The Most Effective Products To Get Rid of Hyperpigmentation

Best Products For Hyperpigmentation

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Most people aren’t aware of it. But the real reason why you’re bothered by hyperpigmentation is that it makes you look older. That’s right. Dark spots and patches give you an uneven skin tone. But don’t get discouraged. Because we’ve got the best skincare products for hyperpigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation is the broad term people use for all kinds of skin discolorations. Whether you’re dealing with dark spots caused by sun exposure or acne marks from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, your skincare can help.

Some skincare products minimize hyperpigmentation by increasing skin turnover rate and others fade dark spots by reducing melanin production. And we’ve covered all!

Whether you’re dealing with dark spots, uneven skin tone, or acne marks, below are the best products to get rid of hyperpigmentation.

Best Products For Hyperpigmentation

1. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Day Serum

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Day Serum - Best Products For Hyperpigmentation

Pros
Fragrance-free
Contains enzymes for superficial exfoliation
Made with pure vitamin C

Vitamin C, with a ton of research behind its antioxidant properties, is one of the best ingredients to treat free radical damage on the skin (1). And when we say free radical damage, we mean dark spots on the skin that are formed as a result of sun exposure.

Vitamin C also inhibits melanin production. This serum contains ascorbic acid, which is the purest form of vitamin C and the most effective one in getting rid of hyperpigmentation. Additional brightening agents include ferulic acid and licorice root. Use it daily under your sunscreen to get rid of sunspots and protect your skin against the formation of new ones.

What It Has: Ascorbic acid, enzymes, ferulic acid, licorice extract
What It Does: Brightens, fades hyperpigmentation
Skin Type: Normal, dry, combination, oily
Size: 0.94 oz/28 ml
Good To Know: Fragrance-free, vegan, cruelty-free

2. Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Corrector

Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Corrector - Best Natural Products For Hyperpigmentation

Pros
Gentle formula
Contains stable vitamin C
Suitable for sensitive skin

And speaking of vitamin C, know that ascorbic acid isn’t your only option. There are vitamin C derivatives out there. And they’re equally effective but more stable than pure ascorbic acid.

This makes them more suitable for sensitive skin types too. This dark spot-correcting serum is made with one of the most effective derivatives, namely 3-o-ethyl ascorbic acid. It also packs antioxidant-rich peony extract and feels incredibly light on the skin too.

What It Has: 3-o-ethyl ascorbic acid
What It Does: Reduces hyperpigmentation, boosts radiance
Skin Type: All
Size: 1 oz/30 ml

3. The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension Brightening Cream

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Supension Brightening Cream - Best Products For Hyperpigmentation

Pros
Affordable
Gentle
Suitable for sensitive skin

Azelaic acid is one of those multi-taskers and is beneficial in treating both hyperpigmentation and acne (2). Because it’s majorly anti-inflammatory. It inhibits melanin production but also reduces inflammation. Azelaic acid will be especially helpful if you’re dealing with acne-related hyperpigmentation.

Plus, it’s generally well-tolerated by most skin types. This azelaic acid cream is a great way to target hyperpigmentation without irritating your skin. It’s fragrance-free and oil-free, and an overall budget-friendly cream to target hyperpigmentation and skin discolorations.

What It Has: Azelaic acid
What It Does: Minimizes discolorations, redness, acne
Skin Type: All
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free, fragrance-free, oil-free

4. SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense - Best Products To Get Rid of Hyperpigmentation

Pros
Super targeted treatment for hyperpigmentation
Multi-acid formula
Fragrance-free

Cons
Expensive

Tranexamic acid is another ingredient you can rely on to treat hyperpigmentation. Tranexamic acid is anti-inflammatory and plays a preventative role against the formation of dark spots. The super-targeted treatment contains 3% tranexamic acid topped with other skin brighteners.

1% kojic acid, 5% niacinamide, and a 5% lesser-known acid (sulfonic) prompt exfoliation and improve skin tone. The fragrance-free serum is the perfect formulation to combat acne scarring and any kind of skin discoloration.

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense Serum
Image by Ejollify

What It Has: Tranexamic acid, kojic acid, niacinamide, sulfonic acid
What It Does: Fades stubborn dark spots
Skin Type: Dry, normal, oily, combination
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Fragrance-free

5. Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum

Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum - Best products for hyperpigmentation

Pros
Multi-purpose product
Exfoliates and brightens at the same time

Cons
Contains alcohol

Both alpha-hydroxy acids and beta-hydroxy acids are chemical exfoliants that remove the top layer of your skin. The brown spots made up of pigmented dead skin cells sitting on the surface of your skin can be sloughed off simply by using a hydroxy acid product to exfoliate the skin (3).

This dark spot serum is made with brightening tranexamic acid as well as exfoliating glycolic acid. Containing 2 effective actives, the serum is a powerful one and essential for any anti-pigmentation skincare routine to reveal brighter skin.

What It Has: Glycolic acid, tranexamic acid
What It Does: Exfoliates, brightens
Skin Type: Normal, dry, combination, oily
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Cruelty-free

6. Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

Paula's Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster - How To Get Rid of Hyperpigmentation

Pros
Fragrance-free
Suitable for sensitive skin
Can be used alone or mixed with other products

Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide treats hyperpigmentation by blocking the transportation of pigments. That’s how niacinamide creams and serums prevent dark spots. According to studies, niacinamide gave better results in terms of getting rid of hyperpigmentation when combined with N-acetyl glucosamine.

