Looking to fade dark spots, zap sun damage and even out the color of your skin overall? Skin lightening creams do help. Most products work in the same manner. They stop the enzyme that makes the cells that generate the color in your skin -- otherwise known as melanin. A few key ingredients can accomplish this: hydroquinone, arbutin, and kojic acid. Both DermaE Skin Lighten and Clinical Care (Skin)Solutions Go Spot Go work well.
Patience is key if you decide to try one of these products. Because of the life cycle of skin cells and the color-making process, you'll wait about 8 to 12 weeks before you begin to see a real difference. Some doctors suggest using a retinoid product (such as Retin-A) along with the lightener to help speed things up.
The dark side, so to speak, to slathering on these creams -- particularly the strongest ones -- can be skin irritation and a greater risk of sunburn. So
use sunscreen (SPF 30) every day, even when it rains. Steroid creams such as hydrocortisone reduce inflammation and creams rich in antioxidants can help with irritation and protect your skin from further damage.