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Types of Products Used for Brown Spots

Types of Products Used for Brown Spots Types of Products Used for Brown Spots


Brown spots range from freckles to age spots to larger areas of hyperpigmentation, and they are caused by sun exposure or hereditary conditions. While no product can make these discolorations disappear, certain ingredients such as topical retinoids, kojic acid, hydroquinone and alpha hydroxy acids can lessen their appearance. Use these products under the supervision of a dermatologist and as directed on the product's instructions, and your brown spots will begin to lighten.

Topical Retinoids

Topical retinoids such as tretinoin or adapalene are a form of vitamin A, and they are available as a gel, cream or lotion and only with a prescription. These products lessen discolorations by exfoliating the top layer of your skin, increasing cell turnover and thereby evening out your skin tone. However, retinoids can make your skin more susceptible to sunburn, and it may cause burning or peeling, especially when you first start using it. If you experience this, reduce your application to every other day and talk to your doctor about using a lower concentration of the product.

Kojic Acid

Kojic acid is a natural product derived from a fungus, and you can purchase it in the form of a lotion of cream, either over-the-counter or in higher concentrations with a prescription. It lessens the amount of melanin your skin produces and thereby fades brown spots and areas of hyperpigmentation. This product is a skin-lightening agent, and it might not be suitable for all skin types and tones. It can also cause allergic reactions in some people. Discontinue using kojic acid if you develop an adverse reaction, and seek medical attention.


Hydroquinone is a common ingredient in fading and bleaching creams, and this medication is available both over-the-counter and with a prescription. The product stops an enzyme called tyrosinase, which aids in your skin's production of melanin, and this results in skin lightening over several weeks of application. Hydroquinone does not bleach your skin, but it can cause irritation. Speak with a physician if you experience a rash, increased sensitivity or another reaction.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic, lactic and citric acids, are derived from fruits and dairy products, and they are found in over-the-counter creams and facial chemical peels, according to Dermnet NZ. They fade brown spots by shedding dead layers of skin and promoting the growth of new cells. These acids are the most effective at fading brown spots when used in conjunction with another lightening product. They can make your skin more sensitive to sun damage, and might cause slight irritation when applied.


Applying sunscreen every day can keep your brown spots from getting worse. Sun exposure causes melanin to form in your skin, which leads to pigmentation problems, and it can also inhibit the efficacy of your lightening creams. Aging Skin Net suggests you wear a broad-spectrum sunblock and apply it 20 minutes before going outside.

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