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Image: Robert Freeman/ Corbis

When we’re young, age spots (which are different from dark spots caused by acne scars) are less likely to form. The theory is that the skin has what Japanese beauty brand Shiseido terms an inner melano shield, located between the epidermis and dermis, that prevents melanin from reaching the surface of the skin and emerging as dark-brown spots.

However, as we age, this barrier starts to collapse and malfunction due to the natural ageing process as well as sun damage and other environmental factors, such as pollution and stress. As it collapses, melanin pigments emerge from the dermis and appear on the surface of the skin. As a result, new age spots appear while existing spots become darker.

To target this, the new Shiseido Vital-perfection White Circulator Serum ($196) has a complex, made with glucosamine hydrochloride, and white lily and beech bud extracts, that supposedly rebuilds the shield. The serum is also formulated with Shiseido VP8, a blend of plant extracts – including antioxidant-rich red tea, olive leaf and angelica root extracts – and 4MSK, the brand’s patented whitening ingredient. Expect firmer, brighter skin as well as reduced age spots with consistent use.

The serum dispenses as a gel but transforms into a lightweight, silky lotion when applied. When I tried the serum, it melted into skin within seconds, and left it plump and soft. After two weeks’ use, I noticed that my complexion looked clearer and more radiant.

This story was first published in HerWorld Magazine May 2015.

Looking for more products to counter spots? Check out our review on the SK-II whitening power spots specialist.