Illuminating Dark Spot Corrector Review – Beauty Miracle or Hype?

By Lydia Noyes
HighYa Staff Published on: Mar 12, 2019

If you’re looking to banish the signs of sun-induced aging from your face, then City Beauty’s Illuminating Dark Spot Corrector may appeal to you. This product promises to erase the appearance of dark spots from your skin so that you’re left with a brighter, more youthful complexion.

According to the company website, the Illuminating Dark Spot Corrector can be used on your face, arms, hands, neck or anywhere else that you’d like to even out your skin tone. They claim that the product will render your dark spots almost invisible as soon as you use it and that you’ll develop a more radiant glow after continued use.

Those are big claims, but can the dark spot corrector deliver? Let’s look at the details to help you decide.

How Does the Illuminating Dark Spot Corrector Work?

According to City Beauty, the Illuminating Dark Spot Correct is ideal for hiding the signs of hyperpigmentation on all skin types.

All you need to do is rub a small amount of serum into the area of concern, and they state that you’ll notice an immediate difference in your skin tone. The company suggests using the product at least twice a week for the best long-term results.

That sounds impressive, but does the Illuminating Dark Spot Corrector really contain the necessary ingredients to fade your hyperpigmentation? Let’s look at the ingredients list to learn more.

What Ingredients are In the Illuminating Dark Spot Corrector?

City Beauty reports that the Illuminating Dark Spot Corrector contains the more than 30 ingredients, including some of the following:

  • Water
  • Glycerin
  • Resveratrol
  • Safflower seed oil
  • Oat kernel extract

Other ingredients included: magnesium aspartate, alcohol denat., PEG-100 stearate, sodium cocoyl amino acids, sarcosine, potassium aspartate, stearic acid, alpha-arbutin, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, allantoin, aminomethyl propanol, titanium dioxide, trideceth-6, sepiwhite-MSH™ and fragrance (parfum).

What can we learn from this list? While we don’t claim to be chemists, we investigated each of these ingredients on the Environmental Working Group cosmetics database to get a sense of what they offer and any risk factors associated with them.

As with many City Beauty products and most other skin care lines, we found that the majority of these ingredients act as moisturizers, emollients, skin conditioning agents, preservatives, fragrances, and cleansing agents that have few (if any) known adverse side effects associated with them.

The City Beauty website highlights three ingredients as the active components within the corrector, so we’ll give them a more in-depth look below.

Alpha Arbutin

Known by the company as a Tyrosinase inhibitor, alpha arbutin promotes a lightening effect on your skin by stopping it from over-producing pigment.

Beauty site Truth in Aging tells us that the compound as it’s used in cosmetics is a synthetic form of a component in bearberry plants, and it can prevent your skin from tanning during sun exposure while creating an overall brighter appearance.


This third-party proprietary ingredient is an amino acid that City Beauty claims will reduce melanin production by 24% and reduce the appearance of age spots by 73%.

According to Truth in Aging, the compound is considered a breakthrough age spot fader that works as well as hydroquinone, a common dark spot lightening ingredient that some experts recommend avoiding because of possible carcinogenic effects.


Found in the skin of grapes, resveratrol is a polyphenol that shows promise for treating skin discoloration and hyperpigmentation.

In a 2013 article from CBS News, University of Florida Associate Professor Heather Huasenblas noted that those who took oral doses of resveratrol for at least sixty days experience improvement in skin elasticity, texture and moisturization.

Are there any side effects with Illuminating Dark Spot Ingredients?

Our research with the EWG database uncovered a few ingredients you might want to be aware of in this serum, which are listed below:

  • Peg-100 Stearate: A cleansing agent that triggers organ problems in some people.
  • Titanium dioxide: Used in numerous body care products as a colorant, but it can cause problems to your organs if you inhale too much of it.
  • Phenoxyethanol: Commonly used as a cosmetics fragrance and preservative, phenoxyethanol is a known skin irritant.
  • Dimethicone: Used as a lubricant and conditioning agent, this silicon-based polymer can irritate sensitive skin and trigger organ problems.
  • Aminomethyl Propanol: This buffering agent can irritate those with sensitive skin.

What does the Illuminating Dark Spot Corrector Cost?

At the time of writing, the Illuminating Dark Spot Corrector is only available for sale on the City Beauty website. The company offered each one-ounce jar at pricing that rewards larger purchases: one bottle costs $49, two cost $88 ($44 each), and three cost $117 ($39 each).

The company offers a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, meaning that you can try the corrector for two months before deciding if you like it. If you don’t like your results, the company states you can contact them at 1-800-347-1558 for a full refund.

Which Products are Similar to the Illuminating Dark Spot Corrector?

If you’re on the fence about whether City Beauty’s Illuminating Dark Spot Corrector makes sense for you, several other products are worth considering, including the Ecco Bella Beauty Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and the KissRedE Dark Spot Corrector.

The Ecco Bella Beauty Serum relies on hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to keep your face soft and youthful. It’s branded as a wrinkle and acne scar remover as well as a way to diminish dark spots. Amazon customers award it 4.5 stars after more than 100 reviews, and it costs $14.99 for a one-ounce bottle (compared to $49 for the City Beauty serum).

Like the City Beauty Serum, the KissRedE Dark Spot Corrector is explicitly branded as a dark spot remover. According to Amazon, reviewers gave it an average of 3.9 stars, with dozens of people reporting that it successfully lightened their skin where they applied it.

The product copy shows that it relies on a “synergistic blend of natural and holistic botanical ingredients” like DMAE, MSM, hyaluronic acid, and green tea extract. At the time of writing, a one-ounce bottle retailed for $17.99.

Our View: What’s the Best Way to Reduce Your Dark Spots?

As this research shows, there’s a lot of reason to consider trying skin serums like City Beauty’s Illuminating Dark Spot Corrector to improve your skin’s complexion. However, even the best skin care products will struggle to remove the signs of skin damage altogether. A better option is to prevent them from occurring entirely.

If you want to keep your skin looking ageless, one of the best things you can do is keep it safe from sun exposure. Seek out skincare products with ingredients like zinc oxide, and check in with your dermatologist often so that you can stay on top of potential skin problems before they worsen.

For treating those dark spots that have already developed, we recommend taking the advice in our article about how to handle dark spots on your skin to get started.

It will walk you through the common causes of dark spots in more detail, as well as the different treatment options for dark spots on your face and body, and the prescription and over-the-counter products we most recommend for treating them.

Healthline tells us that dark spots on the skin are a symptom of hyperpigmentation, which is caused by numerous factors, including sun exposure, acne scars, and hormonal changes. Fading these spots takes time and attention, and there are dozens of skincare products that promise to deliver just that.

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