Soy extract, which is derived from the soybean plant, has been shown to help brighten the skin, Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, tells SELF. That’s why you’ll find it in tons of skin-lightening products. Soy works as a dark spot treatment by preventing melanin from entering the top layer of skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

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