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We're all for embracing your freckles, but when you're dealing with a large mark that doesn't fade after summer, it's time to take action. "Spots are indicative of cumulative sun damage," Dr. Alster says. They can appear in your mid-twenties, typically on your face, décolletage, and hands. According to a study, uneven skin color can make you look 20 years older. Yikes! Fortunately, there are ways to get even.
Your superstar ingredient: Hydroquinone
Derms consider this skin lightener the gold standard for fading spots. Available in prescription (4 percent) and over-the-counter (2 percent) strengths, it works by breaking down the melanin in spots. If you have sensitive skin, try gentler kojic acid.
How to use it: Apply a thin layer of a brightening serum all over your face twice a day. "This treats any discoloration that hasn't yet surfaced," says Katie Rodan, MD, a dermatologist in Oakland. Top it off with sunscreen.
FITNESS faves: Murad Rapid Age Spot & Pigment Lightening Serum ($60, sephora.com) with hydroquinone, and La Roche-Posay Mela-D Pigment Control ($59, laroche-posay.us) with kojic acid.