Acne-Prone Skin Skincare

The Best Products for Hyperpigmentation in 2017 + How To Use Them Effectively

The Best Products for HyperpigmentationHyperpigmentation can cause significant stress to people who have it and is one of the most challenging skin problems to treat.

This condition is predominantly the result of post-inflammation from acne, sun exposure, hormones, or skin trauma.

In this article, we’ll share the various products and treatment options that are available to you and discuss how to get visible results and improvements on the skin.

Before you start any sort of treatment, it’s important to understand that these treatments are not to whiten or change someone’s skin color, but helping to bring out balance and correct signs of pigmentation.

What are the common causes of hyperpigmentation?

The common causes of hyperpigmentation are:

  • Sun exposure – sun spots or brown spots are the easiest to treat as it is in the upper layer of the skin. For those aged 50 and above, these are known as liver spots or age spots.
  • Acnepost-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These are the scars left from the aftermath of inflamed acne lesions. This type of hyperpigmentation are formed deep in the skin and will take longer to correct. When choosing topical products, look for salicylic acids, enzymes, anti-inflammatory ingredients.
  • Hormonally induced (pregnancy, hormone or birth control pills) or commonly known as melasma. Like post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, this type goes down to the epidermis of the skin and will also take time to treat. Look for oil or gel based exfoliants with retinol, lactic acid, peptides, Trichloroacetic acid (TCA).
  • Skin trauma from medical procedures like laser treatments.

It’s important to identify the cause of your hyperpigmentation in order to properly plan your approach accordingly.

Remember, the depth of the pigmentation will determine the degree of effectiveness when treating hyperpigmentation.

Things to consider before starting:

  • Your skin’s sensitivity level
  • Exfoliation history (lasers, IPL, chemical peels)
  • Skin products you are currently using
  • Medications (hormone or birth control pills)
  • Medical procedures taken

Any of the above are possible contributing factors to changes in skin color.

What are the keys to effectively treating hyperpigmentation?

The most important aspects in treating hyperpigmentation are:

  1. Exfoliation or inducing rapid cell turnover of pigmented layers and removing the dead cells
  2. Control the overproduction of melanin by driving active ingredients into the new skin (vitamin C, Licorice, Niacinamide, Oligopeptide-34, Zinc Glycinate, white tea, etc.)

Extra Step: For faster results, you can use a variety of technologies to help the skin absorb your brightening products. These are the devices clinics use to treat their patients suffering from hyperpigmentation.

When these machines came out years ago, they were bulky and incredibly expensive, and the only people who had access to them were licensed dermatological clinics. With the advancement in technology and the increase in demand however, these tools are now available in portable forms and can be safely used at home.

Video: Successfully Treating Hyperpigmentation by Dr. Diana Howard, The Dermal Institute IDI

The Best Products for Hyperpigmentation and How to Use Them

Equally important as knowing what products to use is learning how to use them and having a proper treatment process in place.

This will ensure that you can effectively treat your hyperpigmentation in the fastest and most cost-effective way possible.

There are acclaimed programs like The Skin Lightening Report that guides you through a regimen that can adjust to your skin condition and reaction. This type of program ensures that you can achieve maximum lightening with minimum skin irritation.

Alternatively, you can use the below as your DIY guide.

We’ve listed down the basic steps dermatologists and aestheticians use to treat hyperpigmentation to help you in your treatment.

If you know what the cause of your pigmentation is – acne or post-inflammatory, sun-induced, or hormonally-induced; then you can perform the same treatment process that professionals do at a much more affordable rate and at the convenience of your home! 🙂

There are acclaimed programs like The Skin Lightening Report that guides you through a regimen that can adjust to your skin condition and reaction. This type of program ensures that you can achieve maximum lightening with minimum skin irritation.

Alternatively, you can opt for a DIY treatment. We’ve listed down the basic steps dermatologists and aestheticians use to treat hyperpigmentation to help you. The links are additional resources you can refer to.


Use the double cleansing method to ensure proper removal of dirt and debris.

1. Remove all makeup and dirt using an oil-based cleanser. If you have acne-prone skin, use a non-comedogenic cleansing oil (e.g. L’Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil). To increase effectiveness and remove deep-seated impurities in the pores, you can complement this step with an ultrasonic blade (e.g. KINGDOMCARES Facial Skin Ultrasonic Scrubber).

2. Wash off any remaining debris with a gentle cleanser. Unless you have acne lesions, you can use a dual-action cleanser like the Clarisonic or other similar products.


