How to Treat Hyperpigmentation

Find the best dark spot corrector to treat hyperpigmentation

There are many skin care products to treat hyperpigmentation.  Dark spot correctors such as skin lightening serums should be combined with daily sunscreen. These are the best treatments to get rid of hyperpigmentation because they are the safest. 

Doctors also can perform treatments to clear skin pigment but these can actually make hyperpigmentation worse. 

Eve the best dark spot corrector will not work if it is not combined with the right products in your skin care routine, especially if you are not using the correct skin care products for your Baumann Skin Type. Many skin lightening ingredients can cause inflammation worsening hyperpigmentation.

This blog will help you find medical grade dark spot correctors and build a skin care routine to treat hyperpigmentation.

There are many new skin care products to lighten skin pigment and it can be difficult to choose which hyperpigmentation remedies are best. There is a lot of information to know to find the best hyperpigmentation solutions for your skin type, habits, and budget. But don't worry- I am a dermatologist and I am here to help! Remember- every single product in your skin care routine including the cleanser and moisturizer plays an important role and will affect the results.. So chose every dark spot corrector according to your skin type and skin concerns.

There is no cure for hyperpigmentation- but you can keep it under control and help prevent it's return with the right skin care routine for your Baumann Skin Type.

every product in your routine should treat hyperpigmentation

What do dermatologists recommend to stop hyperpigmentation?

The best skin care routine to block the production of excess skin pigment should contain skin care products that target different pathways in the production of melanin. You need to have products that are tyrosinase inhibitors, PAR-2 blockers, retinoids, exfoliants, anti-inflammatories and of course sunscreen.

Most dermatologists recommend:


There are many treatments that can be done by your dermatologist, but the problem is that although they make the pigment better for 1-3 months, it can return worse than before. This is because any treatments that cause inflammation, such as laser, can stimulate pigment production- ultimately causing rebound that is worse than how you started.

10 ways doctors treat hyperpigmentation that may make it worse:

  1. Chemical peels
  2. Dermabrasion
  3. Exfoliants- over exfoliating with more than 3 exfoliants in your skin care routine
  4. IPL therapy
  5. Blue light therapy
  6. Red light therapy
  7. Laser
  8. Microdermabrasion
  9. Microneedling
  10. Radiofrequency

Any of these treatments can cause rebound proinflammatory hyperpigmentation. This rebound is very common in sunny climates like Miami. If you choose to do any of these you must avoid sun, use products to prevent repigmentation and wear sunscreen even when indoors.

Pigment on the skin will get worse before it gets better.

When starting a new skin care routine to treat skin pigment, baseline photos can be very helpful. This is because the dark spots on your skin will get worse before they get better. Tracking the pigment movement with a Canfield Visia camera helps you see the progress that cannot be seen with the naked eye. The melanin pigment moves from the deeper layers of the skin to the upper layers. If you are using the right skin care routine for your skin type, it should take about 4 weeks for the deeper pigment to begin to arrive at the upper layers. This means at 4 weeks you will most likely look worse and then begin to improve at week 8.

When you take the quiz and purchase a custom skin care routine, you will review monthly emails on what to expect and how to adjust your regimen and when to change your products. I am hear to guide you through this because success depends upon education, motivation and consistency.

before and after images using a dark spot corrector

What is the most effective treatment for hyperpigmentation?

The most effective treatment for hyperpigmentation is a tyrosinase inhibitor ingredient in a custom skin care routine geared for your Baumann Skin Type. These are the types of products that are most effective:

Skin care can be combined with medical treatments, but hyperpigmentation treatments will not work very well if you are not using effective dark spot correctors and daily sunscreen.

Shop by your Baumann Skin Type to find the best dark spot correctors and build a skin care routine to treat hyperpigmentation.

The best serums to treat pigmentation

These are our favorite dermatologist-recommended serums:

  1. Derma Made Melafade was developed by dermatologist Dr. Amy Brodsky to clear up hyperpigmentation.

You can learn more here where I interview Dr. Brodsky on our You Tube channel.

2. Alastin A-Luminate Brightening Serum was developed by Dr. Alan Wedgerow. The technology he utilizes is fascination.

You can learn more here were I interview him about why his skin lightening serum is so revolutionary and unique.

The five best serums to remove hyperpigmentation on the face are:

  2. Derma Made Mela Fade -Dermatologist developed skin lightening serum that is very affordable
  3. Medature Hydrobright - The most affordable serum to lighten skin
  4. Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense
  5. SkinMedica Lytera 2.0

Creams for hyperpigmentation

Most hyperpigmentation treatments are serums. However, there are some prescription skin lightning creams such as Tri- Luma.

The best ones are called triple combination creams because they contain these three types of ingredients:

  1. hydroquinone
  2. a steroid
  3. a retinoid.

Talk to your doctor or skin care expert about which cream is best for you.

Acne Hyperpigmentation Treatments

Pimples can leave behind dark spots that take months to clear. Treat these as you would other types of hyperpigmentation.

Steps to get rid of hyperpigmentation from acne:

  1. Prevent future acne with acne treatments- otherwise you will just be making more acne spots.
  2. Get on a skin care routine to treat both your acne and your dark spots.
  3. Use retinol which exfoliates, treats acne and helps remove dark spots.
  4. Choose an exfoliating cleanser
  5. Pick a moisturizer based on your Baumann Skin Type.

This can be complicated- so take the skin care quiz to get the exact skincare routine steps to treat your acne hyperpigmentation.

Are These Ingredients Good to Treat Hyperpigmentation?

Is AHA or BHA better for hyperpigmenttaion?

They are both exfoliants which help remove unwanted pigment. Which to choose depends upon your Baumann Skin type.

