• Shelli In Transit Contributor

Murad Environmental Shield Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

Murad Environmental Shield Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum (1 oz, $72) is a lightening treatment serum that helps diminish the appearance of hyperpigmentation including age spots and sunspots due to sun damage, promoting a brighter complexion and repair the visible skins of aging. Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum is formulated with 2.0% Hydroquinone – the highest percentage available without a prescription – to fade dark spots, age spots and sunspots. Glycolic Acid exfoliates to remove dullness, improve skin’s texture and clear away dull skin cells and allows hydroquinone to penetrate for better results. And, hexapeptide-2 skin brightening peptide improves overall tone and helps diminish the appearance of excess pigmentation. Rapid Age Spot Pigment Lightening Serum is suitable on all skin tones and for all skin types—from oily to dry.

According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, hyperpigmentation is a “common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin.” This skin darkening is caused by melanin, a naturally occurring brown pigment that gives skin its color. When the cells in your body that make melanin become damaged or unhealthy it affects melanin production, resulting in melanin deposits on the skin. Hyperpigmentation can affect the skin color of people of any race. There are several types of hyperpigmentation, but the most common are melasma, sunspots (also called liver spots) or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which is commonly caused by acne.

Melasma, also called the “mask of pregnancy” when it occurs in pregnant women, is believed to be caused by hormonal changes and may develop during pregnancy. People with melasma develop brown or grayish-brown blotches on the face, neck, stomach or forearms. While the condition is common among pregnant women, women who are not pregnant and men can also develop melasma, due to a possible genetic component to the condition. Estrogen and progesterone sensitivity are also associated with the condition, which means that birth control pills, pregnancy, and hormone therapy can all trigger melasma. Stress and thyroid disease are also thought to be causes of melasma. Those with darker skin are more at risk of developing melasma than those fair skin.

Sunspots, liver spots or solar lentigines is caused by ultraviolet (VW) light from the sun that speeds up the production of melanin, resulting in darker skin or a tan. After years of exposure to UV light, melanin builds up in certain areas and is produced in high concentrations leading to sunspots, age spots or solar lentigines. Hyperpigmentation caused by solar lentigines mostly occurs in those with fair skin over the age of 40. Individuals with solar lentigines develop pale brown to dark brown spots on the skin that are flat and usually oval. They are most common on parts of the body that get regular sun exposure. The best way to prevent solar lentigines is to always wear sunscreen and limit your exposure to UV light (such as tanning beds) and the direct sun by wearing a hat, sunglasses and clothing that covers most of the exposed skin.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is temporary pigmentation caused by damage to the skin that follows injury or an inflammatory disorder of the skin such as acne. Inflammation in the skin stimulates melanin production and the transfer of the pigment to the surrounding skin cells. If the skin is injured, the melanin is trapped by cells near the surface of the skin, resulting in discoloration. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is mostly observed in individuals with darker skin where the melanin production is more intense and persists for a longer period of time. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can also be caused by some medications.

Fortunately, there are many options to treat hyperpigmentation ranging from topical creams to cosmetic procedures. And although hyperpigmentation may fade on its own overtime, for those of us who are less patient, one of the most common treatments is lightening creams that contain hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent that bleaches your skin by decreasing the number of melanin-producing cells. Although hydroquinone is well tolerated by most skin types, those with dry or sensitive skin may find that hydroquinone causes more dryness or irritation; those with normal to oily skin are less likely to experience dryness and/or irritation. Hydroquinone tends to work best for individuals with fair skin tones. If you have medium to dark skin tones, you should consult your dermatologist before using hydroquinone because it may actually cause hyperpigmentation in darker skin tones. Also, women who are pregnant or nursing should consult with their doctor before using a product with hydroquinone.

Murad Environmental Shield Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum contains the highest level of hydroquinone that you can get over the counter. This means that although you can get creams/lotions with higher dosages of hydroquinone from your dermatologist, the Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum contains the most potent dosage of hydroquinone that you can purchase without a prescription. According to this article, it may take up to 4 weeks to notice any changes on your skin but according to Murad, 85% saw spots lighten in just 1 week.

