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Discoloration Defense Skin discoloration serum

Discoloration Defense is rated 3.8 out of 5 by 82.
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Daily dark spot corrector targets visible skin discoloration for brighter, more even-looking skin

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Product Details

Discoloration Defense is a layerable, daily-use dark spot corrector clinically proven to reduce the appearance of key types of skin discoloration, including hard-to-treat forms such as stubborn brown patches and post-acne marks. Formulated with 3% tranexamic acid, 1% kojic acid, 5% niacinamide, and 5% HEPES, this latest-generation formula improves the appearance of skin discoloration, brightens skin, and evens skin tone in as early as 2 weeks.

  • Features a synergistic blend of anti-discoloration ingredients to reduce the appearance of skin discoloration, improve brightness, and minimize the reoccurrence of discoloration (with continued use)
  • 60% average improvement in the appearance of stubborn brown patches
  • Paraben-, fragrance-, silicone-, gluten-, and hydroquinone-free
  • Ideal at-home complement to professional skin discoloration treatments, such as chemical peels or non-ablative laser; always consult with a physician for individual regimen recommendations

How To Use

  • Twice daily, apply 3-5 drops of this skin discoloration serum to the face.
  • If using in the morning, apply after a SkinCeuticals vitamin C serum and follow with a SkinCeuticals broad spectrum SPF 50+ sunscreen.
  • Limit sun exposure while using this product.
  • Do not use on irritated or broken skin. If irritation occurs, discontinue use.
  • Visible Results

  • before

    In a 12-week clinical study, Discoloration Defense significantly improved the appearance of key skin discoloration markers:

    • 60% average improvement in the appearance of stubborn brown patches
    • 59% average improvement in the appearance of skin discoloration
    • 81% average improvement in the appearance of post-acne marks
    • 59% average improvement in the appearance of even skin tone

    See Protocol

    Protocol: Average results shown. A 12-week, single-center, clinical study was conducted on 50 females, ages 25 to 60, Fitzpatrick I-IV, with mild to moderate facial skin discoloration, including stubborn dark spots, post-acne marks, and uneven skin tone. Discoloration Defense was applied to the face twice a day in conjunction with a sunscreen. Efficacy and tolerability evaluations were conducted at baseline and at weeks 2, 4, 8, and 12.

  • Science & Proof

  • Science

    Everyday elements—including UV exposure, prescription drugs, and some professional treatments—can trigger production of melanin in the skin’s lowest epidermal layers. This excess melanin rises to the surface of the skin, causing visible skin discoloration. Discoloration can manifest in a range of ways, including post-acne marks and stubborn brown patches on the cheekbones, forehead, and upper lip.

    Discoloration Defense is the latest-generation dark spot corrector, using a combination of potent and proven anti-discoloration ingredients—including new tranexamic acid—to address key types of skin discoloration.

Key Ingredients

  • 3% Tranexamic Acid
  • 1% Kojic Acid
  • 5% Niacinamide
  • 5% HEPES

This synthetically-derived ingredient minimizes the reoccurrence of skin discoloration and stubborn brown patches with continued use.

Learn more about Tranexamic Acid

See all ingredients

Aqua / Water, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Glycerin, Tranexamic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Kojic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Allantoin, Chlorphenesin, Xanthan Gum, Disodium Edta

Physician Insight

Physician image

I recommend Discoloration Defense between chemical peels- this formula targets stubborn types of discoloration but is gentle on my patients’ skin, making it ideal for an at-home regimen between treatments.

