Discoloration Serum from Good Molecules

In recent months, a discoloration serum from Good Molecules has garnered significant online discussion. There are numerous internet testimonials and reviews about this product that treats hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.

Discoloration Serum Corrector from Good Molecules

Discoloration serums can treat dark spots and skin discoloration related issues. A company named Good Molecules has developed a solid reputation in making skin products that are cruelty-free and contain no harmful ingredients. Moreover, their products are all very reasonably priced.

Good Molecules Discoloration Serum.
Good Molecules Discoloration Serum.

The Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum currently has almost 2,080 reviews on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. The product is fragrance free and vegan.

It is advertised as being helpful in treating dark spots, acne scars, sunspots, hyperpigmentation and age spots. The current discounted price is only $12 for a 30 ml (1 oz) bottle.

Key Ingredients in Good Molecules Discoloration Serum

The key ingredients in Good Molecules Discoloration Serum are as follows:

  1. 3% tranexamic acid (cetyl tranexamate mesylate). This targets skin discoloration and helps promote a clear skin tone. Make sure to read my post on tranexamic acid for skin lightening.
  2. 4% niacinamide to improve the appearance of uneven skin tone, dullness and enlarged pores. Niacinamide is a key ingredient in numerous products that help reduce hyperpigmentation in people with dark skin.

Cetyl Tranexamate Mesylate

Note that one of the two ingredients in this product is an interesting new derivative of tranexamic acid (TXA). It is called cetyl tranexamate mesylate. On Good Molecules website, it is classified as a melanin inhibitor, skin conditioning agent and astringent. They call it a “first of its kind anti-aging depigmentation active” that results in a naturally even skin tone.

A 2021 US study analyzed the safety and skin-lightening performance of this new topical TXA derivative cetyl tranexamate mesylate. It found that when using the facial serum twice a day for 8 weeks (35 female subjects):

Melanin and erythema indexes improved significantly and continuously from the baseline to the end of the study (-16.9% and -34.3%, respectively).

The topical serum containing cetyl tranexamate mesylate caused no adverse reacions or side effects. Moreover, it significantly improved overall facial skin tone and the appearance of dark spots and redness.

Do note that according to Paula’s Choice, despite showing promise, more research is needed before this tranexamic acid derivative can be assessed as thoroughly as TXA itself.

Other Pigment Corrector Products

Topicals Faded Discoloration Serum.
Topicals Faded Discoloration Serum.

Among other related pigment corrector product, “Topicals” has a faded discoloration serum that is also quite popular. It also contains tranexamic acid and niacinamide and can treat dark spots, blemishes and skin discoloration.

Its skin brightening effect is enhanced by the use of azelaic acid. You can also purchase it on Sephora, where it currently has 1,500 reviews. This faded discoloration serum from Topicals is safe to use daily on all ethnicities and skin shades.

Paula’s Choice makes a discoloration repair serum that contains tranexamic acid and botanical ingredient bakuchiol. The latter is a gentler alternative to retinoids. The skin repair product claims to visibly reduce patches of discoloration that can appear on the cheeks, forehead, nose and chin.

Nigerian Women and Skin Bleaching Creams

Skin bleaching via the use of skin lightening creams (and other such products) is increasingly popular throughout Africa. Doctors and beauty experts in some African countries are sounding the warning bell regarding the rampant abuse of these potentially harmful chemical products.

Skin Bleaching Nigeria
Skin bleaching in Nigeria and other African countries.

Skin Bleaching in Nigeria and Africa

According to a new article in Premium Times (Nigeria), a staggering 77 percent of Nigerian women use skin bleaching creams. This is based on data from Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). More details can be found here.

This is the highest rate in Africa, well ahead of second placed Togo at 55 percent, third placed South Africa at 35 percent, and fourth placed Senegal at 27 percent. All of these statistics are estimated from surveys and interviews, though many countries in Africa do not conduct any such surveys.

Make sure to check out NAFDAC’s “Prohibition of bleaching agents and unsafe cosmetic products document“.

Bleaching creams can cause many side effects, including: cancer, allergic reactions, damage to vital organs, skin irritation, skin burns, rashes, wrinkles, premature skin ageing, long-term hyperpigmentation and prolonged wound healing.

The Desire for Ligher Skin and European Beauty Standards

For many Nigerian women, having lighter skin is considered more desirable and attractive. The historical colonial influence and later embrace of European beauty ideals has made the attainment of fairer skin a much desired goal. This is made worse by constant TV and social media advertisements for skin whitening creams and bleaching agents. There are many ongoing efforts being made to promote local cultural and beauty preferences and standards.


