Best Fade Creams and DIY Options for Dark Spots

19 Best Fade Creams and DIY Options for Dark Spots in 2019

Dark spots can be a result of environmental or medical factors among other causes. They come in various sizes and degrees of darkness. They can be found on any part of the body but they are most common and more noticeable on the face. They are therefore not easy to conceal especially if they lean more on the bigger and darker side. This can have significant effect on your confidence as your beauty is affected.

Not to worry though, there are a lot of over the counter fade creams for dark spots that you can use to get rid of the discolouration and restore your look without using tons of makeup. If however you are a DIY queen/king, or are operating on a tight budget, there are plenty of options for you too. To help you make a better decision, we have prepared a list of best fade creams and DIY options for dark spots below.

#1 – Meladerm Pigment Correction

Meladerm Pigment Correction is product from Civiant, a skin care manufacturer with over 10 years in the industry. The cream is a blend of natural ingredients, making it one of the safest and efficacious fade creams in the market. It’s carefully formulated to reduce the appearance of dark spots, freckles, old scars, blemishes from melasma and chloasma, age spots, sun damage and other forms of hyperpigmentation.

Among its key ingredients include: alpha and beta arbutin, lactic and kojic acid (not to be mixed up with hyaluronic acid), and vitamin C. These are natural biosynthetic and plant extracts which have been proven to effectively lighten hyperpigmented skin – without the side effects associated with use of harsh chemicals.      

#2 – Skinceuticals CE Ferulic

This fade serum from SkinCeuticals is said to be the best antioxidant in the market. It’s packed with 15% vitamin C, 1% vitamin E and 0.5% ferulic acid. The combination helps in neutralizing oxidative radicals that occur in the environment. It also protects the skin from infrared radiation and ozone pollution; simply put, the product effectively reduces pigmentation brought about by atmospheric conditions.

CE Ferulic works on all skin types and is effective on normal, dry and even sensitive skin. The serum lasts longer than most, in that once applied, it’s absorbed into the dermal layers where it remains active for up to 3 days.

#3 – Amaira Natural Lightening Cream   

The product is another tried and tested lightening cream that is primarily formulated with natural ingredients.  Amaira, the manufacturers behind the cream, combines ancient Asian skin care methods with modern technology to deliver a herbal-based fade cream that is safe and highly efficacious. This ensures that your skin gets the uplift it needs without the need to apply harsh chemicals.

The cream is a combination of mulberry root bark and leaf extract, glycolic and kojic acid, and orchid extract. These ingredients complements each other in exfoliating dead skin, reducing melanin production and lightening damaged skin. The product is also enriched with extracts of dendrobium phalaenopsis flower, a natural moisturizer.           

#4 – Murad – Pigment Lightening Serum

This is a product from Dr Howard Murad which promises to lighten dark spots in under a week. The treatment is formulated with 2% hydroquinone which is the highest over the counter concentration of this skin lightening ingredient. Hydroquinone is considered the gold standard of reducing dark skin pigmentation hence the high regard for the serum.

The product also contains glycolic acid which helps to increase the efficacy of hydroquinone. The acid is an exfoliant which removes dead skin, giving way for hydroquinone to penetrate and lighten the skin from within. The serum is effective in treating photo damaged skin, sun spots, acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles and blemishes caused by melasma.  

#5 – Zeta White Natural Lightening Cream 

The cream is carefully blended to perform effectively on all skin types and is gentle on delicate and sensitive skin. It’s made in the UK and comes with 100% money back guarantee. It’s effective against freckles, dark spots, age spots, sun damage, hyperpigmentation and skin discoloration.

The product is a natural skin lightener developed into a 3-point system: The Face Lightening Wash contains papaya and lemon extracts which work to lighten the skin by minimizing melanin production. Lightening Moisturiser made from liquorice extract which also doubles as a natural sunscreen. Lightening Night Cream rejuvenates the skin through the night and also contains allantoin, a natural exfoliant.         

#6 – Natura Bissé Diamond White Serum        

Natura Bisse Diamond White serum is formulated with pytic, dioic, maslinic and peroxy acids. It also contains peptides which work together with the acids to interrupt the actions of tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for melanin production in the skin. This effectively fades the appearance of dark spots, inflammation, and smoothes the skin for a luminous look.

The efficacy of the serum is enhanced by the carefully blended active ingredients: 40% of the formulation is acids that treat the skin; 18% of glycolic acid polishes the skin; 12% of hydrogen peroxide lightens dark spots and 10% of Phytic, Dioic and Maslinic Acids regulate melanin production effectively curtailing formation of dark spots.    

#7 – C-12 Pure Bright Serum

This lightening serum manufactured by Dermalogica is a unique blend of skin brightening ingredients. It contains phytic acid, derived from rice fermentation, which is responsible for reduction of melanin in the dermal cells. The acid is assisted in its functions by red and brown algae.

To ensure the treatment penetrates deep into the skin, peptides are blended into the formulation effectively treating hyperpigmentation right at the source. The serum is effective in treating brown spots, uneven skin tone and other forms of discolorations that manifest as hyperpigmentation. The product is made from all-natural ingredients hence it appeals to the vegan in you.  

