Everyone wants smooth and bright skin, but if you’re struggling to hide dark spots and even out your skin tone, a skin lightening cream works wonders. By targeting certain areas, dark spots, scarring and skin discoloration can all be lessened. Whether the cause is sun damage, acne, age, hormonal changes or hyper-pigmentation, there is a cream for you that will restore your skin’s natural color and eliminate any blemishes.
Below we have listed the ten best skin lightening creams, all of which are easy to use and will fit right in with your skin care routine. Whether you’re looking for a product containing hydroquinone to bleach the skin or a cream that uses natural ingredients such as kojic acid and Vitamin C to lighten the skin tone, we’re sure you can find the right cream to restore even-toned skin and leave you with a clear and radiant complexion.
Here’s our top 10 Best Skin Lightening Creams
The Alpha Skin Care Dual Action Skin Lightener contains an optimal blend of 2% hydroquinone and 10% Glycolic AHA. Hydroquinone is a proved skin lightener, promoting an even skin tone and texture, and Glycolic AHA encourages collagen production, resulting in a reduction of lines and wrinkles. Nourishing the skin with Vitamin E, the formula in this paraben-free lightening cream also gently and naturally lifts away dead skin cells, making it perfect for all skin types. This formula can be applied twice daily and is therefore a perfect fit for your skin care routine.
The Admire My Skin lightening cream contains a mixture of active ingredients. The 2% hydroquinone is accompanied by salicylic acid, azeliac acid, lactic acid which gently peel dark spots to reveal brighter skin. Also containing Vitamin C, this cream is designed to fade any hyper-pigmentation and leave a smoother and more even complexion. Admire My Skin allows you to see changes in just four weeks when used once or twice daily.
Fighting the signs of ageing with antioxidants, Paula’s Choice Dark Spot Eraser is specially formulated with 2% hydroquinone to lighten the skin and fight discoloration, and 7% Glycolic AHA to exfoliate and smooth the skin texture. Designed for dry, normal, combination and oily skin, this lotion absorbs easily into the skin and leaves no residue. You should apply a small amount before moisturizing and expect to see results within just a few weeks.
Dermalogica’s C-12 Serum holds a blend of Oligopeptides, rice-derived Phytic Acid, antioxidant Zinc Glycinate, and red and brown algae to fight dark spots and stop hyper-pigmentation right at the source by regulating melanin formation to prevent future pigmentation. Instead of just tackling certain spots, Dermalogica’s serum can be used on larger areas, meaning your skin will look visibly healthier as well as looking and feeling hydrated. The skin lightening serum is lightweight and is quickly absorbed to optimize efficacy. Furthermore, it is made without any artificial fragrances or colors and is certified cruelty free. Best used twice a day.
The 2% Alpha Arbutin in this gel-like serum is a skin-lightening ingredient that works by reducing melanin production. Combined with hyaluronic acid, The Ordinary Alpha Arbuting 2% + HA fights dark spots and hyper-pigmentation to reveal healthier, younger looking skin by balancing complexions and evening out the texture. This serum is best used twice a day as part of your skin care regimen.
Eve Lom’s Brightening Cream works as a moisturizer to achieve clearer and brighter skin. When applied all over the face, this lightening cream helps to even out your complexion and fight the signs of ageing. This cream contains Dermapep, a unique component that brightens the skin’s pigment, and antioxidants to diminish the signs of hyper-pigmentation and smooth the skin.
Chinese root extracts and Vitamin E protect the skin from pollution and UV rays, and sodium hyaluronate promotes moisture retention and elasticity, restoring the skin’s structure and preventing the formation of dark spots and blemishes. Also present is Rose Otto Oil which intensely restores hydration, making this cream perfect for those with dry, sensitive or ageing skin but suitable for every skin type.
La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Cleanser works over time to leave the skin looking brighter and clearer. Instead of working on certain spots or areas, this gentle, non-particle exfoliator cleanses the whole face with micro-exfoliating Lipo-Hydroxy Acid to help shed dark skin cells from the skin’s surface. This helps to restore an even skin-tone by promoting healthy cell renewal and diminishing dullness. This cleanser can be used to brighten the skin every morning and night by lathering with water and gently massaging the face.
This sensitive skin lightening cream from PurePeaks removes and corrects dark spots, fades scars and helps diminish blemishes caused by sun damage using Alpha Arbutin. Arbutin prevents the skins formation of melanin, preventing the dark spots from resurfacing. Combined with the Arbutin is Aloe Vera, Hydrolyzed Oat Protein and Licorice and Mulberry extract, used to moisturize the face, and hyaluronic acid helps to smooth the skin’s surface and reduce the appearance of lines of wrinkles. The skin lightening cream is plant-based, is perfect for any skin type and is safe to use on any part of the body.
