Whether it’s dark spots—which seem to keep multiplying—or brown patches which are difficult to cover, if you’ve experienced hyperpigmentation before, you know how much it can impact your self-esteem. But, thankfully, there are products out there which can help to lighten the look of hyperpigmentation instead of just covering it up.
Here at Face Dr, we’ve seen this skincare concern hundreds of times. It’s common and completely harmless, but that doesn’t mean we have to live with it. Our team of fully trained skincare experts—some with over a decade of experience—know a thing or two about how to tackle discolouration in the skin. And one of the first ways is through skincare products that you can use at home. Here, we’ve rounded up our favourite skincare products to tackle those annoying dark spots.
Want to get tailored recommendations for your skin? Book a free online skincare consultation where one of our experts can analyse your skin and recommend the very best products for you.
But first, what exactly is hyperpigmentation?
What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is the name for dark spots and discolouration on the skin which are caused by an excess of melanin, the pigment that gives skin and hair their colour. These dark spots or brown patches appear most often on the face and hands, but they can also be seen on other areas of the body, too. There are a few different types of hyperpigmentation which are caused by different things:
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Want to find out more about the difference between these types of hyperpigmentation? We’ve covered that in detail here.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
The most common type of hyperpigmentation is sunspots which are caused by—you guessed it—the sun. The second type of hyperpigmentation is called melasma which is caused by hormonal changes, and the third is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation which is caused by inflammation due to injury or skin conditions like acne or eczema.
What are the best products for hyperpigmentation in 2021?
There are hundreds of products on the market that promise to reduce the look of dark spots, from lightening and brightening serums to chemical peels. So, where do you begin? We’ve rounded up a list of the best skincare products for hyperpigmentation in 2021 with a little something for every skin type.
Best for: Sensitive skin
Also works for: Sunspots and melasma. All skin types
This is a great option for those with sensitive skin as it doesn’t use retinol. This daily serum uses vitamin C and licorice root to brighten the skin, stop new dark spots from forming and lighten existing problem areas. Papain, an enzyme found in papaya, exfoliates the skin to remove dead skin cells revealing clever and brighter skin underneath.
Best for: Overall discolouration
Also works for: Sunspots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, specific dark spots. All skin types, even sensitive
Often named a best product for hyperpigmentation, Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution is a serum that’s been clinically proven to reduce the look of discolouration after eight weeks of use. The thick gel-like product can be applied as a spot treatment directly to problem areas or used over the entire face, hands or chest.
It reduces the look of existing dark spots, prevents new discolouration from forming, and improves the general complexion and evenness of your skin tone. It includes active ingredients like vitamin C, white birch and peony extracts which are gentle enough to be used as part of your daily routine, morning and night. These ingredients hydrate the skin and provide protection against free radicals as well as brightening the look of discolouration.
Best for: Stubborn dark spots
Also works for: Sunspots. Normal to combination skin. Lighter skin tones
If gentler ingredients aren’t making a difference, it’s time to try an at-home chemical peel. This product comes in two pre-soaked pads which are swiped over the face or problem area.
The first pad contains acids, like glycolic, lactic, malic, citric and salicylic acid, which exfoliate your skin. These remove dead skin cells to reveal fresher and brighter skin. The second pad is the neutralising step which calms and soothes the skin and stops the acids from overworking and irritating the area.
Best for: Darker skin tones
Also works for: Sunspots or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
A great option for darker skin tones, this serum is applied twice a day as part of your daily routine and people saw a reduction in dark spots in as little as six weeks.
It uses concentrated active ingredients like kojic acid, mandelic acid and lactic acid. Kojic acid reduces melanin production in the skin to stop new dark spots from forming, and existing dark spots from getting worse, mandelic acid exfoliates the skin and lactic acid evens out skin tone by lightening dark spots and patches.
Best for: Melasma
Also works for: Sunspots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Lighter skin tones.
This dark spot corrector is perfect for spot treatments on problem areas. It contains 2% Hydroquinone, glycolic acid and kojic acid. These ingredients work to reduce melanin production in the skin which reduces the look of existing dark spots while preventing new hyperpigmentation from forming.
The product has been seen to work on all types of hyperpigmentation—including dark spots from sun exposure and acne scarring—but it’s especially effective for those with melasma, hyperpigmentation caused by hormones such as from pregnancy or the birth control pill.
Best for: Acne-prone skin and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Also works for: Sunspots and Melasma. All skin types.
Though on the pricier end of at-home products, this serum has been clinically proven to reduce the appearance of dark spots and patches in as little as two weeks, with most people seeing results after using it twice a day for 12 weeks.
The product uses tranexamic acid, which prevents new hyperpigmentation from forming by reducing inflammation, niacinamide and HEPES, which promote exfoliation, and kojic acid, which lightens existing dark spots.
Need expert advice?
Looking for products for hyperpigmentation but don’t know where to start? Book a free online skincare consultation with our skin experts here at Face Dr. Our trusted team can recommend the best products for your exact skin type and hyperpigmentation concern. On a 30-minute video call, they can analyse your skin, ask about your concerns and recommend which products will do the best job. They can even help you build an entire routine dedicated to tackling dark spots and help with other concerns like acne, ageing and oily skin.