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Natural Skin Lighteners

Hoping to lighten up scarring, freckles or dark spots on your skin? Skin lightening—a cosmetic technique used to obtain an even skin tone by reducing the amount of melanin in your skin—may be the answer. There are many natural skin brightening ingredients that can reduce dark spots and hyperpigmentation, giving you results that rival those of harsher treatments—minus the harmful effects.

To help you choose which serum or moisturizer will be your new holy grail, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites. These products contain a range of ingredients that can help with common skin conditions like age spots, acne scars and melasma. We’ve broken down some of these natural ingredients to help you understand what they mean, what is appropriate for you, and what to avoid so that you can have healthy, bright, even-toned skin.

Natural Skin Lighteners That Work

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a water-soluble alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that is derived from sugar cane. It is one of the most well-known and widely used alpha-hydroxy acids in the skincare industry. Glycolic acid exfoliates the outermost dead layer of the skin and improves the reflection of light on the skin thereby increasing skin luminosity. This natural skin brightener also reduces wrinkles and treats acne prone skin. 

Try: Glytone Enhance Brightening Complex

Glytone Enhance Brightening Complex 1 fl. oz.
Glytone Enhance Brightening Complex 1 fl. oz.

Glytone Enhance Brightening Complex

$74.00

Kojic Acid

Kojic acid is derived from mushroom-like fungi during fermentation. Unlike other acids that work by dissolving the bonds between the cells and exfoliating the skin, kojic acid works by inhibiting pigment production. Kojic acid can help scavenge and counteract skin-damaging free radicals caused by exposure to things such as UV damage and pollution.

Try: iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+

iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+ 1 oz
iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+ 1 oz

iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+

$155.00

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from fermented milk. It’s one of the mildest ingredients you can use for skin lightening. Lactic acid stays on the outer layers of the skin and buffs away dead skin cells which, in turn, brightens skin and unclogs pores. Because this acid doesn’t penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, it is more tolerable for those with sensitive skin.

Try: Sanitas Skincare Hydrating Brightening Solution

Sanitas Skincare Hydrating Brightening Solution 3.4 fl oz
Sanitas Skincare Hydrating Brightening Solution 3.4 fl oz

Sanitas Skincare Hydrating Brightening Solution

$29.00
Osmosis MD Correct Preventative Retinal Serum 1 fl oz
Osmosis MD Correct Preventative Retinal Serum 1 fl oz

Osmosis MD Correct Preventative Retinal Serum

$86.00

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a mega antioxidant that should be part of everyone’s skincare routine—regardless of age or skin type. Vitamin C can stave off free radical damage from pollution, the sun, smoking and stress—to name a few. Vitamin C is also a magic wrinkle fighting ingredient that boosts collagen production and firms the skin. Vitamin C inhibits tyrosinase, the enzyme that fuels melanin pigment production.

Try: iS Clinical Super Serum Advance+

iS Clinical Super Serum Advance+ 1 oz
iS Clinical Super Serum Advance+ 1 oz

iS Clinical Super Serum Advance+

$155.00

Willow Bark Extract

Willow bark extract is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that helps to exfoliate the skin and encourage cell turnover. Willow bark is composed of salicin, the natural form of salicylic acid—which helps the skin shed dead skin cells. You can find willow-bark extract in spot treatments, serums and exfoliating peels.

Try: iS Clinical Brightening Complex

iS Clinical Brightening Complex
iS Clinical Brightening Complex

iS Clinical Brightening Complex

$145.00

Niacinamide

Niacinamide, or vitamin B3, is a gentle yet powerful skin care ingredient that’s having a moment right now. Niacinamide helps reduce hyperpigmentation, brightening the skin by inhibiting the transfer of melanin. When applied topically, Niacinamide has been shown to reduce trans-epidermal water loss, thereby improving moisture levels and the skin’s moisture barrier. This ingredient is extremely stable and is not affected by heat or light like other chemical ingredients.

Try: PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum

PCA SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum
PCA SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum

PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum

$117.00

Mulberry Extract 

Mulberry extract is a natural brightening agent derived from the mulberry plant. Mulberry plants have several compounds that have been extracted from both roots and stems, with known ability to block tyrosinase, the enzyme involved in the production of melanin. Some studies have shown mulberry extract to be as powerful as kojic acid. If your skin doesn’t agree with kojic acid or is sensitive, mulberry extract is a great alternative.

Try: PCA SKIN Vitamin B3 Brightening Serum

PCA Skin B3 Brightening Serum 1 fl. oz.
PCA Skin B3 Brightening Serum 1 fl. oz.

PCA Skin Vitamin B3 Brightening Serum

$117.00

Show Your Body a Little Love

We tend to focus all of our attention on our face and forget the wear and tear on the rest of our body. Luckily, there are some great natural skin lightening products to help keep the rest of your skin looking just as healthy and beautiful.  

Try: Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash 

Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash 6.7 fl. oz.
Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash 6.7 fl. oz.

Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash

$33.00
Sanitas Skincare PeptiDerm Neck + Chest Peel Pads (25 ct)
Sanitas Skincare PeptiDerm Neck + Chest Peel Pads (25 ct)

Sanitas Skincare PeptiDerm Neck + Chest Peel Pads

$62.00