The Jolie Advanced Lightening Cream works to help fade dark spots with the highest over the counter amount of proven skin lightener, hydroquinone. This light textured cream is perfect for use on the face and neck and is specially formulated to help reduce the appearance of freckles. It is also designed to help fend off future production of melanin to ensure unwanted dark spots or scars do not resurface. Moreover, antioxidants within the cream prevent future damage from any environmental factor. Jolie’s cream is also paraben free.
Porcelain Skin’s Whitening Serum is formulated to reduce the appearance of hyper-pigmentation, remove brown spots, fade sun exposure scars and restore the skin’s natural color and skin tone. Using hydroquinone to lighten the skin, this serum also uses botanical extracts such as Licorice and Mulberry extract to provide a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins as well as helping with anti-aging qualities.
Also present in this whitening serum is Kojic acid, proven to help inhibit the skin’s production of melanin, and Glycolic acid which gently exfoliates the skin to remove the build-up of dead skin cells and prevent the build up of areas where hyper-pigmented cells can accumulate. This serum is suitable for all skin types and results from consumer trials found that 80% of users saw fewer dark spots in just 6 weeks.
FAQs About Skin Lightening Creams
Is Skin Lightening Safe?
The main ingredient found in the creams listed above is Hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is safe to use and is approved by the FDA. The maximum amount of hydroquinone you can buy over the counter is 2% and is easy to use at home, making it the most optimal choice for many people and recommended by dermatologists.
Hydroquinone is most effective for dark spots in smaller areas and works whatever the cause of the discoloration. It is best to be used in conjunction with sunscreen and is not recommended to be used on larger areas. If you have larger areas of discolored skin, other ingredients may be better for you.
Which Ingredients Are Right For Me?
If you decide that hydroquinone is not for you, there are many other more natural ingredients listed in the creams above that will work to brighten skin. They can sometimes take longer than hydroquinone, but the results can be just as effective.
Kojic acid inhibits the production of melanin, which causes the over-pigmentation or uneven pigmentation of skin. It comes from the over-fermentation of mushrooms. It is widely known as an ingredient that helps brighten the skin’s complexion.
Azeliac acid also inhibits the production of melanin, but also works to combat hyper-pigmentation by suppressing the growth of melanin producing cells. Azeliac acid is found in many of the creams listed above and is normally found in grains like wheat and rye. It is effective at not only lightening the skin, but also treating skin conditions such as acne.
Vitamin C helps to destroy the cells in your body that cause ageing. This makes your skin healthier and more radiant. It can also help to brighten the skin over time.
Retinol reduces the signs of ageing and diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol can also firm the skin and improve the smoothness of the skin. It significantly improves uneven skin tones, leaving the surface of the skin healthier. It can also help to brighten the skin over time.
Arbutin is very similar to hydroquinone, although it is completely natural. It is perfect for lightening the skin as it makes the enzyme that is responsible for creating melanin inactive. This means it can help with hyper-pigmentation and diminishing the signs of dark spots, scars and sun damage. Many of the creams listed above contain Arbutin.
Bearberry extract contains Artbutin and is therefore a great natural brightener that can be found in many skin lightening creams. It helps to correct discoloration and reduce the signs of any hyper-pigmentation. Moreover, Bearberry extract has sun protecting qualities and therefore helps to reduce the signs of ageing through sun exposure.
Licorice Root Extract
Licorice Root Extract is a natural skin lightener and is great at treating hyper-pigmentation and any signs of dark spots or uneven skin tone. Again, it is similar to hydroquinone but is natural, so is perfect for people with sensitive skin. It can also be used to reduce signs of redness in the skin and minimize puffiness.
Glycolic acid is a fantastic skin exfoliant and moisturizer. It is a natural ingredient that helps to even out skin tone and restore the skin’s natural color, as well as getting rid of dead skin cells on the top of the skin and allowing other ingredients in the skin lightening cream to penetrate the skin further.
Lactic acid is very similar to Glycolic acid, although it is better suited for those with sensitive skin. Likewise with Glycolic acid, Lactic acid exfoliates to remove dead skin and allows other ingredients to penetrate the skin.
Regardless of your age, a skin lightening cream can help to restore your skin’s natural tone, leaving you with healthy and radiant skin. Adding a skin lightening cream into your skincare routine will not only give you smoother and brighter skin, but can help or completely remove dark spots, scarring left by acne, age spots, blemishes, skin discoloration and hyper-pigmentation.
There are many ingredients than can contribute to skin-lightening and we are sure you can find the right one that works for you and your skin, whether it be FDA approved hydroquinone or a more natural lightener such as licorice. Skin lightening creams are easy to use from home and have great results.
Remember to use sunscreen and moisturize regularly when using any skin lightening cream. Be patient as the creams work on your skin and we know you will see results soon.