#8 – White Caviar Illuminating Serum

Manufactured by La prairie, a Swiss company, White Caviar Illuminating serum is a skin brightener infused with caviar extract. The extract is a natural ingredient that is effective in reducing the appearance of dark spots and dull skin. It’s also effective in maintaining skin firmness and promoting even skin tone – something what dermatologists would use.

Apart from the caviar extracts the serum contains Panax Ginseng, a natural toner that revitalizes the skin to improve texture. The ingredient is also said to have anti aging effects in that it minimizes wrinkles, fine lines and skin sag. The serum is effective for sensitive skin due to the inclusion of jasmine oil in its formulation; the oil has skin soothing properties.   

#9 – Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector

This product is manufactured by Clinique, a company that has been in the skincare industry since 1968. This dark spot corrector is claimed to improve the skin’s appearance by 58% by the end of 12 weeks of use. It’s made from prescription level lighteners hence its good for sensitive skin and can be used safely all year long.

It’s made from a host of ingredients, with the most notable ones being exfoliants and melanin inhibitors. It formulated with bran and grape extracts which are effective in sanding off dead skin, black and whiteheads. Rice extracts and salicylic acid ensure that melanin production is minimized to reduce appearance of dark spots. It’s also contains cucumber extract which help in soothing the skin.

#10 – iS Clinical GeneXC Serum

The product comes to you courtesy of Innovative Skincare (iS) and promises to get rid of dark spots. It’s also hyped to be effective in boosting skin radiance, elasticity, brightness and firmness. The product is backed by in-house research and development to ensure specific skin issues are addressed without causing irritations.

It’s formulated with: Glycolic acid, an exfoliant which is extracted from sugar cane and works to remove dead and damaged skin; ascorbic acid which protects the skin from photodamage, lightens dark spots and enhances your skin tone. Lastly it contains Superoxide Dismutase, an antioxidant which protects the skin from free radicals responsible for environmental skin damage.  

DIY Options for Dark Spots

DIYs can be done at the comfort of your home. Many are safer and cheaper because most of the ingredients used are probably already in your kitchen cabinet. However, they require time, consistence and the patience of a saint! If you have these at your disposal, here are some options that you can easily try out.

#1 Papaya

Papaya contains the enzyme papain. The enzyme exfoliates your skin to reveal new and lighter skin. It also helps with skin renewal and restoration which leaves your skin feeling smoother and softer.

  • Peel and remove the seeds of an unripe papaya
  • Blend the papaya into a thick paste
  • Apply the paste on your face and neck, and let it sit for 20-30 minutes
  • Rinse off with lukewarm water and moisturize
  • Do this in the morning and evening until you get desired results.

#2 Turmeric

Turmeric has been used traditionally as herbal medication to treat wounds and inflammation. It contains melanin inhibition properties which make it effective in treating dark spots.

Studies have shown that Curcuma Longa, its active ingredient helps to prevent skin photo damage, reduces wrinkles and treats hyperpigmented skin.

  • Mix the powder with water to make a thick paste
  • Apply on the affected area and let it stay for about 15 minutes
  • Rinse off with plenty of water
  • Turmeric is soothing and can be applied daily without any side effects

#3 Aloe Vera Gel

The plant comes with numerous benefits which have been exploited over the years even by ancient societies. Its active ingredient, aloesin, is a natural antioxidant that keeps the skin free of atmospheric damage.

The element is also a tyrosinase inhibitor, meaning its helps to reduce melanin production. This comes handy in reducing dark spots and lightening dull and aged skin. Aloe vera is also rich in vitamins A, B, C and E which help in collagen synthesis.

  • Peel the green skin from a succulent Aloe Vera leaf
  • Apply the clear gel and let it stay for about 15 minutes
  • Wash off and apply your usual cream or moisturizer to reduce stinginess

#4 Tomato Paste

It’s common knowledge that tomatoes are rich sources of vitamins A, B, and C. What could escape your mind is that these vitamins are essential for collagen production in the skin. A collagen boost will reduce the appearance of dark spots while keeping the skin elastic and well relaxed.

Tomatoes also contain a powerful carotenoid, lycopene, an antioxidant which keeps free radicals off the skin effectively reducing atmospheric damage.

  • Squash ripe tomatoes to make a paste
  • Blend the paste with oatmeal and curd  
  • Apply on the affected area and wait for 20 minutes before washing it off
  • For best results; repeat treatment at least thrice a week

#5 Buttermilk

One of the natural skin lightening ingredients that is effective in treating hyperpigmentation is lactic acid, which buttermilk is rich in. The acid belongs to alpha-hydroxy compounds which reduce melanin production by inhibiting tyrosinase functions. Lactic acid is also a collagen booster, which helps in reducing wrinkles and skin roughness.

The efficacy of the treatment can be boosted by combining buttermilk with powdered orange peels, turmeric powder or mashed papaya.

