Most skin-lightening and brightening treatments are vegan-friendly by default. Thus, vegan skincare is as effective in fading dark spots as any other type of skincare.
See our collection of the best vegan skincare for dark spots. Lighten dark spots, age spots, and other types of hyperpigmentation with these vegan skincare products.
PS all products below are vegan and cruelty-free, meaning they are free of animal-derived ingredients and have not been tested on animals. 💚
Best Vegan Skincare Products For Dark Spots
Here are the best vegan skincare products for dark spots and hyperpigmentation in 2023.
Olehenriksen Dewtopia 20% Acid Night Treatment is the best vegan skincare product for dark spots. With AHAs, PHAs, and lemon enzymes, this serum exfoliates the skin and visibly lightens dark spots over time. We also recommend their vegan-friendly Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner.
Featuring skin-lightening tranexamic acid, this vegan serum is excellent for treating dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Together transexamic acid and vitamin c also even skin tone and reduce dark circles. This dark spot treatment is also very affordable.
Another affordable yet effective vegan dark spot treatment is this Brightening 2% Alpha Arbutin Serum from Acure. The serum visibly reduces dark spots and also stops new ones from forming. We like that this serum also has hydrating vegan hyaluronic acid.
Featuring a trio of skin-brightening ingredients such as vitamin C, transexamic acid, and ferulic acid, this vegan serum is ideal for reducing dark spots and hyperpigmentation. It has a lovely sweet scent and it layers well with other skincare products.
Bliss Pumpkin Powerhouse Enzyme Mask is the best vegan face mask for dark spots. It gently exfoliates the skin and fades dark spots with pumpkin and papaya enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids. Rich in vitamins, shea butter, and prebiotics, the mask leaves a lovely glow.
esurfacing & Exfoliating
While Sunday Riley’s C.E.O Glow Serum is not vegan, their face oil totally is. This antioxidant-packed oil is a natural way to brighten skin tone and lighten dark spots and age spots with vitamin C and turmeric. Just be careful with face oils if you have oily or acne-prone skin.
Best Vegan Skincare Ingredients For Dark Spots
These vegan skincare ingredients are best for treating dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C is one of the most effective ingredients in treating and preventing dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C is also vegan. See more vegan vitamin C skincare here.
- Retinol – A potent anti-aging and anti-acne ingredient, retinol is also effective in pigmentation disorders and lightening dark spots. In skincare, retinol is usually vegan. See our selection of vegan retinols.
- AHAs – Exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids are great for lightening dark spots and hyperpigmentation and revealing a brighter and more even skin tone. AHAs in skincare are vegan. See more vegan AHA skincare here.
- Turmeric – Rich in polyphenols and curcuminoids, this natural vegan ingredient has been scientifically proven to reduce hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
- Alpha arbutin – Alpha arbutin is a fantastic skin depigmenting agent that helps fade dark spots, age spots, and other discolorations. Derived from dried berry leaves, alpha arbutin is vegan.
- Tranexamic acid – Tranexamic acid is effective in whitening UV-induced dark spots and melasma. Tranexamic acid also pairs well with niacinamide which can help to boost tranexamic acid’s lightening effect significantly. Tranexamic acid is synthetically made and vegan.
- Hydroquinone – Hydroquinone is an excellent dark spot lightener, this ingredient can be both animal-derived and plant-based. From 2020, hydroquinone is only available with a prescription in the USA.
- Kojic acid– A skin-bleaching agent, kojic acid acts similarly to hydroquinone. Kojic acid is an effective over-the-counter treatment for dark spots, freckles, and postinflammatory pigmentation. Kojic acid is plant-derived and vegan.
- Azelaic acid – Azelaic acid is also used for targeting hyperpigmentation and dark spots. The ingredient is both skin-friendly and vegan-friendly.
- Ferulic acid – Ferulic acid fights dark spots and dark circles and helps even out the skin tone. Derived from plants and herbs, ferulic acid is always vegan in skincare.
Other effective vegan ingredients to lighten dark spots include niacinamide, BHA, soy extract, licorice, mulberry, and green tea. N acetyl glucosamine is also good at reducing dark spots – this ingredient can be either plant-based or fish-derived.
Vegan Skincare Routine For Dark Spots
To treat dark spots, the main step in your vegan skincare routine should be a brightening vegan serum featuring vitamin C or alpha arbutin. Retinol serums are also excellent for fighting hyperpigmentation and evening out skin tone.
Exfoliating your skin regularly can also help to fade dark spots. For that purpose, we suggest a vegan exfoliator with AHAs or a vegan face mask with plant enzymes. If you choose to use a face scrub, be careful, so you do not damage your skin and cause more signs of aging.
If you have normal or dry skin, consider also including a vegan face oil in your routine. Made with turmeric or vitamin C, face oils can improve skin tone and reduce hyperpigmentation. Just skip a face oil if your skin is oily or acne-prone.
And whatever you do, do not forget to use vegan sunscreen every day to prevent more UV-induced damage and increased hyperpigmentation on your skin.
FAQ About Vegan Skincare For Dark Spots
Vegan skincare can be good for dark spots as the best ingredients for treating dark spots are already vegan-friendly (e.g vitamin C, retinol, AHAs).
The best skincare for dark spots includes Olehenriksen Dewtopia 20% Acid Night Treatment, The Inkey List Tranexamic Acid Serum, and Acure 2% Alpha Arbutin Serum.
No. SkinCeuticals is not a cruelty-free company (meaning still tests on animals) so none of its products can be considered vegan.
Getting rid of dark spots won’t happen overnight but there are some good-quality vegan skincare products that can help you fade and lighten dark spots over time.
Our favorite vegan treatments for improving hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone come from Olehenriksen, The Inkey List, Acure, and Glow Recipe.
As we find more cruelty-free vegan products that are effective in treating dark spots, we will add them to this article.
See also: Best Vegan Vitamin C Serums
Article update on May 04 (2023): Fact checked and medically reviewed by MD Shimona Garg
Article update on February 18 (2023): Added more references
Article update on February 20 (2023): Expanded the lit of vegan-friendly ingredients to help fight dark spots, added azelaic acid, niacinamide, soy, licorice, N acetyl glucosamine, BHA, mulberry, green tea, ferulic acid