As far as dark spot serums go, I used to personally prefer 4% hydroquinone over just about anything else for anyone with light to medium skin tones. That said, some people just don’t like hydroquinone and believe it’s unsafe. I’ve read the literature, didn’t agree that it’s unsafe in 2-4% OTC concentrations, and stuck by it as my #1 recommendation for dark spots for a long time.
For those people who won’t go near hydroquinone, the next level of skin lighteners for dark spots is as follows: Vitamins C and E, alpha hydroxy acids (like glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, malic acid), kojic acid, licorice root, arbutin, and soy. And, whaddaya know, Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum contains fair to high concentrations of all of these ingredients.
In doing research for this post, I found that Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum may actually be more effective than 2-4% hydroquinone products: In at least one study, kojic acid combined with glycolic acid was more effective than 10% glycolic acid or 4% hydroquinone alone for the treatment of hyperpigmentation. Another study by Lim et. al. found that 2% kojic acid in combination with 10% glycolic acid and 2% hydroquinone further improved melasma symptoms over a mixture of 10% glycolic acid and 2% hydroquinone alone.
While I’m not sure Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum has 10% glycolic acid (in fact, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t, since it has 10% ascorbic acid and glycolic acid is considerably further down the list), it does have the kojic acid + glycolic acid concentrations mentioned in the first study (I’m pretty sure, at least, I can’t tell without knowing the exact formulation).
After about 6-8 weeks of nightly use, this product should significantly reduce the appearance of dark spots. I’m a fan.
Ingredients in Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum: Water/Aqua/Eau, Ethoxydiglycol, Ascorbic Acid, Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Kojic Acid, Dimethyl Isosorbide, PVM/MA Decadiene Crosspolymer, Tocopherol, Mandelic Acid, Ferulic Acid, Arbutin, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Morus Alba Bark Extract, Azelaic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Quercetin, Phospholipids, Soy Isoflavones, Ergocalciferol, Panthenol, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 80, Disodium EDTA, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol