Alpha Hydrox Spot Light Targeted Skin Lightener


36 reviews

55% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.8

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.8

Price: $$


Active Ingredients: Hydroquinone (2%) Inactive Ingredients: Water, Glycolic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ozokerite, Sodium Hydroxide, Steareth 20, Laureth 23, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Dimethicone, Xanthan Gum, Sodium PVM/MA Decadiene Cross Polymer, Sorbic Acid (A Preservative), Sodium Metabisulfite, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum), BHT

on 9/1/2014 10:28:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Olive, Warm

Hair: Black, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

I bought this because of the great reviews. But I only got bigger hyper-pigmented spots that hurt instead of the small brown and dark ones I had before. Not sure if maybe I applied too much on? Or maybe my skin isn't fit for it. I've been using aloe to calm my skin and hopefully heal the horrible scabbing. :(

on 7/6/2014 11:18:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Cool

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

Have tried this multiple times over the years.

After a couple weeks, it doesn't do much for a larger melasma/sun damage light brown patch on my forehead, but it does appear to slightly start lightening a smaller (half thumbnail size) sun spot below my eye. It burned on application only after a couple weeks of twice daily application. I also noticed the dark spots where I put it immediately flush red after applying. May have also caused some tiny clogged pores where I applied it.

The problem is, it starts turning the spot red and crusting up like a scab at about week 2. And yes, I wear SPF 15 or 30 or 50 (depending on the activity) every single day. On medical sites, it says crusting is a sign you should discontinue use. One night laying off and using Olay Age Defying Night Cream (niacinimide based moisturizer, as the previous poster also mentioned), the scab peels off and the spot does look a little lighter.

Also, I read online that in those with sensitive skin/thin skin, this can worsen broken capillaries. On my forehead, I have 3 tiny new red blood vessel spots.

Probably works great if you're not sensitive to it and prone to broken blood vessels (which I am). I did see some lightening of the smaller, darker sun spot, but it's not worth risking it with the crusting, irritation, and new blood vessels showing.

EDIT 9/11/14: like the glutton for punishment I am, I dug this out and tried it one more time. Tonight, after getting out of the shower (where I used my Clarisonic and CeraVe foaming to wash my face), I applied this on my forehead, under eyes, and nose. Within minutes, my skin was bright red where I applied it and was starting to itch. I'm sure the clarisonic enhanced penetration and elf to an accelerated irritation effect, and I had to wash it off immediately. So now this is definitely going in the trash, rather than the cosmetic graveyard cabinet.

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I used it morning and night for 4 days and my 2mm sunspot directly below my right eye became darker, raised, and red underneath. It looked like a mosquito had bitten me on my cheek. I was sure to slather broad spectrum spf 50 on my face every morning before driving to work. It seems from reading other reviews who had success with this product that the spot gets worse before getting better, but I cannot walk around at my workplace with a dark swollen mark under my eye (makeup didn't cover it).

I bought Olay Pro x spot corrector ($36) at CVS yesterday (it has niacinamide as it's main ingredient to fade spots -- not hydroquinone -- it also received a "BEST" rating from Paula's Choice reviews), and miraculously, I woke up this morning and my spot was no longer red and it had faded back to its original color of beige, which I was able to cover successfully with foundation. I'm going to continue using the Olay Pro x! After one night's use, I saw results! A better option if you are sensitive to hydroquinone.

on 11/13/2013 10:22:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

**LATEST UPDATE** This has worked so fast (one month) and so well that in the artificial light in my bathroom I cannot see where my dark spots are to apply the product! In natural light I can see a vague darker shape on my skin but I never thought that the dark spots would disappear this much. Bear in mind that my dark spots would show through even heavy makeup and were so visible on my forehead that it looked like someone had dipped their fingers in brown paint and run their fingers down the center of my forehead from my hairline to my eyebrows. Two extremely disfiguring thick dark brown stripes. Now the are the merest shadow of what they were. I can wear makeup without people thinking I have bruises underneath, or that my face is dirty. This has truly been a miracle product for me and it has improved my self-esteem to such a degree that I can go bare faced with no fear of the stares from other people. If you have melasma and nothing else has worked, PLEASE try this. I know that it might not work for everyone but I have tried so many different products with NO RESULTS that this one has just blown me away.

**UPDATE** This is working like nothing has ever worked before. My dark spots are fading faster than I would have though possible, and it is so much of a miracle to me that these ugly brown stripes on my forehead are at last half as visible as they were just one month ago. I have tried $150 creams, $90 serums and this little $10 tube has caused more of an effect then the more expensive products. I will still continue to use this up and will keep updating until I use up the whole tube.

