Ambi Fade Cream Review: Is Skin Lightening Cream Safe?

Ambi Fade Cream Review: Is Skin Lightening Cream Safe?


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Ambi Fade Cream is one of the most popular cosmetic products for reducing skin discoloration. The brand describes itself as “Scientifically Proven For People Of Color.”

But does Ambi Fade Cream contain ingredients proven in medical studies to reduce discoloration and improve skin quality, or are these just marketing claims? Does the product contain any questionable additive ingredients? Why did Ambi’s manufacturer receive an FDA warning letter? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Ambi Fade Cream?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in Ambi Fade Cream based on medical studies to give our take on whether the product is likely to be effective, or if it’s a waste of money.

We’ll provide a cost breakdown documenting which retailer sells Ambi Fade Cream for the best price, and feature real, unsponsored user reviews of the product.

We’ll also explain why the brand received a warning letter from the FDA.

Ingredient Analysis

Ambi Fade Cream ingredients

The ingredients in Ambi Fade Cream are shown above.

There are a number of active ingredients in this formulation with research backing both for depigmentation and anti-aging.

Ascorbic acid, better known as vitamin C, was analyzed in a 2020 medical review on melanin pigmentation and its ability to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmented spots.

The researchers analyzed results from seven clinical trials on the topic, and concluded the following: “The authors have reported a favorable outcome, suggesting the possible effect of Vitamin C on melanin pigmentation.”

Betaine was shown in a clinical trial published in the Food Science and Biotechnology journal to be a “potential skin-lightening agent,” although this was an in vitro (test tube) study which makes its results weaker than a trial with human participants.

There are other active ingredients in this formulation shown to improve skin quality.

Sodium hyaluronate is one of the most well-studied anti-aging ingredients, as we documented in our review of another cosmetic product containing it called CeraVe Eye Repair Cream.

Glycerin was shown to improve skin moisture content in a clinical trial published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science.

Niacinamide was described in a 2004 medical review as a compound that “smooths out wrinkles” and can be effective in treating a wide range of skin disorders due to its potent anti-inflammatory effects.

Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice is a natural moisturizer.

Clearly there are a number of effective ingredients in Amdi Fade Cream for both treating hyperpigmentation and improving skin quality generally.

However there are also two inactive ingredients that may be questionable from a health perspective.

Fragrance is a broad descriptor that could refer to any number of thousands of chemicals added for scent. It’s not only a common skin allergen, but a 2016 medical review analyzed safety data on fragranced consumer products and concluded that the additive can “impose serious risks to human health.”

Phenoxyethanol is a synthetic preservative shown in a 2020 clinical trial to be toxic to human cells.

Overall, we consider Ambi Fade Cream to be likely effective for its intended purpose, and even potentially effective for reducing wrinkles, but we don’t currently recommend the product due to the questionable inactive ingredients.

But how do real users rate and describe the effects of Ambi Fade Cream? We’ll review in the next section.

Real, Unsponsored Ambi Fade Cream User Reviews

A YouTube creator named Mal used Ambi Fade Cream to treat dark spots on her face, and shares before-and-after images:

A YouTube creator named “The Jazz Lounge” used Ambi Fade Cream to treat acne and also features before and after images:

Why Did the FDA Warn Ambi?

In 2022, the FDA sent a warning letter to Ambi Enterprises LLC, the manufacturer of Ambi Fade Cream.

The warning letter calls out Ambi’s use of hydroquinone, which is a skin bleaching ingredient only available with a prescription. Since Ambi was selling products containing hydroquinone over-the-counter (OTC), this classified the cosmetics containing this ingredient as “unapproved new drugs.”

Since this letter, Ambi appears to have removed hydroquinone from their Fade Cream and Fade Serum. The brand even includes “Hydroquinone-Free” in the title of both products at the time of publishing this article.

We do not consider this to be an ongoing concern that consumers need to worry about, since it is related to an ingredient that has since been removed from the formulation, and one that does not appear unsafe when used appropriately.

