Are you worried about those dreaded dark spots and patches popping up on the skin of your face, neck, or chest? This is called pigmentation, and it is a widespread skin concern all around the world. Some simple tips and tricks can help you steer clear of pigmentation easily. But if you are still struggling with it, some good pigmentation creams can be the solution. This article discusses the ten best pigmentation creams that can simultaneously heal discoloration and make you glowy. Keep reading.
Pigmentation and Its Causes
Pigmentation is a skin condition in which the production of melanin (a pigment that gives color to our skin and hair) goes up in some skin regions to protect us from the sun’s harmful rays. This leads to the development of darker patches of the skin. Pigmentation can be caused by excessive sun exposure, inflammation, acne, injuries, cellular damage, allergic reactions, aging, specific medication, hormonal changes, and genetics. (1) It affects people irrespective of gender, age, and skin type. However, it has been found that darker skin is more prone to developing pigmentation.
How to Prevent Pigmentation?
If you are bothered about those dark, overly pigmented spots or marks on your skin, do not worry; there are many ways to eliminate them slowly but effectively. However, it is always good to take preventive measures beforehand to avoid the occurrence of pigmentation. For that, you have to make sunblock your best friend forever. Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays can keep all sorts of spots and patches at bay. Moreover, sunscreen prevents the existing black spots from darkening, which decreases the appearance of discoloration. So, make sure that you apply sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or more every day throughout the year (2).
How to Treat Pigmentation?
As we said, there are multiple ways to handle pigmentation successfully. Here we go:
- Vitamin C: Fights aging, smoothens the skin’s texture, and brightens the complexion while fading away marks and pigmentation.
- AHA and BHA Cleansers: Exfoliates the skin gently and unclog pores to keep acne and pigmentation away.
- OTC Retinol Resists the overproduction of melanin and accelerates cell turnover.
- Prescription Hydroquinone: Lowers melanin production in the skin to reduce the appearance of pigmentation.
- Microdermabrasion: Removes the top pigmented layer of the skin to reveal the less pigmented ones underneath.
- Salicylic Acid Peel: Uses 20%-30% salicylic acid to lift the pigmentation caused by inflammation.
- Q-Switch Laser: A longer wavelength that uses low heat and energy for pigmentation removal
3 Things to Remember for Treating Pigmentation
Now, here are some critical points to remember for treating pigmentation in the most effective way:
1. Identify the type of pigmentation to find the right product or treatment plan. Be it sun-induced pigmentation, post-inflammatory pigmentation, or melasma, considering the root cause of the issue will help you understand the preventive measures and follow the effective treatments.
2. You must choose the right products Based on the type of pigmentation. The most common active ingredients used in pigmentation-busting products are hydroquinones, retinol, kojic acid, azelaic acid, topical tranexamic acid, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), niacinamide, vitamin C, etc. So, make sure that your product contains one or more of these.
3. Stay away from unprotected sun exposure. Never forget to wear your SPF while going out in the sun. It is needed even if you are staying indoors but are receiving sustained sun exposure through the window all day.
Do not go overboard with exfoliation while trying to get rid of pigmentation. Too much rubbing or picking may worsen the condition even more. Also, try to avoid mechanical exfoliators or harsh abrasive scrubs for this purpose.
10 Best Pigmentation Creams for Even-Toned Skin
Here is a list of the top 10 pigmentation creams available in the US market that can help you restore clear skin and enhance its tone considerably:
1. Amarte Aqua Cream
Amarte offers elegantly effective skincare for a more beautiful you. This Aqua Cream is a retinol-infused moisturizing formula that addresses hyperpigmentation, dullness, and aging with ActiveExtract arbutin and brightening botanical extracts.
- A brightening, anti-aging face moisturizer with revolutionary 1% nano-encapsulated retinol
- Other vital ingredients are retinol, arbutin, amino acids, glycerin, and antioxidants.
- Also enriched with beeswax, argan oil, sunflower seed oil, chamomile flower extract, witch hazel leaf extract, rosemary extract, and ginkgo biloba nut extract
- Heals and protects against free radical damage
- It gives healthy skin by soothing and conditioning it
- Fights signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, etc.
- Reduces discoloration by inhibiting melanin production
- Improves hyperpigmentation without causing irritation
- Restores clarity and brightness of the skin
- Promotes an even and radiant skin tone
- Ideal for all types of skin (including sensitive, mature, and acne-prone skin)
- Free from paraben, sulfate, phthalate, etc.
- Approved by dermatologists
Price: $90 for 1.7 fl. oz. (50 ml.)
2. VI Derm Beauty Skin Lightening Complex 4% Hydroquinone
This Skin Lightening Complex by VI (Vitality Institute) Derm Beauty is a prescription medication scientifically engineered with 4% Hydroquinone and light retinol. Combining therapy gives an even-toned, confident skin by stopping pigment at its source sans inflammation.
