Skin Care Ingredients for Correcting Hyperpigmentation

Updated: Apr 5

Do you worry about acne marks, age spots, sun spots, dark spots, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation - all signs of skin irritation, skin trauma or aging skin which take a long time to fade? Have you wondered what ingredients of products to use to help with hyperpigmentation?

Here are the top products out there that help to fade those marks:

1) Vitamin C - top of the list is this very popular skin care ingredient. It may come in different forms including but not limited to:  L-ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbyl phosphate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. As Vitamin C is extremely powerful, it can also be very irritating. It is an antioxidant which helps the skin to fight free radicals. Vitamin C products, especially L-ascorbic acid are not stable, it is very challenging to get it into the skin. It oxidizes easily when exposed to light and air. Best to apply in the morning under moisturizer and your sunscreen. Examples: Rejuvi Vit C Complex, The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid, Skinceuticals.

2) Topical Vitamin A (Retinols) - this also includes doctor-prescribed Retin-A, and Adapalene which is a synthetic derivative of Retinoids. it is also used to treat acne. It can cause irritation so use products carefully. These products help to inhibit pigmentation and promotes cell turnover. Retinol is also very helpful for acne control, but also beneficial for anti-aging. Not a lot of ingredients can be combined with Retinols as they can easily oxidize so Retinols are best used at night. Examples, Rejuvi Retinol serum, Paula's Choice, FaceTheory.

3) Rosehip Seed oil (or Rosehip oil) - I put this in my top 3 favorites for skin brightening. This ingredient is full of vitamins A and C, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. It hydrates the skin and repairs damaged skin and fade scars. Examples, Eminence, FaceTheory.

4) Niacinamide - a form of Vit. B3 found in most grains and leafy greens, but also comes in synthetic form for skin care. It helps to calms the skin, minimizes pores, reduces erythema (or redness), helps reduce discoloration and supports skin barrier. It comes as its own main product but could also be combined with Zinc or other ingredients. Examples, Skinceuticals, The Ordinary, Paula's Choice, FaceTheory.

5) Alpha Arbutin - a derivative of hydroquinone (hydroquinone can be very irritating and not so good for skin of color). It is extracted from plants such as bearberries, blueberries, and cranberries, alpha arbutin is a safe skin brightening ingredient which helps to fade scars and pigmentation left behind by breakouts and sun damage. Examples, The Ordinary, Skinceuticals.

6) Azaleic Acid - good for those with sensitive skin and those who suffer from acne and hyperpigmentation; it is also an antioxidant which fights free radicals, also inhibits tyrosinase formation, but it also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. It also benefits people with Rosacea because of the anti-inflammatory properties and is easy to tolerate but recommended to start out use at night. Examples of products: Paula's Choice, The Ordinary.

7) Kojic Acid - Derived from various types of fungi (mushrooms) and is a by-product from fermentation process. It inhibits formation of tyrosinase which is an amino acid that produces melanin, It can sometimes cause irritation but is mostly tolerated. Examples: LaRoche Posay, PCA Skin Pigment gel (w/o hydroquinone).

8) Licorice root - has been used for over 4000 years, and has a ton of health and skin care benefits. It is an antioxidant and helps to inhibit pigmentation, reducing redness and irritation. It has anti-inflammatory feature. It has a green tint so it is helpful for color correction. Skin appears brighter, firmer and tighter. It is safe to use on sensitive skin (Rosacea) Best used in the morning before moisturizer. Examples, Eminence, FaceTheory

There are many more out there but one thing to remember is to always pay attention to your skin reaction. As with any products, it takes time to see the benefits. That is why it is important to check your skin for any irritation. Reduce use until your skin feels acclimated to the product. If skin still feels irritated, completely stop using it. If you continue using irritating products for a long period of time, you risk worsening the hyperpigmentation issues.

AND, in case you forget about all these ingredients, make sure to ALWAYS REMEMBER TO USE SUNSCREEN during the day, at least SPF 30.

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