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Treating dark spots, whether from the sun or acne or age, isn’t a one-and-done thing. Dark spots and hyperpigmentation aren’t like breakouts—you can’t just put a pimple patch on one and cross your fingers. It takes serious ingredients to even skin tone and advanced technology when it comes to skincare. Urban Skin RX’s Hypercorrect Intense Fading Cream is just that thanks specifically to one powerhouse ingredient: cysteamine.

Most mass-market dark spot creams contain vitamin C, niacinamide and/or hydroquinone. These are all great ingredients. (One of which is actually in this formula.) Urban Skin Rx’s new launch uses 5 percent cysteamine, usually found in pricey creams at the derm office. But what is cysteamine and how does it work? We’re going to let New York-based, board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD explain.

“Cysteamine is an ingredient used to help lighten dark spots on the skin,” he tells STYLECASTER. “It is an alternative to hydroquinone, but works in the same pathway, blocking production of abnormal pigmentation. It is also thought to increase levels of glutathione, which is one of the skin’s natural antioxidants.”

urban skin rx

Urban Skin Rx.

Dr. Zeichner says it’s a safe ingredient for all skin types, except for those with a history of the depigmenting condition vitiligo. He also stresses continued use of the product—don’t skip out on days!—for the best results over time. “I also recommend using cysteamine in a routine along with sunscreen and antioxidants like vitamin C to offer complementary effects and ultimately better outcomes,” he adds.

In addition to this powerhouse ingredient, the treatment uses 1 percent niacinamide and vitamin E to smooth skin and help even out the complexion further.

urban skin rx dark spots

Urban Skin Rx.

The addition of cysteamine isn’t the only thing that makes this treatment unique. It’s the application, too. Unlike most dark spot treatments, you actually apply this to skin before you cleanse. Yes, while the dirt, oil and makeup are still on your face. Apply a thin layer to dry skin and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. You might feel some warming and tingling. Wash it off and follow with your usual cleansing and moisturizing routine (and SPF if in the daytime).

If you’re not wearing makeup, because who does every single day, you can wait one hour after cleansing and apply this to dry skin. For those with especially sensitive skin, mix it with moisturizer to dilute the strength and keep the treatment on for just 5-10 minutes. You can work up to longer as your skin gets used to it. Whether you have sensitive skin or not, you shouldn’t use any other exfoliators such as retinol/vitamin C or AHAs/BHAs while using this treatment.

The new Urban Skin RX Hypercorrect Intense Fading Cream is only available on the brand’s website right now, but you can grab other even-skin must-haves from the line at Target.

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