Whether it’s sunspots or melasma, we can all agree that hyperpigmentation is absolutely annoying. I’d like to think that most of us have experienced some hyper-frustration over hyperpigmentation at some point in our lives. The upside? We’re in it together. Luckily, we live in a world where science and skincare go hand-in-hand. I tapped three skincare specialists — Dr. Nancy Samolitis, dermatologist with specialized training in cosmetic dermatology, Heather D. Rogers, dermatologist and founder of Doctor Rogers, and Kasey Boone, licensed esthetician and creator of Glow Skincare – for their expert recommendations on the best hyperpigmentation creams.
Before we get to the top products that help treat hyperpigmentation, let’s dive into a little hyperpigmentation 101. Below, our experts are breaking down exactly what hyperpigmentation is and tips to help you treat it.
What is hyperpigmentation?
In short, hyperpigmentation is an area of the skin that appears darker as a result of overproduction of melanin. Dr. Samolitis breaks it down. “There are several different types of hyperpigmentation including lentigines (sunspots / freckles), melasma (irregular patches of pigment), and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin in areas affected by acne, rashes, or trauma).”
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation can result from many conditions, but there are a couple of key causes. Dr. Rogers lists them off: “A combination of genetic predisposition, sun exposure, hormones, and skin inflammation from acne or an injury.” She also explains that it tends to peak in the summertime, as the sun stimulates our melanocytes, or pigment cells, which work to protect our cells from UV damage.
What kinds of treatments exist for hyperpigmentation?
Unfortunately, according to Dr. Rogers, hyperpigmentation is hard to treat and impossible to cure completely. But no need to stress: there are ways to make it better. Treatments for hyperpigmentation also vary in range of intensity– “from intense laser resurfacing, chemical peels, and brightening facials, to sunscreen and facial serums,” says Boone. Most treatments “include topical ingredients that slow down the production of melanin and speed up skin cell turnover to remove existing pigmented cells,” says Dr. Samolitis. She commonly uses peels and lasers in-office to “enhance skin exfoliation and optimize the skin’s ability to absorb the brightening products used at home.” Dr. Rogers warns that “you must be very gentle with laser treatments because too much heat or energy can cause inflammation, leading to more pigmentation.”
You can also treat hyperpigmentation by taking away the causes. Dr. Rogers notes that reducing sun exposure and managing hormones and inflammation can decrease future brown spots. Topicals such as Vitamin C, hydroquinone, retinoids, AHAs, BHAs can treat the existing spots.
As far as a skincare routine, Dr. Rogers suggests using a serum with Vitamin C “to protect your skin from free radicals created by the sun and pollution, while also lighting the brown pigments you have already made.” At night, she suggests using more potent serums (see below) to promote cell turnover and inhibit the formation of new pigments.
With those insights in mind, here are the best expert-backed hyperpigmentation creams money can buy.
10 Best Hyperpigmentation Creams, According to Experts
Do you experience hyperpigmentation? Which products are you excited to incorporate in your routine?