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Those little brown spots are evidence that the sun has damaged your skin. And the more time you spend out in the sunshine without sunscreen, the more freckles you’re going to develop. So if you want to get rid of freckles, the first step is to prevent new ones from forming.
- How to Remove Freckles?
- How Do Freckle Removal Creams Work?
- Are There Any Risks to Using Freckle Removal Creams?
- How Long Will It Take to Erase Freckles with a Cream?
- How Else Can I Get Rid of Freckles?
- How Can I Prevent New Freckles?
- Top Freckle Removal Creams
- 1. RESIST Triple-Action Dark Spot Eraser 2% BHA Gel from Paula’s Choice
- 2. Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum
- 3. Clinique ‘Even Better’ Clinical Dark Spot Corrector
- 4. Porcelain Skin Whitening Serum
- 5. Admire My Skin 2% Hydroquinone Dark Spot Corrector
- 6. Organys Skin Brightening Cream
- 7. Nadinola Skin Bleach for Dry Skin
- 8. Nadinola Skin Bleach for Oily Skin
- 9. Swanson L-Glutathione Cream with Setria
- The Best Ingredients for Fighting Freckles
- Other Treatments to Remove Freckles
- Why Does Removing Freckles Take so Long?
- How to Safely Use Hydroquinone Creams
How to Remove Freckles?
You can lighten your skin with freckle removal cream. The most effective formulas contain ingredients like hydroquinone, alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids, vitamin A or retinoids, and antioxidants.
The antioxidants that work best include Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B3 or niacinamide.
How Do Freckle Removal Creams Work?
Different ingredients work in different ways. For example, hydroquinone stops melanin (pigment) production at the source. It bleaches the skin. But hydroquinone is prohibited for sale without a prescription in some countries.
Next, kojic acid works in a similar way. It stops new pigment from forming. You might also see creams with azelaic and mandelic acids.
AHAs and BHAs (those hydroxy acids we mentioned) are exfoliants. They dissolve the bonds between skin cells so that the dead skin sloughs off. The new fresh skin underneath should be lighter in color.
Vitamin A in the form of retinol increases cellular turnover. This fades freckles and improves firmness (so a freckle cream with retinol can erase fine lines, too).
Are There Any Risks to Using Freckle Removal Creams?
Yes, there may be risks involved in using creams to remove freckles. Again, this depends on the ingredients. If you have sensitive skin or a naturally dark skin tone, avoid hydroquinone.
If you have dry skin, you may find that retinol and salicylic acid are too harsh and will cause redness and dryness. Try glycolic or lactic acid instead.
Until you get a feel for how the cream will work, go slow. Be sure to follow the instructions.
How Long Will It Take to Erase Freckles with a Cream?
You should be aware that this is not a quick fix. Freckle creams take time to take effect. Expect a minimum of two weeks before you notice a difference. Then, you may need to continue treatment for a couple of months or longer.
How Else Can I Get Rid of Freckles?
If you’re in a hurry to make freckles go away, talk to a dermatologist about your options. For example, you might get a professional chemical skin peel or undergo laser treatments. These include IPL (pulsed laser light) on a small area or laser skin resurfacing that removes the epidermis over larger patches.
Microdermabrasion may also help.
The more aggressive the treatment, the longer the recovery time you’ll face.
How Can I Prevent New Freckles?
Prevent freckles as well as age spots by applying sunscreen and covering up when you’re outdoors. Not just any sunscreen will do. Use at least SPF30 or SPF50 if your skin is especially pale.
Remember to apply enough sunscreen and reapply after two hours in the sun.
Top Freckle Removal Creams
Let’s explore the best freckle removal creams now, then discuss the pros and cons at the end of the review. We will also include a summary of other treatments that erase skin discoloration.
1. RESIST Triple-Action Dark Spot Eraser 2% BHA Gel from Paula’s Choice
We appreciate Paula’s Choice products because they explain in depth what each component does. Plus, the manufacturer doesn’t include toxins in their products, and everything is cruelty-free.
The RESIST Dark Spot Eraser relies on a safe and effective combination of three tools. First, it contains hydroquinone, the industry-standard for fading discoloration. Next, it has salicylic acid to exfoliate dead skin cells, shrink pores, and reduce skin irritation.
Finally, there’s a cocktail of antioxidants reverse signs of aging and help skin look younger and radiant. To get the most out of this fade cream, be sure to apply a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher when you go outside.
If you have sensitive skin, the RESIST Dark Spot Eraser is the safest choice for you. There’s no artificial fragrance, no parabens, and plenty of soothing ingredients like aloe and allantoin.
2. Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum
Murad’s Rapid Age Spot Lightening Serum contains 2% hydroquinone to help fight freckles. But just interrupting melanin production isn’t enough if you’re in a hurry to erase freckles. The formula also has glycolic acid, a gentle and effective exfoliator. It speeds up cell turnover so that skin looks brighter as soon as possible.
There’s also an ingredient called Hexapeptide-2 that encourages the growth of collagen and elastin to make skin look firmer and younger. To get the most out of Murad’s fade cream, be sure to apply sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection.
3. Clinique ‘Even Better’ Clinical Dark Spot Corrector
Clinique’s Dark Spot Corrector is clinically proven to lighten dark spots by more than half within three months. Even after one month, you should be able to see a difference.
The benefits of choosing a product from Clinique is that it’s allergy-tested and made by a well-known manufacturer. They recommend applying the corrector morning and night, and it’s gentle enough to use all year long.
The formula does not contain hydroquinone. Instead, it depends on several botanical extracts like grapefruit peel, turmeric root, birch bark, and mulberry root. It also contains salicylic acid and vitamin E.
I can’t emphasize this enough. If you’ve never tried skin lightening creams before, stick to the big brands like Clinique. They have a comprehensive in-house testing program to ensure their products are safe.
4. Porcelain Skin Whitening Serum
The Porcelain Skin Whitening Serum is quite popular for several reasons. First off, the manufacturer offers a 45-day money-back guarantee if you don’t see results. Next, there are no fragrances, parabens, sulfates, or phthalates in the formula. In fact, most of the ingredients are natural.
The main active component is hydroquinone. But there’s also kojic acid, which also inhibits melanin production. While those two ingredients stop the formation of new dark spots and fade the freckles you already have, glycolic acid will remove the old, dead skin. Finally, the formula contains licorice root to soothe sensitive skin and protect against redness and irritation.
5. Admire My Skin 2% Hydroquinone Dark Spot Corrector
The Admire My Skin Dark Spot Corrector is so powerful they put a warning in the product description. They say if you’ve used the product continuously for 60 days, you’ll need to take a 30-day break from it.
It contains all the most powerful ingredients to lighten freckles and other discolorations. For example, it has 2% hydroquinone as well as kojic acid. Both of these components stop the skin from producing melanin.
Next, the formula has exfoliators like lactic acid, azelaic acid, and salicylic acid. These three ingredients get rid of dead skin cells and clean out pores. Azelaic acid is also good for skin issues.
You’ll also find Vitamin C, a substance that naturally lightens skin. And there’s witch hazel, a gentle astringent.
6. Organys Skin Brightening Cream
The Organys Skin Brightening Cream avoids irritating ingredients like fragrances, parabens, sulfates, gluten, and phthalates. Instead, they prefer to manufacture with amino acids and yeast proteins in small batches. Their formula is also cruelty-free.
There’s no hydroquinone. Instead, you’ll find arbutin, vitamin E, resveratrol, Mallow extract, green tea, and other botanical components. If you try it for 45 days and don’t love it, you can return the bottle for a 100% refund.
7. Nadinola Skin Bleach for Dry Skin
If you have freckles and dry skin, try the Nadinola Fade Cream. The manufacturer is a company called J. Strickland & Co that’s been in business since 1936.
This skin bleach claims to work on freckles, age spots, liver spots, and other discolorations. Its active ingredients are 3% ethyl hexyl salicylate and 2% hydroquinone. Ethyl hexyl salicylate is the chemical name for octyl salicylate, a component that absorbs UVB radiation and often appears in sunscreens.
Meanwhile, hydroquinone stops the skin from making too much melanin, or pigment. As a result, brown spots gradually fade. If you apply hydroquinone every day, you should see freckles disappearing within 2 to 3 months.
If you have sensitive skin, you may want to pass on this cream. That’s because it contains parabens, propylene glycol, a fragrance, and mineral oil. Those are all ingredients that can cause irritation.
8. Nadinola Skin Bleach for Oily Skin
Nadinola’s Fade Cream for oily skin contains 3% hydroquinone plus citric acid to fade discoloration. It also has 3% octisalate to protect you from the sun.
The manufacturer states that this formula also controls shine. We’re not sure how it does that because the other ingredients listed on the label consist of water, parabens and other preservatives, a fragrance, an emulsifier, and a lubricant. Again, if you have sensitive acne prone skin, it might be wise to look at a different product.
9. Swanson L-Glutathione Cream with Setria
Glutathione is a relatively new skin treatment. This rich moisturizer created by Swanson has the appealing side effect of fading dark spots. Users with acne scars and liver spots have been praising it.