Alpha hydroxyacids like glycolic acid are better for dry s kin types.

Beta hydroxy acid such as salicylic acid is better for oily skin types.

Don't guess if your skin is dry or oily- take the quiz.

Which AHA is best for hyperpigmentation?

Our dermatologists prefer AHA and BHA cleansers to exfoliate away pigmented spots.

The 3 best AHA cleansers for dry skin to fade spots:

Essopi Glycolic 10% Moisturizing Cleanser

Sente Exfoliating Cleanser

SkinCeuticals LHA Cleanser

Here are some of the best BHA cleansers for dry skin to fade spots:

Derma Made Medi Wash

Nolio Salicylic Acid Cleanser

Replenix Gly-Sal Deep Pore Cleanser

Can hyaluronic acid remove pigmentation?

Hyaluronic acid, also known as HA, is a humectant and does not affect the melanin production pathway at all. It is not considered a skin lightening ingredient. However, HA can make other skin care ingredient absorb better into the skin.

Does niacinamide reduce hyperpigmentation?

Niacinamide works best when combined wtht a tyrosinase inhibitor. It can also be used during the tyrosinase holiday in a maintenance regimen.

4 reasons niacinamide is great ingredient to treat pigmentation disorders:

  1. anti-inflammatory
  2. blocks PAR-2
  3. blocks movement of melanin into skin cells
  4. and gives cells energy to repair themselves

The concentration of niacinamide in skin care products should be 5% to be effective.

Niacinamide will work better when combined with tyrosinase inhibitors in other steps of the skin care routine.

Is niacinamide or retinol better for hyperpigmentation?

Retinol is better because it is an exfoliant and a tyrosinase inhibitor.

Retinol will work better when combined with niacinamide because they block 2 different pathways in melanin production.

Does retinol reduce skin pigmentation?

Yes! Retinol is a retinoid which are the best treatments to remove unwanted spots on the skin.

Learn how to use retinoids properly here.

Will retinol worsen hyperpigmentation?

Retinol side effects can lead to dyspigmentation.

Avoid worsening hyperpigmentation by starting with a low strength retinoid such as:

Does Vitamin C help with hyperpigmentation?

Vitamin C is a tyrosinase inhibitor, but not a very strong one. It is not the best ingredient to block melanin production.

Vitamin C is often used in maintenance skin care routines for melasma.

However, it is our favorite ingredient to use in a melasma maintenance regimen.

Some other natural tyrosinase inhibitors are:

Unsaturated oils are weak tyrosinase inhibitors, meaning they can treat various kinds of hyperpigmentation when combined with other ingredients. Five of the most popular oils with tyrosinase inhibiting qualities are: almond oil, borage seed, evening primrose oil, grapeseed oil, and rosehip oil.

Is Vitamin C or niacinamide better for hyperpigmentation?

Why is it so hard to treat hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation worsens from things we cannot avoid like sunlight, heat and hormones. This is why it is so hard to treat.

Once pigmentation clears, sun and heat can make it return. So you must be vigilant with sunscreen and sun avoidance.

You cannot fade hyperpigmentation in a week.

It takes 12-16 weeks in most people to fade pigment on the skin.

What do do if your dark spots do not fade in 3-4 months? Click here for help.

How can I fix my hyperpigmentation naturally?

Treatments and Procedures To Treat Pigmentation on Skin

Facials for pigmentation

Facials can combine AHAs, BHA and skin lighting ingredients to help remove pigment on the skin.

Medical facials should be done every 3-4 weeks and combined with a skin care routine that is right for your Baumann Skin Type.

Lasers and Lights for pigment on skin

Are lasers and light treatments good for pigmentation? Maybe not!

It depends upon the cause of the hyperpigmentation.

Lasers and lights work best for sun spots on light skin.

Lasers and lights can make melasma worse.

Talk to your doctor before using any type of light on your skin to treat pigmentation.

All forms of light including blue, red, yellow, infrared and ultraviolet light can make pigmentation worse.

What products make hyperpigmentation worse?

These treatments and problems can make dark spots worse. 

best skin care routine for hyperpigmented skin for your skin type

To find the best way to treat your pigment problems and find the best dark spot corrector-

Shop by your Baumann Skin Type!

Level up your skin care knowledge with medical advice from dermatologists

Best References and Scientific Publications on Treating Hyperpigmentation:

  1. Baumann L. Depigmenting Ingredients in Ch. 41 of Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology Ed 3. (McGraw Hill 2022)
  2. Baumann, L. Chapters 32-45.  Cosmeceuticals and cosmetic Ingredients (McGraw Hill 2015)
  3. Woolery-Lloyd, H., & Kammer, J. N. (2011, September). Treatment of hyperpigmentation. In Seminars in cutaneous medicine and surgery (Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 171-175). WB Saunders.
  4. Taylor, S. C., Torok, H., Jones, T., Lowe, N., Rich, P., Tschen, E., ... & Ramirez, N. (2003). Efficacy and safety of a new triple-combination agent for the treatment of facial melasma. CUTIS-NEW YORK-, 72(1), 67-73.
  5. Desai, S. R. (2014). Hyperpigmentation therapy: a review. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 7(8), 13.
  6. Kanlayavattanakul, M., & Lourith, N. (2018). Plants and natural products for the treatment of skin hyperpigmentation–a review. Planta medica, 84(14), 988-1006.
  7. Passeron, T. (2013). Melasma pathogenesis and influencing factors–an overview of the latest research. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 27, 5-6.
  8. Prignano, F., Ortonne, J. P., Buggiani, G., & Lotti, T. (2007). Therapeutical approaches in melasma. Dermatologic clinics, 25(3), 337-342.

Comments 0

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

    1 out of ...