**ORIGINAL REVIEW** I was becoming more and more desperate for a solution to the 2 huge dark spots on my forehead. Nothing was working. I bought this after reading good reviews from Paula Begoun and was applying this in a thick layer on my dark spots every night. I developed rough skin and a lot of irritation on the application areas, and it took a long time to heal. Because of the irritation my dark spots went darker (they actually turned red and started peeling which is the first time that any lightening product has caused my skin to peel).

I will update this review further after I have used up the whole tube but I believe that this is actually working to lighten my dark spots. I am very tentative about saying this though as I don't want this to just be wishful thinking. The lighter outer edges of the 2 dark spots seem to be fading. The darker center is still dark though but this will need a lot more treatment I imagine. Normally the whole length of the biggest dark spot (1/2 inch wide and 2 inches long in the center of my forehead) is clearly visible even when covered with makeup and after only a couple of weeks of treatment I can only see the darker center and not the edges of the dark spot.

This product is definitely the harshest thing I have used on my skin though. I have to only use it for about 3 days then stop as my skin starts to almost scab over and then flake off. However, even with this intermittent treatment I am still seeing some sort of result. I will continue to use and monitor my dark spots and update later on.

9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

on 9/18/2013 10:54:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I bought this because I had heard and read good reviews of it. I used the entire tube until it was completely used up, morning and night right after cleansing. I saw no results. Maybe hydroquinone does not work for everyone. Will not buy again because it didn't work for me.

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Wow I've been pleasantly surprised by this product by far. My skin is very oily and I would get tons of pesky acne bumps all over my cheeks. I'm also guilty of popping pimples so I've been left with lots of ugly red spots on both cheeks. I had never used glycolic acid before using this product so I was very worried that it would cause crazy breakouts but oh my god it did just the opposite!!! It started off by bringing up the whiteheads on the pimples that had already been formed at an extremely fast rate and then cleared them up just as fast. The best part is that I haven't had a single breakout since I started using this which is so amazing!! As far as the acne marks/scars go I can't say too much because I've only used this for a few days but I have definitely see them fading and I know I'm not just imagining it! All in all I'm so glad I decided to try this, it's been a lifesaver and I cannot wait to continue to see results!

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 2/27/2013 9:29:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Red, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

The good thing about this product is it has an AHA and hydroquinone. Both of these are in the right percentages and pH to be effective. This is also packaged to keep the ingredients stable. It is also relatively cheap at $10.00. Make sure to apply this evenly, and use a sunscreen.
1. Don't put this on a cut I did by accident and it turned a slightly yellow tinge .Luckily it went away , but it was scary for a minute.
2. The scent has an unpleasant odor.
3. It goes bad after a few months and turns an unpleasant brown color.
NOTE: I recently learner that this will only work for skin with sunspots. So if you have no hyperpigmentation this product is not the answer. Whether this can help fade dark spots from acne is a different discussion altogether.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 11/28/2012 11:54:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I really wanted this to work. But it didn't. I have very fair skin that is just starting to develop a few sun/age spots now that I'm 36. I was hoping this would fade them, but I do not see any difference.

on 7/22/2012 2:35:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

If you have sensitive skin PLEASE be careful using this product. I have medium, olive toned skin that gets hyperpigmented very easily, even from the smallest scratches/bumps/etc. I had two marks on my face that I wanted to try and lighten. I used this Spot Light on the marks for about a day and a half and now I wish I didn't. The areas got redder and very angry looking, irritated. One of the marks scabbed over and is even bigger than it was before. The other mark is still red but is now fading to a brownish color....which means more hyperpigmentation for me. So this product did absolutely nothing for me. Hydroquinone is a very aggressive chemical so please be careful. I've used other natural skin lighteners before and never had this kind of reaction.

on 7/15/2012 1:43:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Red, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

*** I've only been using this since 7/14/12, so i will be updating this from time to time.***

i bought this from the Neoteric website (, for $9.99 USD. At the time i'm writing this, it's still on sale for buy one and get a 2nd for $1.99. Shipping charges werent too bad (i'm in the US).

