One of the best lightening agents is hydroquinone. It come in strength ranging from 2% to 10%. It works by inhibiting the enzyme responsible for melanin production. However, because of side effects long term use is not advisible. When used improperly or for long periods of time, it can actually cause darkening of the skin. There are safer alternatives for skin lightening such as vitamin C, arbutin, azelaic acid, kojic acid, and botanicals derived from licorice or paper mulberry. These should be utilized for lightening areas of hyperpigmentation such as melasma and sunspots. Another product that help lighten areas of hyperpigmentation is chemical peel with glycolic or salicylic. Some chemical peels are not advisable in darker skin types as again it may cause hyperpigmentation or further darkening of the skin. Lasers and IPL can also be used to lighten dark spots. The important thing to remember is that people who have a darker Fitzpatrick Skin type need to be careful as they can get adverse effects.
The safest is most likely to try a Vitamin C or a botanical such as licorice or paper mulberry.