Dr. Sarah Sawyer

Learn about Dr. Sarah Sawyer

Complete Your Regimen


Rated 5 out of 5 by from This works! I’m half way through my bottle and WOW! I’ve been battling vascular malasma and age spots for 20 years. From high end lasers, IPL to OTC products- nothing worked. This product has reduced my discoloration by 80%. A definite repurchase for me!!
Date published: 2020-04-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from People are talking I received this product as a free giveaway. I’ve been using it twice a day. Though I do not see any difference, I’ve been told twice recently that “I look great”. Something must be working.
Date published: 2020-04-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This product is good I have used it for a while and saw good results. I am currently pregnant, should I continue using this product?
Date published: 2020-02-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointed Bought and been using it for more than 6 months now.. absolutely no results ... and I don’t feel it’s right to ask consumers to buy another product from the line ... this product is expensive enough and should be working as per its functions and name... very sad!
Date published: 2020-02-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not happy with product This was recommended to me at a Med spa. I’ve used it for about 6 weeks now. I’ve seen no changes in my skin. I paid a lot of money and I’m not happy. Do you guarantee your products? I think hydroquinone is way more effective along with retin a. Don’t waste your money.
Date published: 2019-12-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I enjoy it It’s not as good as hydroquinone. It is a milder alternative. I’m black and my spots are lighter now but I’m not sure if it’s because of this product or because of natural healing that would have occurred. However, this is still one of my favorite serums from skinceuticals because my face looks and feel good afterwards. I’m not sure much can compare with hydroquinone though. My face is more luminous but i’m just not sure i’m seeing the lightening that I want. i still enjoy using this product.
Date published: 2019-12-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from HORRIBLE...HORRIBLE PRODUCT I purchase this product a few months ago, I've seen no change in my dark spots. Your better off using Sunday Riley or Murad for dark spot.
Date published: 2019-11-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Unfortunately I bought this in June after recommendation from my dermatologist, unfortunately it didn't do what I expected it to. I tried thinking to give it some more time to work in but it didnt help my issue.
Date published: 2019-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Husband Noticed I’ve been using Discoloration Defense for over a month, twice a day. My husband came home from a long business trip and he noticed the difference in my skin. I suffer from skin redness and any sun exposure gives me little darkened patches. The Discoloration Defense has greatly reduced my skin’s redness and sun damage. My skin tone is more even and my face is more pale (in a good way-before my face was darker than my neck and it looked funny). I’ll be using this product in my daily regimen for the foreseeable future.
Date published: 2019-09-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Just finished my 2nd bottle and NO DIFFERENCE. Really disappointing. I have used this twice a day (I apply it 20 mins after my CE Ferulic serum every day. I wait another 15 minutes and apply my sunscreen. ) Absolutely no detectable decrease in my skin pigmentation which was caused by pregnancy. I have even photographed my skin every few months since first purchasing this to see if there would be any change. There was absolutely no difference.
Date published: 2019-09-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Don’t buy this I bought this product from my doctor’s office. I used it on 1 hand for 10 weeks. When I went back for a followup appointment, no one could tell which hand I used it on. The nurses couldn’t tell me which side of my face I had used Phloetin CF either. What a waste of nearly $300! You won’t know if a product is working unless you test it on 1/2 of your body to know if it is helping or not. Save your money.
Date published: 2019-09-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Unsure I purchased this product based on a few recommendations including my dermatologist so needless to say I had high hopes. I used the product consistently for a few months and unfortunately, I have noticed little change to my hyperpigmentation and melasma. Also, the appearance of the product/serum has darkened (brownish color) over time so I'm unsure if the efficacy has been compromised.
Date published: 2019-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favorite This stuff works miracles! As I am with every Skin Ceuticals products, first day of using it I was complimented. Difference with this one is I noticed the change. My eyes looked better. The entirety of skin on my face was simply healthier looking.
Date published: 2019-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW! I get terrible ingrown from shaving my legs and then I have a terrible nervous habit of picking, which as led to some embarrassing scars on my legs. Many products are not always intended for use for anywhere other than the face. I bought this product to try it out on my legs. While I know that it will not completely get rid of the scaring, I have already noticed that the brown spots have faded significantly. The darker ones will need more work but I am optimistic!
Date published: 2019-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice Product I received the deluxe sample of this product and have loved what it's done for the evenness of my skin tone. My skin is more even and glowy. It also faded some long-lasting post-acne marks. Very pleased with this product!
Date published: 2019-08-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from No Change I used this product as directed until the bottle was depleted along with 30 sunscreen. Sadly, I did not see any changes in my brown spots.
Date published: 2019-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it I have been using this twice a day for over 6 months now. My skin feels so smooth right after applying and I have seen quiet a difference in my skin!
Date published: 2019-07-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I Like it! So I bought this because I have hyperpigmentation and melasma. The reason why I gave it four stars is because it hasn’t really lightened any of my spots BUT it does do something I wasn’t expecting. When it is that time of the month my face gets really blotchy and uneven and it just looks bad. But this product completely stopped that! So for that definitely will be continuing to purchase!
Date published: 2019-06-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from No change I used it till it was empty and while using it I also put sun protection on and nothing changed.
Date published: 2019-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Game Changer! This really helped my dark spots and prevent new dark spots from forming. My skin looks so good!
Date published: 2019-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Serum for Discoloration I didn't do well in terms of sunscreen reapply during my vacay so that I got a few frckles, but this serum helped me to make them less obvious! I paired this one with the PHYTO+ serum as well, and the combo made my acne redness go away faster for sure.
Date published: 2019-06-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Average product I haven't noticed a change in my discoloration and have been using the product for about a year. Very overpriced.
Date published: 2019-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Noticeable improvement! I have skin discoloration, brown spots. After a week of consistent use, night and day, with CE Ferulic, I see improvement.
Date published: 2019-06-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I like it I started using this about a year ago. I don’t know that it helped much but I do know that it helped my discoloration from getting worse. I went to Mexico this year and used this on my hands and come bad with no added discoloration.
Date published: 2019-06-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It Works! I've been using this product for over a year and it works for me. I have a lot of discoloration so sticking with it for the long term is important.
Date published: 2019-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it In the first weeks the spots are markedly reduced I love it
Date published: 2019-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great product I tend not to use a lot of products on my face but I never miss using this AM and PM. I’ve used it for nearly a year and saw results within the first weeks. While I still have some darker areas, they have faded and have less defined edges so they blend in and are less noticeable. And, no new spots!
Date published: 2019-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Uneven skin tone beware I am in love with this product. I use it twice a day (mornings and evenings) in conjunction with a 20% vitamin C serum. Contrary to popular belief, I’ve had zero problems combining this product (which contains Niacinimide) with a vitamin C serum. This product has done an amazing job evening out my overall skin tone. My skin has never looked better. This product is a definite repurchase.
Date published: 2019-04-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Product I received this as a complimentary sample. I have been using it twice daily as directed for about 4 weeks now. I use one drop which covers the sun spot discoloration on my checks. I am just now noticing the spots have slightly faded. Really happy as I wanted to be patient but began to wonder if it was going to work. I would buy this product but will continue to wait to see how much more spots fade.
Date published: 2019-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very pleased with this product I have been using this product for about 5 weeks and I find that it has helped fade the dark spots I have from sun exposure and has prevented any new dark spots when I do have to go out in the sun when used with a 50 SPF sunscreen
Date published: 2019-04-22
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