- An advanced dark spot-correcting formula that does not irritate the skin
- Uses 4% hydroquinone and vitamin A as active ingredients
- Combines botanical lighteners like kojic acid, alpha arbutin, and licorice root extract
- It also contains arnica Montana flower extract, green tea leaf extract, licorice root extract, mallow flower/leaf/stem extract, etc.
- Lifts pigment-producing cells by stimulating cell turnover
- Limits overproduction of melanin to decrease hyperpigmentation
- Reduces brown spots, age spots, freckles, and melasma
- Diminishes discoloration to give an even skin tone
- Stimulates blood circulation to improve skin health
Price: $140 for 1.7 fl. oz. (50 ml.)
4% Hydroquinone is a strong pigment fighter that reduces pigmentation by limiting melanin production in the skin. Being therapeutic, it gives results in as little time as 2 weeks. When combined with botanical lighteners, its skin lightening power is boosted significantly.
3. Cellular MD High-Impact Serum
The High-Impact Serum is a savvy topical formula by Cellular MD Bio-Advanced Skincare that brings the skin back to life with barley-derived Growth Factors and Citric Acid. It decreases dark spots, pigmentation, and fine lines while perfecting the texture and tightness of the skin.
- A brand endorsed by the Skin Cancer Foundation
- A serum formulation comprising a human epidermal growth factor bioengineered from barley
- Improves the texture and tone of the skin
- Increases the moisture level in skin cells
- Accelerates the growth of healthy cells
- Reduces the signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles
- Repairs existing sun and environmental damage
- Reduces dark spots, pigmentation, and fine lines
- It makes the aged skin thicker
- Stimulates the stem cells in the skin
- Turns the skin plumper and more radiant
- Eases the absorption of lotions and cosmetics in the skin
- It suits all types of skin
- Free from artificial phthalates and fragrances
Price: $90 for 30 ml.
4. Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Correcting Cream
Neutrogena’s Rapid Repair range needs no introduction. The powerful ingredients used in this rich Correcting Cream moisturize, plump, and brighten the skin, showing rapid results in banishing dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and blotchiness. It mainly works while you sleep at night.
- Clinically proven to refine the texture and tone of the skin
- Formulated with vitamin C, retinol SA, glucose complex, and hyaluronic acid
- It keeps the skin hydrated and plump by retaining its natural moisture
- Replenishes and rejuvenates the skin
- Complements the overnight renewal routine of the body
- Smoothens fine lines and deep wrinkles fast by accelerating the skin’s surface activity
- Diffuses even the most stubborn dark spots gently
- Diminishes the look of discoloration and blotchiness
- Brightens up and evens out the skin tone
- It perfectly suits all skin types
- It can be applied to the face, neck, and chest
- Gentle enough for daily use
- It gives visible results in just one week
- Recommended by dermatologists
Price: $41.39 for 1.7 oz. (48 g)
5. SkinCeuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector
Fight pigmentation and post-acne discoloration successfully with this Advanced Pigment Corrector by SkinCeuticals. The daily lightweight lotion offers a multi-layer treatment purely backed by science.
- A non-comedogenic, lightweight lotion formula with multi-active comprehensive technology
- Key ingredients used are 0.3% salicylic acid, 1% hydroxyphenyl propionic acid, and 0.5% ellagic acid.
- Exfoliates and eliminates dull surface cells
- Improves the look of skin discoloration
- Fades away dark spots and marks
- Promotes even skin tone
- It makes the skin look younger
- Boosts the overall health and radiance of the skin
- Suitable for all types of skin, excluding the compassionate one
- Free from paraben, fragrance, and dye
- It can be used throughout the year
Price: $110 for 30 ml.
6. Clinique Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer
Clinique means functional skincare products that are safe and gentle for daily use. For example, this Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer from its Even Better range is highly effective on hyperpigmentation and lingering acne scars.
- An oil-free, soothing moisturizer with broad-spectrum SPF 20
- Infused with specialized ingredients like cucumber extract, apple extract, olive extract, pomegranate juice, grapefruit peel extract, wheat bran extract, rice bran extract, birch bark extract, turmeric root extract, etc.
- Keeps the skin hydrated by retaining its natural moisture
- Breaks apart surface darkening and exfoliates thoroughly
- Clarifies the skin by making it accessible from spots and pigmentation
- Prevents new damage with SPF
- It gives a brighter and more even skin tone
- Offers noticeable results in 4 to 6 weeks with a verified 58% improvement in 12 weeks
- Suitable for very dry to dry, dry combination, and combination oily skin
- Safe and gentle for daily use
Price: $59 for 1.7 oz. (50 ml.)
7. SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum
Being rich in topical tranexamic acid, the SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum rapidly addresses concerns like pigmentation, dark spots, etc. In addition, it rejuvenates the skin while maintaining the benefits of clinical and surgical procedures.