Before doing either of this step, you need to make sure you are not under any medically prescribed exfoliant. If you are, you may need to wait a few weeks after your treatment is done so as to not cause any irritations or side effects.

You can choose to do either of the two, whichever is best applicable for your situation. This can be done once every two to three weeks, depending on how sensitive your skin is.

  • Chemical exfoliation. This will work well for sun-induced or hormonally induced hyperpigmentation. Chemical exfoliants have ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid, peptides, retinol, or TCA. You can check our AHA & BHA category for a list of acids for chemical exfoliation.
  • Physical exfoliation. This is ideal for those with deeper, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and acne scars. Microdermabrasion will stimulate the skin to unclog pores, remove dead cells, improve acne scarring or open pores, create a smoothing effect, and aid in the penetration of active ingredients. You can refer to our list of the best microdermabrasion machines for a selection of the most effective portable tools on the market.

Serums & Masks

Apply brightening serums or vitamin-based masks – Look for hydrating and brightening properties in ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, licorice, hyaluronic acid, oligopeptide-34, zinc glycinate, white tea, green tea, etc. (e.g. Karuna Brightening + Face MaskBorghese Fango Brillante Brightening Mud Mask for Face and BodyTalika Bio Enzymes Brightening Mask)

Facilitating Devices

Facilitate skin absorption through massage or any of the electronic devices below:

  1. Ultrasonic Technology – helps ingredients penetrate the skin through a process called “sonophoresis”. These are microvibrations on the skin that create microscopic gaps in the skin to allow ingredients to penetrate deep. Tissues are also heated in the process. (e.g. KINGDOMCARES Facial Skin Ultrasonic Scrubber).
  2. Iontophoresis – are performed using microcurrent machines that penetrates water-based products into the skin. This is an excellent method of driving serums or moisturizers to specifically target areas with hyperpigmentation (e.g. Photo LED Facial and Body Massager, Vibration Iontophoresis Skin Firming Care).
  3. LED Phototherapy – not only improves product absorption but also promote skin regeneration and stimulates collagen formation in the skin. These are also used for skin rejuvenation (e.g. NEWEST LED Photon Therapy).

To conclude your treatment, reapply or reintroduce any targeted treatment products and always follow with an SPF in the mornings.

What to Expect & Aftercare Reminders

Once you have all the products and tools you need, you will have:

  • a more effective process in treating your hyperpigmentation because you can do them on a much more regular basis
  • faster results because of the frequency of treatments
  • a cheaper alternative than getting all these done at the aesthetician’s office


Last reminders to maximise your treatments

Regardless of which products you choose, there are some key rules when treating hyperpigmentation:

  • You must be consistent and regularly use your products and treatments at home
  • Products must be used in the morning and evening for a minimum of 8 weeks before any signs of visible improvements
  • Some patches may look darker before they look lighter as you’re speeding up the process
  • Skin should never be exposed to sunlight unprotected. Daily daylight protection at the minimum of SPF 30 is critical when treating hyperpigmentation. 
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat outside whenever you can

That’s it, and we hope you’ve found this article useful. If yes, don’t forget to subscribe to our channels. 🙂


The Skin Lightening Report – Get rid of Melasma, freckles, age spots, acne marks, dark underarms and other hyperpigmentation problems safely and naturally.

Nieuweboer-Krobotova, L. (2012). Hyperpigmentation: types, diagnostics and targeted treatment options. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 27, pp.2-4. (2016). Hyperpigmentation – American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD).

Polat, B., Blankschtein, D. and Langer, R. (2010). Low-frequency sonophoresis: application to the transdermal delivery of macromolecules and hydrophilic drugs. Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery, 7(12), pp.1415-1432.

The Regrow New Skin Treatment Program.

University of Maryland Medical Center. (2016). Skin wrinkles and blemishes.

Kornhauser, A. (2010). Applications of hydroxy acids: classification, mechanisms, and photoactivity. CCID, p.135.

Jimbow, K. and Minamitsuji, Y. (2001). Topical therapies for melasma and disorders of hyperpigmentation. Dermatologic Therapy, 14(1), pp.35-45. (2016). Variety of options available to treat pigmentation problems | American Academy of Dermatology (2016). Melasma (facial pigmentation). DermNet NZ

Tovey, D. (2016). Common Hyperpigmentation Disorders in Adults: Part I. Diagnostic Approach, Cafe au Lait Macules, Diffuse Hyperpigmentation, Sun Exposure, and Phototoxic Reactions – American Family Physician

Publications, H. (2016). Age Spots (Solar Lentigo, Liver Spots) – Harvard Health. [online] Harvard Health. 


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