also find creams and serums that can correct the look of dark spots. 

Frequency of use

The ingredients and strength of a dark spot corrector can determine how frequently you can use a product. For example, true spot treatments are usually powerful and aren’t intended to be used every day or even all over your face. Meanwhile, exfoliators can vary from serums that can be used daily to mechanical options that should only be used two or three times a week at most. 

Note that some of the more potent full-face treatments need to be used for several weeks to experience measurable results. Pay attention to the product messaging, as brands offer a degree of transparency regarding how quickly you can achieve clearer skin or more even skin tone with their products. 


What’s the most effective dark spot corrector? 

This depends on what’s causing your dark spots, as well as what fits in with your budget. If you’re looking for a reliable corrector that you can use regularly, our best overall recommendation is the Aprilskin Calendula 10% PHA+AHA Resurfacing Serum. 

What clears dark spots naturally?

This depends on what’s causing your dark spots. Some blemishes may naturally clear up by simply exfoliating. Others may require a more targeted treatment with active ingredients like tranexamic acid or niacinamide to boost cellular turnover. 

Does Vaseline remove dark spots?

Vaseline or petroleum jelly isn’t a moisturizer but rather an occlusive. This means that it helps to lock moisture in. By itself, it can’t correct dark spots. Instead, use it for skincare techniques like slugging, where you layer petroleum jelly on top of a moisturizer or other products to help seal in the product. Doing so can ensure that whatever is applied to your face or skin deeply penetrates for better results.