The Best Ingredients for Fighting Freckles
Here is some more information on combating freckles with topical treatments. Let’s begin with time-tested remedies.
First, hydroquinone is the best-known cure for hyperpigmentation. It interrupts the production of melanin, the substance in your body that creates freckles. Kojic acid and licorice root can do the same thing, gradually bleaching your skin to a lighter color.
Kojic acid is made from fermented rice and fungus. As a result, it’s more stable than hydroquinone. Hydroquinone can go bad quickly if it’s exposed to air so keep it in a sealed container.
Next, you might also find fade creams with mulberry, madder, and bearberry extracts like arbutin. All of these natural ingredients break down to form hydroquinone when they absorb into the skin.
Generally speaking, you want to combine hydroquinone with a chemical peel like salicylic, lactic, or glycolic acid. That’s to speed up the removal of old skin cells with the darker pigmentation in favor of new ones with less coloration. An exfoliant also helps the chemical lightener penetrate deeper. And these alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids are gentle and effective compared to apricot scrubs and the like.
Finally, the antioxidant is gaining in popularity, too. Although intravenous injections are risky, topical treatments with this ingredient fade discoloration caused by acne scars and sun damage.
Other Treatments to Remove Freckles
Besides using a bleaching cream, there are other ways to remove freckles. Let’s look at the pros and cons of these other treatments below.
1. Laser IPL Treatments
A dermatologist can use intense pulses of laser light (IPL) to fade freckles. In clinical trials, this was successful for more than 60% of the participants. The most common side effects are redness, itching, swelling, and peeling. It can take up to two weeks to recover from a single treatment. And a person will usually need multiple sessions to remove freckles and age spots completely.
2. Chemical Peel
You can also do a chemical peel in a dermatologist’s office. The doctor may use trichloroacetic or glycolic acid to penetrate down past the epidermis. A treatment like this is more powerful than exfoliating at home, and it may cause redness, stinging, and irritation. It can take up to two weeks to heal completely. And in the meantime, you’ll need to perform daily self-care like applying ointment.
Some dermatologists may offer cryosurgery to remove larger spots. It uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill abnormal skin cells. It doesn’t take long to recover from this treatment.
4. Topical Creams with Retinoid Compounds
If you suffer from acne, you may be familiar with retinoids. Retinoids come from Vitamin A. On the downside, creams with retinoid can cause irritation and dryness.
5. Home Remedies to Remove Freckles
Home remedies are usually less effective than dermatological treatments and bleaching creams. On the other hand, they’re also a lot less expensive. And these are backed up by science:
- Lactic acid from buttermilk, sour cream, or yogurt
- Vitamin C from lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange juice
In either case, you’ll want to apply the substance to your skin and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before you wash. Plan on repeating this process at least once a day for several weeks.
Why Does Removing Freckles Take so Long?
It takes weeks or even months to fade freckles. The UV radiation that caused the damage in the first place might have taken years to cause the discoloration. And skin bleaching creams usually only stop new freckles from appearing, unless they have ingredients that speed up cellular turnover.
The ingredients that speed up the removal of dark-colored patches are exfoliators like salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids. But those take time to work, too.
Stick with a freckle removal cream for at least a month. By that time, you should see at least a slight change. Several companies offer a money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with the results after 45 or 60 days.
If you’re in a hurry to get rid of your freckles, visit a dermatologist to investigate other treatments.
How to Safely Use Hydroquinone Creams
For a while, hydroquinone had a bad reputation. But the problem had to do with how it was manufactured, not the chemical itself.
In rare cases, it’s possible to develop patches of darker skin as a result of overusing hydroquinone. It’s smart to test your new whitening cream on a small patch of skin before you apply it to a larger area. Some people may notice mild redness and itching that should fade within a short amount of time.
Don’t use hydroquinone near your mouth, nose, or eyes. And don’t use medicated products with peroxide on the same patch of skin at the same time. Combining benzoyl peroxide or hydrogen peroxide with hydroquinone will darken your skin. That’s the exact opposite of what you want!
After you’ve washed your skin and dried it, apply the freckle removal cream first. Once the cream has dried, then you can apply a moisturizer, sunscreen, and other cosmetics.
Finally, keep hydroquinone creams stored in an airtight container. And pay attention to expiration dates because the product will lose its effectiveness over time.
If you hate your freckles, there’s hope for you. Try a freckle removal cream and watch as your skin color lightens over time. It may take a month or two, but you can make those spots fade away.
If you’ve had success with one of these products, we’d love to know. Please leave us a comment below.
Related: Skintology MD review