  • Wash and dry your skin before applying the milk
  • Let it stay on your skin for maximum of 1 hr or less if mixed with powdered orange peels (citric acid from the powder causes mild stinging)  
  • Wash off with plenty of water and repeat daily until the desired result is achieved

#6 Avocado

Glutathione is a known melanin inhibitor and is found plenty in avocados. Studies have shown that avocados have almost twice the level the inhibitor than most veggies and come close to asparagus, the vegetable known to have highest amount of glutathione. With that in mind, setting your eyes on this fruit could save your skin.

  • Wash and dry your skin
  • Make a paste and apply a liberal amount on the treatment area
  • Let it stay for up to 15 minutes
  • Rinse with lukewarm water and repeat the treatment daily for best results

The efficacy of the treatment can be improved by mixing the paste with olive oil, buttermilk, lemon and honey.

#7 Peppermint Paste

Peppermint has the ability to fade dark spots. The plant is rich in essential oils which have anti-tyrosinase and anti-melanogenic properties. Applying a paste made of the plant’s leaves will help reduce melanin production which effectively reduces the appearance of age spots, sun spots, and other forms of hyperpigmentation.

  • Grind enough leaves to make a paste that will cover the dark spots
  • Apply and let it stay for about 15 minutes
  • Rinse with warm water  
  • Repeat the treatment daily until the desired results are met   

#8 Lemon and Honey

Lemon and honey makes a good combination to deal with dark spots. While the lemon works to reduce pigmentation, honey acts as a natural moisturizer to make the lemon extract soft on the skin. The fruit is rich in vitamin C, an effective tyrosinase inhibitor. This makes lemon good at reducing melanin and lightening the skin.

Vitamin C is also a known antioxidant which is effective in protecting your skin from free radicals.

  • Mix lemon to honey in the ratio 1:2
  • Apply on the affected area and let it stay about 20 minutes
  • Wipe off with a cloth then rinse off using warm water
  • Repeat the treatment daily until results are realised

#9 Almond Paste

The skin lightening properties of almonds have long been used by the society since the ancient times. Almond paste is rich in essential oils and vitamins. The oils are responsible for tyrosinase inhibition which leads to reduction of melanin in the skin. Among the nutrients in the fruit is vitamin E and fatty acids which are effective in nourishing the skin for a smooth and youthful glow. 

  • Soak the fruits in water for about 12 hours
  • Peel off the skin and grind the fruit into a fine paste
  • Apply on the affected area and let it stay for about 15 minutes
  • Wash off with cool water and repeat the treatment daily for best results

You can hasten the treatment by mixing the paste with a little milk.     

How to Prevent Dark Spots

While there are many creams out there that can fade dark spots and lighten the skin in the process, there are some measures that you can take to prevent the formation of those dark spots in the first place. Below are tips that you can follow to achieve this;

Wearing sunscreen whenever you venture out in the sun

Sunlight is responsible for dark spots formation especially on delicate skin. It can also make existing spots worse. Go for sunscreens with high SPF (sun protection factor) depending on the time of the year or region that you come from. It’s also advisable not to unnecessarily step into the sun; especially for long durations- with or without sunscreen.

Avoid irritants that you are allergic to

Allergies are common to most people and vary in severity and cause. Common reactions include troubled breathing and skin irritation which can give rise to dark spots. Typical skin irritants include; plants like poison ivy and poison oak, fragrances, and some household detergents.

Observe skin hygiene

Keeping away dark spots can be as simple as washing yourself up. Use wax and oil free water soluble cleanser to wash your skin at least twice every day. This will effectively unclog skin pores and reduce the formation of whitehead and blackheads, which can cause dark spots.

Avoid popping zits and scratching on acne 

Breaking the skin creates tears that darken as the skin heals. If not checked, you may end up with dark spots all over your body.

Be careful of your hair removal method

Removing excess hair is not only fashionable but it can improve cleanliness and your natural appeal. That said, some hair removal methods are known to irritate the skin leading to formation of dark spots after scratching, such may include; waxing, chemical depilatory, and electrolysis.              

Choose your skin care products wisely

It’s possible to get hyperpigmentation due to use of harsh chemicals on your skin. Go through the product list and keep off products with known skin dark spot triggers such as mercury, over 2% hydroquinone and paraben preservatives.


Dark spots can lower your spirit especially when they are on the most visible part of your body; your face. Fortunately, you don’t have to tolerate them. There are plenty

of fade creams available over the counter that can help you get rid of them. They incorporate several ingredients which work together to inhibit melanin production, exfoliate the skin or encourage skin renewal.

You also have the option of simple DIYs that are known to work with time and consistency. These are simple things that you can easily have in your kitchen but they come loaded with plenty of benefits for your skin.    

Did you know that you don’t have to wait until your face is covered in dark spots to do something about them; there are several measures that you can observe to keep them off or ensure existing ones don’t get worse.


sonia knight

Sonia Knight is the founder of be:skinformed.

Apart from having her own experience with hyperpigmentation, Sonia has gained vast knowledge in the dermatology field. For more info on this, check out our about us page.

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