How To Get Rid Of Hyperpigmentation On Dark Skin

Tired of dark spots peeking through your makeup? Are you ready to go barefaced without being self -conscious of your skin’s blemishes. You’re in the right place. Over the last year I’ve battled with acne and documented my journey and the products that worked best for me. After a year of experimentation, consulting my dermatologist and research I’ve found a few affordable products that help get rid of hyperpigmentation for good.

What is hyperpigmentation?

Before we get into the four products that changed my skin let’s define hyperpigmentation. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, hyperpigmentation is defined as “a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in colour than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin colour, forms deposits in the skin.”

What does hyperpigmentation look like?

Hyperpigmentation is not just an acne scar, it comes in varied forms such as,

Melasma. Melasma is believed to be caused by hormonal changes and may develop during pregnancy. Areas of hyperpigmentation can appear on any area of the body, but they appear most commonly on the stomach and face.

Sunspots. Also called liver spots or solar lentigines, sunspots are common. They’re related to excess sun exposure over time. Generally, they appear as spots on areas exposed to the sun, like the hands and face.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This is a result of injury or inflammation to the skin. A common cause of this type is acne.


Now that we know what hyperpigmentation is how does one treat it? Treating hyperpigmentation is similar to treating acne, you must be gentle and patient.

The treatments I’ll be recommending have been personally tested and proven. However these are not the only ways in which hyperpigmentation can be treated. There are actually several ways that it can be remedied.

According to Healthline, there are 8 treatment options for hyperpigmentation,

  1. Lightening creams.
  2. Face acids.
  3. Retinoids.
  4. Chemical peel.
  5. Laser peel.
  6. IPL therapy.
  7. Microdermabrasion.
  8. Dermabrasion.

You may be wondering with all these options how do you decide what’s best for you and that’s where I come in. I’ve tried a number of these treatments and here are the best ones I’ve found to get rid of hyperpigmentation.

Products to get rid of hyperpigmentation

Alpha Arbutin

The first product I’d recommend is the Alpha Arbutin + HA from The  Ordinary. This serum is a gentle skin lightener formulated with a plant-derived active ingredient. This gentle formulation can be used both morning and evening to gradually lighten dark marks and even the overall appearance of the skin.

Related: 8 Reasons To Love The Ordinary’s Alpha Arbutin

The safer cousin to hydroquinone ( a popular, controversial lightening agent) Alpha Arbutin is extracted from popular berries we all know and love (blueberries, bearberries and cranberries). This ingredient works by limiting melanin production which then lessens pigmentation. For more technical information on how it works see

My favourite characteristic of Alpha Arbutin is its gentle effectiveness. No tingling or burning here just great results.

Treatment category: Lightening cream

Results: Expect to see results in 3- 6 weeks.

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA – $8.90
Azelaic acid

Next there is Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% also from The Ordinary. Another effective product developed by The Ordinary that targets melanocytes and stops there production within the skin. This product is also plant derived but the real kicker is that it also fights acne.

Azelaic acid is not the most popular product in beauty conversations yet but it really ought to be. Not only does it even the skin tone and fight acne but it’s also great for improving skin texture. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect product?

Related: What Azelaic Acid Did To My Skin

Right now it’s only available from two brands that I know of with The Ordinary’s formula being the more affordable at $7.90 USD for a 1oz product. Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster will cost you $36 USD for 1oz.

Treatment category: Face acid

Results: Expect to see dark spot lightening results in 3- 6 weeks. Skin texture changes may be noticed after a day of use.

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% – $7.90
Glycolic acid

Finally we have Glycolic Acid. A pretty popular option for skin brightening ingredients particularly on YouTube. I use the Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution from The Ordinary once weekly to chemically exfoliate my skin and reveal brighter, rejuvenated skin. But I’ll add a disclaimer, this toning solution has a higher percentage of glycolic acid than is typically used and can be irritating for some people. If you’re new to acids or chemical exfoliants only use this once a week or once every two weeks to start. Or try incorporating it into your routine through the use of products (like a cleanser or  moisturizer) formulated with it.

Treatment category: Face Acid

Results: Improvements in skin texture can be noted the very next day following use. Skin brightening may be noticed after 6 weeks.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7 % Toning Solution – $8.70

All the products I’ve listed will increase your skin’s sensitivity to light so this next product is very important. This is not a treatment that Healthline lists but it’s an absolute must-have in any fight to get rid of hyperpigmentation and that’s sunscreen.

By wearing sunscreen you protect yourself from light rays that will deepen and darken your dark spots. Opt for a sunscreen with at least SPF30 for adequate sun pr5otection. Also, try to limit your sun exposure during the hours of 10 am – 4 pm when the sun rays are the most harmful. Please note that this step is still important even if you have darker skin.

Related: How I Cleared My Adult Cystic Acne

One of the biggest positives of including these ingredients into my skincare routine is no longer experiencing deep scarring. In other words, a breakout doesn’t leave a deeply pigmented spot like it once did. New spots and scars fade quickly or sometimes leave no scars behind. And that’s a result of my continued use of these products specially formulated to target hyperpigmentation.

Those were my top four product recommendations to help you get rid of hyperpigmentation and move onto younger, vibrant and glowy skin. Comment below if you’ve tried any of these products and what were your results.