About the Brand

Murad, Inc. was founded in 1989 by Dr. Howard Murad, a board-certified dermatologist, trained pharmacist and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA. Murad has been committed to developing clinically proven, cruelty-free products that meet the meticulous standards for safety, efficacy and care you’d expect from a doctor. Plus, they’re supported by Dr. Murad’s industry-first research for the most advanced formulas that don’t just consider a symptom or concern, but rather address total skin health. Murad skincare reflects Dr. Murad’s commitment to science-backed wellness and creates products that promote healthier skin. Dr. Murad developed Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum with hydroquinone, and, to date, it is one of his bestselling skincare products(and the number 1 brightening specialist in the U.S. three years in a row).


  • Fade dark spots fast

  • Improved skin radiance

  • Improved skin evenness and brightness

How to Use

Apply to a clean face. Smooth 2 pumps of Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum over your face in the AM and PM. Follow with a moisturizer. In the AM, always apply an SPF. Watch a video on how to use here.


Active ingredients: Hydroquinone 2.0%

Inactive ingredients: Water (Aqua), Alcohol Denat., Glycolic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Methyl Gluceth-10, Dextran, Hexapeptide-2, Rice Amino Acids, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Urea, Yeast Amino Acids, Trehalose, Inositol, Taurine, Betaine, Zinc Gluconate, Ascorbic Acid, Chitosan, Propyl Gallate, Nonoxynol-10, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Palmitoyl Hydroxypropyltrimonium Amylopectin/ Glycerin Crosspolymer, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Chitosan PCA, Allantoin, Polyquaternium-10, Sodium Metabisulfite, Sodium Sulfite, Sodium Hydroxide, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium EDTA, Limonene, Linalool, Fragrance (Parfum)

Formulated Without: Parabens, Phthalates, Gluten, Mineral Oil, Formaldehyde, Oxybenzone, Petrolatum/Petroleum

My Take

I received a 0.25 oz deluxe travel size of Murad Environmental Shield Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum in my July 2020 BeautyFIX subscription box. Although not full sized, I believe it was definitely enough to provide an informative review of the product, especially since the claim is that 85% see results in as little as 1 week. Because I was using a retinoid at the time, which also fades dark spots and doesn’t have the same side effects on dark skin as products with hydroquinone, I gave the Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum to a guest contributor with fair skin to review. Their review of the product is presented below.

Murad Environmental Shield Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum (deluxe travel size) came in a small plastic bottle with a pump on the top that can be twisted closed to prevent leaking. The deluxe sample size bottle tips over pretty easily, but despite similarities in packaging between the full size and deluxe sample size of the lightening serum, tipping over may not be a problem with the full-sized bottle. The lightening serum was a clear liquid gel that smelt similar to rubbing alcohol/hand sanitizer.

I used the Murad Environmental Shield Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum every night for 2 weeks after cleansing and before moisturizing. I massaged 2 pumps over my face, neck, and chest initially, but ended up just using it on a few larger age spots on my forehead after I had a reaction on my neck and chest area (itching and a rash). I made sure I used daily sunscreen and wore a hat when outside while using the product, as recommended.

I did not notice any changes in the dark spots on my face after 2 weeks of continued use. But it is possible that with I may be in the 15% that needs to use the lightening serum closer to 4 weeks to see results. It is also possible that using the serum twice a day rather than only once a day would have resulted in better results.

I have never tried another product for lightening age spots, so I can’t comment on how effective the Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum is in comparison to similar skin-lightening products and/or products with hydroquinone. I liked that the serum was easy to apply, and the pump was easy to use. However, I didn’t like the smell of the serum or the fact that I didn’t get the results I expected from such a highly regarded product. Based on my experience, I would not recommend Murad Environmental Shield Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum.

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Hi! I'm Shelli, a travel enthusiast, avid reader and prolific reviewer of everything from books to skincare.  Read more...


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