My Skin: nc15-ish, acne/clog-prone, pigmentation from past acne, some light freckling (all over face, but mostly forehead and chin areas) normal leaning combination, a few active hormonal outbreaks each month

My hope for this product: to get rid of sun spots and red pigmentation from acne, while softening skin and keeping clogs away

Initial impression of product: the packaging is convenient, in that its not easy to get too much out by mistake. it's opaque, so the HQ isnt going to break down from sunlight. the only thing i'd change would be to give the tube a flat bottom so i can stand it up in my medicine cabinet.
i've been using Paula's Choice 8% AHA Gel, but wanted to try something cheaper, with a higher % of AHA, and with HQ. my skin felt like it was getting used to the 8% AHA. The texture of this is a lot different from the PC-- PC was lightweight to the extreme, in that it felt fully sunk in to my skin and like it wasnt even there after just a minute or so. when i would rub it onto my face by the time i would get to the last part the 1st part would already be dried/sunk in. as i'm using this at night, and thus NOT before MU, i dont need my AHA to dry/sink in that quickly, and actually i prefer to rub it in a bit more. i just feel like that really gets it into the skin better. The Alpha Hydrox isnt heavy or thick by any means, but it doesnt dry instantly like the PC, and i can feel it on my face if i touch my face. i use this an hour or so before bed, and it doesnt seem to rub off onto my pillows when i go to bed. when i wake up in the morning and wash my face i can still feel some on my face/coming off of my face, but oddly, it keeps my face from getting oily while i sleep. normally if i seep in when i wake up my face is REALLY oily, but this morning it was just normal, not tons of oil at all. felt basically just like it did when i went to bed, only SOFTER!
after just 1 overnight use, i could for sure feel that my face was softer. and it wasnt just a case of me not washing all of the product off either, as i thoroughly washed.

i must admit though-- i did not patch test. i read the reviews for this from other acne-prone ppl, and there werent a bunch of ppl who broke out from it, and since i've already been using the 8% AHA, i just jumped right in with this with no patch testing. brave(stupid), i know. so far no breakouts though! *knocks on wood*

i'll update this again after a few weeks.

UPDATE (7/29/12): so now i've been using this for 2 weeks and 1 day. i havent gotten ANY breakouts from it, which is a huge relief, since i am quite acne-prone, and i was so very optimistic about this product.
i'm not new to using hydroquinone products, so i know that generally it takes some time to see results. BUT, i really think that i'm already noticing my red spots from acne fading faster! i'm guessing its the HQ/AHA combination (yay!). my sun spots/freckles seem to be about the same (they were pretty light to begin with), and i'm confident that with extended use (probably by the end of the tube) i will have seen a change in them.

i actually apply more than recommended, i think.... the bottle says a "light layer", but i put a dot on my forehead, nose, chin, upper cheeks, and lower cheeks, and i think i end up with a little more than recommended. i havent had any bad reactions from it though. i should note, i DO use it on my eyelids too, probably every other day or so. after the 1st use my skin was SO soft! then it got very mildly peely for a few days around the mouth/jowl area, and now theres no more peeling, and my skin is still nice and soft. the BEST thing about this so far though, is that it's kept my face clear! not ONE new breakout since i've started using this stuff! in the am i wash my face with Paula's Choice skin balancing cleanser for normal/combination skin, and then apply the Paula's Choice 2% BHA liquid (HG!). then i wait a few minutes, apply ss/primer, and then MU. when i get home from work i use a baby wipe to remove most of the MU, and then was again w/ the PC cleanser while i'm in the shower. i use a wash cloth to gently exfoliate, and then apply this product after i get out of the shower. it sits there all night and does its thing and then gets washed off in the am. for a lot of people i know that would be too much exfoliation, but my skin apparently loves it!

i'll update again after i finish the 1st tube. so far, my only complaint is that i'm probably about 25% done with th tube already, so 1 tube will only last me ~ 8 weeks. i guess that's how long its SUPPOSED to last, but i remember the Paula's choice lasting me for at least 3 months. having said that, the PC was runnier/more difficult to apply, had a BHA instead of an AHA (although she does do an AHA one too, i believe), was more expensive, at about $21 USD compared to the $9 USD (so yeah, this less than is 1/2 the price! AND as of today, they're still on sale, if anyone's curious), AND IMO the PC just didnt work as well. i guess its a bit unfair to compare them though, since like i said, the PC was HQ and BHA, and this is HQ and AHA.

UPDATE (11/1/12): i've only got like 1 day of this left, so i figured i'd update. the tube ended up lasting me right at 3 months, since i took about a 2 week break a few weeks ago (i did a TCA peel, and figured i'd ease back into the AHA after i was all finished peeling). all said and done, i can say for sure that any red marks i get from acne fade a LOT faster, and my skin stays a LOT clearer while using this. however, it didnt really seem to do much, if anything, to my sun spots/freckles. *might*

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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