How To

How To: Brighten Dark Spots

Dark Spot Treatments

Freckles are indisputably cute – (so cute I’ve been known to fake a smattering with {Brow Wiz}) – but ‘liver spots’, acne scars and hormonal pigmentation patches are a little less adorable; they make skin look older, and are literal blots on the clarity of your complexion. But… without getting overly ‘Lady Macbeth’ on you, you can expunge those ‘damn spots’ from your visage – just look for ‘damn spot ousting’ on the label (we jest).

First – identify the causes of your pigmentation issues. Freckles on your cheeks, nose, chest and hands are signs of sun damage; the cells have had to manufacture excess melanin, to ‘mop up’ the harmful effects of UV. If however, you have localised pigmentation on your forehead, or the sides of your cheeks (towards your ears) – it could be a condition called ‘melasma’; the product of hormonal changes (during pregnancy or menopause), that trigger melanin production in skin cells. Otherwise, you’re probably dealing with left-over acne scars – those dark red blotches that linger long after the blemish has bitten the dust (grrrrr).

Fortunately, there exist several skin-brightening ingredients which have a gradual – but definite – effect. Things such as vitamin C, vitamin B3 and liquorice are all acknowledged ‘lightening’ agents – and because they all work slightly differently, you can layer several products, or mix things up on a day to day basis, to maximise the complexion correcting benefits. Tata Harper’s {Concentrated Brightening Serum}, Su-Man’s {Velvet Skin Brightening Serum} and Peter Thomas Roth’s {Camu Camu Power C x 30} are all brilliant unifiers (and have added skin strengthening properties).

Use these vitamins/botanicals in collaboration with an AHA or retinoid – to gently resurface, diminish visibility of scarring, and lessen superficial sk-imperfections. With this multi-pronged approach, you should see an improvement in 3 – 4 weeks – and the longer you persist, the better the results. Invest in a targeted serum/on-the-dark-spot treatment and apply religiously, morning and evening to speed up the perfecting process. Try Alpha-H {Liquid Gold Intensive Night Repair Serum}, REN’s {Radiance Perfection Serum} or Verso’s {Dark Spot Fix}.

And it goes without saying – wear sunscreen everyday. Some, such as Institut Esthederm’s {Photo Reverse} work to counteract dark patches whilst preventing the development of new ones. Apply liberally to face – and hands! Hands are oft neglected, but are quick to betray your true age, so correct and protect yours with {Age Delay Hand & Cuticle Cream}. It stars conditioning avocado and jojoba oils, alongside 10% glycolic acid to stimulate collagen synthesis, and lessen the look of pigmentation.


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Verity is our Content Editor and a Cult Beauty veteran. Currently on maternity leave, raising Cult Beauty’s honorary ‘word nerd’, Tabitha, she speaks fluent ‘beauty’ and loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm (and cleanser and candles… ad infinitum). Nothing can stop her from quoting Nancy Mitford, treating herself to yet another Bella Freud candle for her desk or buying that pilgrim-esque collared or heavily fringed outfit she’s been eyeing. You can trust her to debunk widespread beauty myths and dispense invaluable advice with ease…