Even among African and other ethnic immigrant communities in the US, skin bleaching is rife. A recent article in the Independent found that in one survey of minority migrant communities (with the vast majority being of darker skin types), 21.3 percent of respondents admitted using skin-lightening products. It should be noted that some of them want are using these for skin conditions such as acne, melasma or hyperpigmentation.

However, for most, the issue pertains to colorism and the perception that lighter is better.

Colourism, the system of inequality that views fairer hues as more beautiful than darker skin complexions, can be the motivation behind skin lightening, the study found.

Some ingredients found in over-the-counter ligtening agents can be very harmful, especially with overuse. These include mercury, hydroquinone and various acids.

The Ordinary AHA and BHA Peel for Dark Skin

In an article in Women’s Health, skin health expert Jane Scrivner said the following:

There is an inaccurate assumption that Alpha Hydroxy and Beta Hydroxy Acids shouldn’t be used on black and darker skin as they contribute to pigmentation issues. However, when used correctly, these acids work fabulously on black skin and Fitzpatrick 4-6 skin types.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)

In my post on mandelic acid for darker skin tones, I mentioned that it is one of the three main types of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). The others being glycolic acid and lactic acid. AHAs are one of the most frequently recommended exfoliating ingredients in modern skin care.

Other lesser know AHAs that are frequently found in skin-care products include citric acid, malic acid and tartaric acid. All three of those are derived from fruits and sometimes referred to as fruit acids.

Glycolic acid (derived from sugarcane) is the most intense of these AHAs. It has the smallest molecular size, allowing it to penetrate the skin easily. If you have darker skin, you must be careful in the strength of glycolic acid that you use. Some dermatologists might not even recommend using it in your peel. Lactic acid is derived from fermented milk or synthetically.

AHAs are great at treating mild hyperpigmentation, including age spots, melasma, scars and uneven skin tone. However, if you have sensitive skin, AHAs can cause irritation. Most dermatologists recommend not using formulas with concentrations higher than 15 percent. AHAs in most cosmetic products operate at around a pH level of between 3 and 5.

Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)

Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are a class of mild acids that are especially popular for skin exfoliation and in treating acne. There is only one beta hydroxy acid that is commonly used in skin care products, and that is called salicylic acid. It is derived from aspirin. BHA in cleansers, lotions and moisturizers works best at a concentration level of 1% to 2% and at a pH of 3 to 4. Per wikipedia, salicylic acid is used to treat warts, psoriasis, acne vulgaris, ringworm, dandruff, and ichthyosis.

The Ordinary Peeling Solution AHA 30% + BHA 2%

The Ordinary peeling solution with AHA and BHA.
The Ordinary Peeling Solution 30ml AHA 30% + BHA 2%, 1 Fl Oz.

Perhaps the most popular peeling product on Amazon that contains both AHA and BHA is “The Ordinary Peeling Solution AHA 30% + BHA 2%”. It currently has a massive 37,000 reviews averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars. Moreover, it only costs $9.50. You cannot beat that price for such a popular product.

Note that “The Ordinary” is a brand from DECIEM. On the company’s website, this combination AHA plus BHA product is advertised as suited for all skin types. The average rating there is an even higher 4.7 out of 5 stars.

The directions for use on the face contain some warnings in order to prevent side effects.

  • Use no frequently than twice per week in order to avoid skin irritation.
  • Do not use on wet skin.
  • Apply evenly across face and neck using your fingertips.
  • Leave on for no more than 10 minutes.
  • Avoid any contact with the eyes during both application and rinse off.
  • Do not leave on for longer than 10 minutes.
  • The AHA in this product may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and susceptibility to sunburn. Use a sunscreen and limit sun exposure while using this product.

The Difference Between Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids

While both AHAs and BHAs work in a smilar manner, they differ in how they penetrate your skin. Alpha hydroxy acids are water-soluble chemicals that aid in the removal of dead skin cells. However, they can not go into the deep pores of your skin.

In contrast, beta hydroxy acids are lipid-soluble, meaning that they will dissolve in oil. Consequently, BHAs are able to penetrate into the skin pores where you have oily sebum buildup. BHAs can therefore exfoliate the dead skin cells that build up inside these pores and around hair follicles. Beta hydroxy acid are more suitable for those with oily skin that contains blackheads and whiteheads.