SkinMedica's Lytera Skin Brightening Complex ($130)
SkinMedica’s Lytera Skin Brightening Complex is proof that good things come to those who wait. In clinical studies, patients saw improvement in as little as four weeks, however, 85% reported an overall better skin condition after 12. At $130, the Lytera Complex brightens the skin and minimizes skin discoloration as well as the appearance of dark spots. Besides retinol, this skin brightener contains niacinamide to enhance moisturization and promote an even skin tone, and licorice root extract to brighten the skin, combined with several other brighteners. It is hydroquinone-free and was formulated to be safe for all skin types. However, this SkinMedica product does come with a warning not to use if you are pregnant, lactating, or intend to become pregnant. The company has also reported minor side effects from the use of the complex, including redness, tingling, and dryness. So, use with caution, but know that this product offers tangible proof of its effectiveness.