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Updated on November 13, 2023

Overview

What they are

These products are both reef safe facial treatments. They have a total of 3 ingredients in common

Suited For

They're both likely to be good for fighting acne, brightening skin, reducing pores, scar healing and dark spots

Free From

They both do not contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances, oils, parabens, silicones or sulfates

We independently verify ingredients, and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Spot a product that needs an update? Let us know.

The Agency Dark Spot FormulaRX
The Agency Dark Spot FormulaRX
Facial Treatment
American Brand United States
Musely The Spot Cream Erase
Musely The Spot Cream Erase
Facial Treatment
American Brand United States

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and see relevant ingredients

At a glance

Click on any of the items below to learn more

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients Side-by-side

found in both products
Dark Spot FormulaRX
Hydroquinone Stabilising
Good for Dark Spots IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
Good for Dark SpotsGood for Dark Spots Icon May worsen RosaceaMay worsen Rosacea Icon

Hydroquinone is used to treat hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and age spots.

Kojic Acid Antioxidant
Antioxidant IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 2 Benefits

Kojic acid comes from fungi and can also be from fermented foods. It helps even out skin tone and reduce hyperpigmentation.

Azelaic Acid Buffering, Masking
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne Icon
5 Benefits

Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid derived from grains. This ingredient is effective in treating acne, rosacea, and other skin conditions.

Hydrocortisone

Hydrocortisone is the name for the hormone cortisol when used in medication.

Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Cetearyl Alcohol Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising
2 / 1 Fatty Alcohol IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Fatty AlcoholFatty Alcohol Icon 3 Concerns

Cetearyl alcohol is a mixture of two fatty alcohols: cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. It is mainly used as an emulsifier. Emulsifiers help prevent the separation of oils and products. Due to its composition, it can also be used to thicken a product or help create foam.

2 Com. / 1 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Polysorbate 60 Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polysorbate 60 is used to help stabilize products. It is a surfactant and emulsifier. These properties help keep ingredients together in a product. Surfactants help reduce surface tension between ingredients with different states, such as liquids and solids. Emulsifiers help prevent oils and waters from separating.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Isohexadecane Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Isohexadecane is added to enhance texture, emulsify, and to help cleanse. It is an isoparrafin. It is a component of petrolatum.

Isododecane Emollient, Solvent

Isododecane is a fragrance, emollient, and solvent.

Disliked Full details ->
C13-15 Alkane Solvent

C13-15 Alkane is a group of alkanes with 13 to 15 carbon atoms in the alkyl chain.

Unknown Full details ->
Glyceryl Stearate Emollient, Emulsifying
1 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Glyceryl Stearate is a mix of glycerin and stearic acid.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
Peg-75 Stearate
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Peg-75 Stearate isn't fungal acne safe.

Unknown Full details ->
Polyacrylate-13

Polyacrylate-13 is a type of acrylate polymer. Acrylate polymers are commonly used as adhesives in cosmetics.

Disliked Full details ->
Polyisobutene

Polyisobutene is a synthetic polymer made from isobutene.

Disliked Full details ->
Polysorbate 20 Emulsifying
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polysorbate 20 is made by combining ethoxylation of sorbitan, ethylene oxide, and lauric acid. It is a mild cleansing agent, surfactant, and emulsifier.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Polyurethane-39

We don't have a description for Polyurethane-39.

Unknown Full details ->
Stearyl Behenate Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Stearyl Behenate isn't fungal acne safe.

Unknown Full details ->
Cetyl Alcohol Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising
2 / 2 Fatty Alcohol Icon
Fatty AlcoholFatty Alcohol Icon

Cetyl Alcohol is a fatty alcohol. Fatty Alcohols are most often used as an emollient or to thicken a product.

2 Com. / 2 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Tocopheryl Acetate Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps brighten skin Icon
Vitamin EVitamin E Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon Helps brighten skinHelps brighten skin Icon

Tocopheryl Acetate is AKA Vitamin E. It is an antioxidant and protects your skin from free radicals. Free radicals damage the skin by breaking down collagen.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Ascorbic Acid Antioxidant, Buffering, Masking
Vitamin C IconAntioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin Icon
Vitamin CVitamin C Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 6 Benefits

Ascorbic Acid is is pure Vitamin C. This form makes up the largest amount of vitamin C found naturally in our skin.