As we documented in our Musely reviews article on a prescription skincare brand that sells hydroquinone products, this compound was described in a medical review as “one of the most effective molecules for the treatment of hyperpigmentary disorders.”

The efficacy of Ambi as a lightening cream has likely dropped since the removal of hydroquinone, but the ingredient has serious side effects if overused. It should only be used under the guidance of a dermatologist.

Where to Buy Ambi Fade Cream for the Best Price

Ambi Fade Cream is sold at a variety of online retailers. Here’s a price breakdown at the time of publishing this article:

Rite Aid: $9.29 (plus shipping, link)

Brand website: $8.99 (plus shipping, link)

Walmart: $8.97 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $9.49 (free shippinglink to official Amazon listing)

When considering shipping costs, Ambi Fade Cream is significantly cheaper on Amazon than on the brand’s website.

Shipping cost $3.95 with the test address we input, making the product 27% cheaper on Amazon than on the brand’s website currently.

Dermatologist Reviews New Ambi Formulation

A dermatologist and popular YouTube influencer named “Dr Dray” reviewed Ambi’s new hydroquinone-free formulation in a video with over 40,000 views. She shares her thoughts on the products potential efficacy:

Real Customers Review Ambi Fade Cream

Amazon is a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand’s website in our opinion.

Ambi Fade Cream has been reviewed 38 times on Amazon at the time of publishing this article, with an average review rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named “Lisa” who claims it was effective on dark spots:

“This product is great! This helped with the dark spots on my face and I saw positive results right away!”

The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named “Angela Johnson” who claims that the new formulation has caused side effects:

“I really dislike the new ambi, they should have kept the same ingredients as before. Now when I use it my face burns and make the discoloration on my face even darker. I truly wished they hadn't changed the formula. I am so very disappointed”

Our Clean Skincare Picks

There are skincare products containing ingredients shown in clinical trials to be effective for reducing wrinkles and improving skin quality.

Annie Mak Vitamin C Serum is our top anti-aging serum.

It contains hyaluronic acid which was described as a "skin-rejuvenating biomedicine" in a medical review due to its ability to reduce wrinkles and signs of facial aging.

HYDRAGLOW by CLEARSTEM is our top moisturizer pick.

It features bakuchiol as an active ingredient which was described in a 2014 clinical trial as "clinically proven to have anti-aging effects." 

Bulletproof Collagen Powder is our top skin supplement.

Collagen supplementation was shown in a medical review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology to reduce visible signs of skin aging as well as improve skin elasticity and skin hydration.

All of the products recommended in this section are entirely free of ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy or unsafe.

Pros and Cons of Ambi Fade Cream

Here are the pros and cons of Ambi Fade Cream in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Contains many research-backed active ingredients
  • Highly affordable
  • Should be effective for dark spot treatment
  • Potentially effective for anti-aging
  • Potentially effective for skin moisturizing
  • Now free of hydroquinone

Cons:

  • Contains fragrance
  • Contains synthetic preservatives
  • Brand received FDA warning letter about unapproved new drug ingredient
  • Unimpressive Amazon reviews
  • Doesn’t appear clinically tested
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Ambi Fade Cream contains a large number of research-backed ingredients, and from an efficacy perspective it’s one of the most impressive formulations when considering the price.

This product currently costs under $10 per bottle and contains six active ingredients we consider likely effective.

We do not currently recommend Ambi Fade Cream due to its inclusion of fragrance and phenoxyethanol, a synthetic preservative. 

The FDA sent a warning letter to the manufacturer of Ambi Fade Cream in 2022, claiming that one of its active ingredients was classified as an “unapproved new drug” because it was only available for prescription use, but Ambi was selling it in this OTC product.

Ambi has since removed that ingredient and this shouldn't be a concern for consumers moving forward.

This product has an unimpressive Amazon review rating relative to other cosmetic products we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health.

For consumers intent on purchasing Ambi Fade Cream, the best price can be found on Amazon when factoring in shipping costs.