- An advanced serum formulation for clarifying and brightening the skin
- Powered by tranexamic acid, squalane oil, phenyl ethyl resorcinol, niacinamide & tetrapeptide-30, marine extract blend, vitamin C, phytic acid, and herbal extracts
- Offers non-retinol exfoliation
- Accelerates skin turnover without visible peeling
- Improves melanin balance to correct the appearance of hyperpigmentation
- Lightens existing stubborn dark spots
- It prevents the appearance of new spots and discoloration
- Visibly balances the appearance of skin tone
- Supports a healthy skin barrier
- Rejuvenates skin by reversing sun damage
- Enhances the texture of the skin
- Promotes an even-looking skin
- Ideal for all kinds of skin, including acne-prone and mature one
- It can be applied to the face, neck, and decollete
- Shows results in as fast as two weeks
- It does not contain parabens
- It can be used after going through cosmetic procedures
Price: $178 for 2.0 fl. oz. (60 ml.)
8. Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster
Whether used alone or with moisturizer, this 10% Azelaic Acid Booster by Paula’s Choice makes the skin smoother, more radiant, and youthful. The unique, multi-tasking product mainly targets hyperpigmentation and stubborn dark spots to leave the skin perfectly clarified.
- A lightweight, oil-free gel cream with a multi-tasking formula
- Infused with 10% azelaic acid, salicylic acid, and licorice root extract
- Unclogs skin pores to clear breakouts
- Visibly fades brown spots and post-acne marks
- Smoothens bumpy texture of the skin
- Evens out the skin tone and color
- Brightens up the skin naturally
- It makes the skin younger-looking
- Calms redness and sensitivity
- It suits all skin types
- It can be used alone or along with other skin treatments
Price: $39 for one fl. oz. (30 ml.)
9. Avon Solutions Banishing Cream Skin Discoloration Improver
If you want an affordable solution for your pigmentation problem, choose this Banishing Cream Skin Discoloration Improver by Avon Solutions. It also nourishes the skin while evening out the tone gradually.
- A lightweight, non-greasy, and moisturizing formulation
- Features a unique brightening complex, botanical extracts, and vitamin E
- It gets absorbed into the skin quickly
- Moisturizes and nourishes the skin deeply
- Lightens age spots, brown spots, and dark spots
- Reduces the appearance of discoloration
- It makes the skin tone even and bright
- It helps the skin look more youthful
- Free from phthalates, parabens, and sulfates
- Tested by dermatologists
Price: $14 for 2.5 fl. oz. (75 ml.)
10. The INKEY List Tranexamic Acid Hyperpigmentation Treatment
The INKEY List Tranexamic Acid Hyperpigmentation Treatment aids in reducing pigmentation around the mouth and eyes with its potent ingredients. Enriched with vitamin C, this overnight treatment also targets dark spots, dullness, and uneven skin texture.
- Features a lightweight gel formula
- A concentrated blend of tranexamic acid 2%, acai berry extract 2%, and vitamin C derivative 2%
- Reduces hyperpigmentation and dark spots
- Promotes even skin tone
- Repairs damaged skin cells
- It makes dull skin significantly brighter
- Fights against the signs of aging
- It suits all types of skin
- Free from sulfates (SLS and SLES), parabens, phthalates, etc.
Price: $15.99 for one fl. oz. (30 ml.)
How to Apply Pigmentation Creams?
Before applying the product, cleanse your skin thoroughly with a gentle cleanser and pat it dry with a soft towel. Then, apply a thin layer of the cream to the affected part of the skin. Massage gently by following upward, circular strokes until it thoroughly gets absorbed into the skin. Repeat twice every day – in the morning and at night.
Pigmentation is a highly common skin concern that is mostly caused by excessive sun exposure, aging, inflammation, acne, etc. It affects people irrespective of their age, gender, and skin type. However, pigmentation can be prevented as well as treated successfully. Wearing sun protection religiously may help you stay away from this skincare struggle. If you already have pigmentation, go for OTC pigmentation creams, vitamin C serum, AHA and BHA cleansers, microdermabrasion, etc. based on the intensity of the problem. While choosing a good pigmentation cream for your discolored skin, make sure that you look for the right ingredients in it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Does Vitamin C Help with Pigmentation?
Being a natural skin-lightening agent with potent antioxidant properties, vitamin C helps make pigmentation lighter to a great extent. It also helps prevent the overproduction of melanin by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase.
How Long Does Pigmentation Take to Fade?
Based on the condition’s intensity, it may take three months to 2 years.
Does Vitamin E Help with Pigmentation?
Vitamin E alone has only moderate effects on pigmentation. However, it may work amazingly for this purpose when combined with vitamin C.
Does Drinking Water Help Hyperpigmentation?
Yes, drinking at least eight glasses of water daily helps detoxify the body and replenish the skin, which combats pigmentation.
Which Vitamin Deficiency Causes Pigmentation on the Face?
Studies have found that the deficiency of vitamin B9 and vitamin B12 can lead to the development of pigmentation.
- “What to Do About Pigmentation,” MedicalNewsToday.com
- “What to Know About Hyperpigmentation,” MedicalNewsToday.com