Sodium Bisulfite Antioxidant, Preservative
Antioxidant IconPreservative Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon PreservativePreservative Icon

Sodium Bisulfite is an antioxidant and is a preservative.

Unknown Full details ->
Benzoic Acid Masking, Preservative
Preservative IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon May worsen EczemaMay worsen Eczema Icon

Benzoic Acid is used to preserve and adjust the pH of products.

Disliked Full details ->
Sorbic Acid Preservative
Preservative IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon May worsen EczemaMay worsen Eczema Icon

Sorbic Acid is a preservative. It is the most commonly used food preservative in the world.

Very Disliked Full details ->
BHT Antioxidant, Masking
Antioxidant Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon

BHT is a synthetic antioxidant. As an antioxidant, it helps your body fight off free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Propanediol Solvent

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

The Spot Cream Erase
Hydroquinone Stabilising
Good for Dark Spots IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
Good for Dark SpotsGood for Dark Spots Icon May worsen RosaceaMay worsen Rosacea Icon

Hydroquinone is used to treat hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and age spots.

Kojic Acid Antioxidant
Antioxidant IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 2 Benefits

Kojic acid comes from fungi and can also be from fermented foods. It helps even out skin tone and reduce hyperpigmentation.

Niacinamide Smoothing
Niacinamide IconGood for Oily Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Dark Spots IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin Icon
NiacinamideNiacinamide Icon 6 Benefits

Niacinamide has emerged as an all-star ingredient due to its many benefits.

Hydrocortisone

Hydrocortisone is the name for the hormone cortisol when used in medication.

Ingredients Explained

These ingredients are found in both products.

Ingredients higher up in an ingredient list are typically present in a larger amount.

Stabilising
Mixed

Hydroquinone is used to treat hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and age spots.

It works by decreasing the melanocytes in your skin. Melanocytes are cells that create melanin (the color pigment in skin).

Be sure to use this ingredient as prescribed by your doctor. Wearing sunscreen is also a must (you should be wearing sunscreen anyway!).

Most hydroquinone prescriptions are not to be used for longer than 3 months. Long term usage can cause ochronosis, or a condition in which the skin darkens more than before.

This ingredient is banned in the EU for being skin sensitizer. In the US, this ingredient is not allowed for over-the-counter sale.

However, it is still possible to get hydroquinone in the EU, US, Canada, Australia, and Japan from a doctor's prescription.

There is no known research backing this ingredient to be carcinogenic in humans.

Check out the European alternative to hydroquinone here.

Gentle reminder that all skin tones are beautiful!

Learn more about Hydroquinone
Antioxidant
Loved

Kojic acid comes from fungi and can also be from fermented foods. It helps even out skin tone and reduce hyperpigmentation.

This ingredient works by blocking tyrosine, an enzyme that starts the process of skin darkening.

Kojic Acid is antifungal and often used to treat fungal infections. Additionally, it can help fight bacteria with its antimicrobrial properties. This can help treat acne as well.

A similar ingredient is arbutin.

Learn more about Kojic Acid

Hydrocortisone is the name for the hormone cortisol when used in medication.

It is medication and not technically a cosmetic ingredient. Most countries allow topical creams to contain up between 0.05 - 2.5% (depending on the country) of hydrocortisone without a prescription. Higher amounts usually require a prescription from a professional.

Hydrocortisone can help relieve rashes, eczema, itching, and other inflammation induced skin conditions.

We recommend speaking with a professional about using this ingredient.

Learn more about Hydrocortisone

Ingredient Ratings

Here's what our community thinks of the ingredients in these two products.

Dark Spot FormulaRX
6
3
11
5
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated
The Spot Cream Erase
2
2
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

When to use

29 Routines
48% use in am
52% use in pm
100% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->
6 Routines
17% use in am
83% use in pm
100% use every day