So look for N-acetyl glucosamine in your niacinamide products for amplified results. And this one is the perfect formulation that contains both. Use it alone as a treatment or supercharge your serums and creams by adding a few drops of this.

What It Has: Niacinamide, vitamin C, licorice extract
What It Does: Evens skin tone, increases radiance, minimizes pores
Skin Type: All
Size: 0.67 oz/20 ml
Good To Know: Cruelty-free, fragrance-free, oil-free

7. Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum

Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum - How To Get Rid of Hyperpigmentation

Pros
Encapsulation makes retinol tolerable
Anti-aging night treatment
Rich in antioxidants

Cons
Contains alcohol

Vitamin A, both prescription retinoids and over-the-counter retinol, is the gold standard for regulating skin turnover. For the sake of keeping things to the point, retinoids will help with hyperpigmentation mostly by constantly renewing your skin. As a result, you get rid of surface pigmentation by getting rid of old skin cells.

Retinoids are also effective in treating acne and acne-related hyperpigmentation (4). The serum is formulated with 1.5% retinol. To tackle possible irritation and sensitivity, retinol is encapsulated. So the serum absorbs slowly and gradually. The night serum boosts skin turnover and also contains vitamins C and E to treat free radical damage. And because of retinol, it’s one of the best products you can use to get rid of hyperpigmentation.

What It Has: Encapsulated retinol, vitamin E, vitamin C
What It Does: Stimulates skin turnover to remove dark spots
Skin Type: Normal, dry, combination, oily
Size: 1 oz/30 ml

Related: The Best Retinol For Hyperpigmentation

8. PCA Skin Pigment Gel HQ-Free

PCA Skin Pigment Gel HQ-Free - How to get rid of hyperpigmentation

Pros
Contains gentle exfoliant
Resurfaces the skin without peeling

Cons
Contains alcohol

Hydroquinone is an obvious choice for anyone who wants to fade dark spots and even out the skin tone. Hydroquinone inhibits the activities of certain enzymes (tyrosinase) responsible for producing melanin. But it’s no secret that it can be irritating to the skin. The side effects like dryness, irritation, and unwanted de-pigmentation usually outweigh the benefits.

That’s why we have other safer options. And one of them is kojic acid. It’s derived from mushrooms as well as fermented sake and it also interferes with melanin production (5). It helps fade dark spots as well as acne scars. This serum combines kojic acid with other potent actives like lactic acid for exfoliation and azelaic acid for brightening.

What It Has: Lactic acid, azelaic acid, kojic acid
What It Does: Gently exfoliates, reduces discolorations, prevents dark spots
Skin Type: All
Size: 1 oz/29.5 ml
Good To Know: Cruelty-free

9. Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Dark Spot Correcting Serum

Caudalie Radiance Dark Spot Correcting Serum

Pros
Suitable for sensitive skin
Instantly brightening
Smells amazing

And lastly, this is one of the gentlest products out there for hyperpigmentation. It’s made with viniferine, a plant-derived antioxidant similar to resveratrol. These types of antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory benefits.

That’s why they help reduce discolorations from sun exposure too. The oil-free formula hydrates with squalane and glycerin and evens out the skin tone with viniferine. It also has an instant brightening effect on the complexion, leaving it dewy and luminous.

What It Has: Viniferine, squalane
What It Does: Instantly brightens, evens skin tone, plumps
Skin Type: All
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, oil-free

This concludes our round-up of the best skincare products for hyperpigmentation. As you can see, there’s not really a cure-all ingredient. It’s more like utilizing different ones that all contribute in different ways. You can cover as many bases as you can with ingredients that are suitable for your unique skin. But remember, prevention is easier than cure. That’s why SPF is the best way to get rid of hyperpigmentation!

What to Look For in Products for Hyperpigmentation

As we established, retinoids, vitamin C, niacinamide, and azelaic are some of the most effective ingredients to get rid of hyperpigmentation.

Other skincare ingredients you can use to brighten the skin and reduce dark spots are arbutin, resveratrol, licorice extract, mulberry extract, and soy extract.

References:

  1. Telang P. S. (2013). Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian dermatology online journal4(2), 143–146. https://doi.org/10.4103/2229-5178.110593
  2. Davis, E. C., & Callender, V. D. (2010). Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation: a review of the epidemiology, clinical features, and treatment options in skin of colorThe Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology3(7), 20–31.
  3. Kornhauser, A., Coelho, S. G., & Hearing, V. J. (2010). Applications of hydroxy acids: classification, mechanisms, and photoactivity. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology3, 135–142. https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S9042
  4. Farage, M. A., Miller, K. W., & Maibach, H. I. (2009). 51 Hyperpigmentation in aging skin [E-book]. In Textbook of Aging Skin (pp. 495–501). Springer Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-89656-2
  5. Saeedi, M., Eslamifar, M., & Khezri, K. (2019). Kojic acid applications in cosmetic and pharmaceutical preparations. Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie110, 582–593. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2018.12.006

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