So you’ve finally completed your most recent breakout. It’s time to celebrate! But you look in the mirror and … patchy black spots. What will you do next? Thanks to my darker skin, I’ve been dealing with this question for over a decade. Even when I’m using sunscreen and fighting breakouts, I’m left with dark spots. Over the years, I’ve tried every product that claims to work for dark spots, hyperpigmentation, or post-acne scarring. Some? Futile. Others, completely transformed! But it’s been a long hard journey to find the best melasma products on the market.
For a long time, my skin care was primarily focused on fixing hormonal flare-ups quickly. I cringed at the fake beauty I had futilely committed to. I made all the classic mistakes. I fell asleep in my makeup too many times. I’ve indulged in too many homemade acne treatments – like applying toothpaste on a pimple or applying lemon juice on a bruise – only to wonder why my skin is always irritated and inflamed. Then I spent years thinking that my oily skin meant I shouldn’t need moisturizer and my dark skin meant I didn’t need sunscreen. On top of that, like so many others, I had a strong love affair with St. Ives Apricot Scrub in his acne-filled teenage years.
After all of that, my hormones have balanced and left me with rare breakouts but persistent hyperpigmentation. If my skincare journey has taught me anything, it’s been patience. The so-called easy to deal with only aggravates your skin. And nothing works if you don’t give it time. From what I’ve found, even the best hyperpigmentation products take a few weeks to really start showing results. But don’t lose hope! With guidance and consistency, you can fade reminders of past flare-ups.
Read on for some of the best melasma products I’ve found in over a decade as a skincare lover and beauty editor.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
There are three main types of hyperpigmentation and they all have different causes. Melasma is a side effect of the aging process, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is the dark spots left behind by acne, and sun-induced hyperpigmentation are dark spots commonly known as sunspots. Each symptom is different, so each person needs different treatment. Identifying the cause of hyperpigmentation is the first and most important step to finding a solution.
How can I prevent hyperpigmentation?
Even The best hyperpigmentation products can’t help if you don’t take preventive measures. In general, sunscreen helps prevent an increase in melanin production caused by sun exposure. It also blocks the effects of aging, including melasma, and will completely prevent sun-induced hyperpigmentation.
You can also prevent hyperpigmentation with a comprehensive skin care regimen tailored to your specific concerns. If you have acne-prone skin that leaves a lot of blemishes, a cleansing routine will help prevent breakouts in the first place. You can also add a prescription retinoid, like tretinoin, to your product line to encourage cell turnover. After a few weeks of that dreaded retinol purge, your skin should look like new – both in texture and tone.
What Professional Treatment Helps Fade Hyperpigmentation?
For a faster process with more immediate results, consult an esthetician or dermatologist to find out which professional treatment might be right for you. Cosmetic treatments can transform the skin’s appearance, addressing hyperpigmentation by targeting the top layer of the dermis. Use some The best melasma products along with professional treatments are the best way to see results.
One of the most effective and popular treatments for hyperpigmentation is chemical peels. I’ve done these things before and every time I do, they change my life. After seven days, the treatment removed the top layer of my skin to reveal a clearer, more even surface. With the help of a skin specialist, you can choose the strength needed for your goals. From there, you’re ready to go.
The downside of chemical peels? They take seven days of downtime where you can barely leave the house because your face is literally peeling. I know what that sounds like, no thanks. But know that if you’re short on time — I have plenty of places to go and Zoom will be calling to join as well — other treatments may give you more immediate results.
Laser therapy is another popular hyperpigmentation treatment. The laser penetrates deep beneath the layers of the skin to stimulate cell turnover and target melanin production, thereby fading dark spots with consistent treatments. However, these are not suitable for all types of melasma, as light therapy can make your hyperpigmentation worse.
Skin grinding and microdermabrasion
Other in-clinic treatments include dermabrasion or microdermabrasion for deep exfoliation. Dermabrasion is more powerful, uses a high-speed brush to resurface your skin and remove or reduce the depth of scars. This rigorous process can take up to three weeks to heal. For a similar procedure with no downtime, try microdermabrasion, which uses a hand-held device to remove surface skin. Multiple treatments can go a long way.
Talk to your dermatologist about which treatments may be best for your type of hyperpigmentation. Doctors may also prescribe retinoids, which help increase cell turnover and address external signs of aging such as hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.
What Ingredients Should I Look for In Hyperpigmentation Products?
Don’t worry, there’s hope for your hyperpigmentation beyond professional treatments and retinoids. With regular use of the right over-the-counter products, you can fade dark spots on your own. Experts recommend combining ingredients that help increase cell turnover with ingredients that moisturize and restore the lipid barrier to protect you from sun damage. This means creating a skin care routine that balances active and nourishing ingredients.
For active ingredients, look for exfoliating ingredients like azelaic acid, kojic acid, tranexamic acid, alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic and lactic acids), and retinol. Other actives include antioxidant stars like niacinamide and vitamin C. To keep your skin protected and nourished as you add potentially harsh ingredients, be sure to add conditioners moisture such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid. And of course, don’t forget to use the best SPF for your skin type.