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Acne scars. Freckles. Melasma.
Those dark spots are discoloring your skin.
If you’re tired of piling on makeup and fretting in the mirror, let’s do something about it.
Today, we’ll review the best face masks for hyperpigmentation.
You’ll discover which ingredients fade discoloration and brighten skin tone.
Although masks don’t work as quickly as some treatments, they are gentler to your face.
Most have additional benefits like exfoliation, unclogging pores, or reducing wrinkles.
- Which face mask is best for dark spots?
- Ingredients that fade hyperpigmentation
- Ingredients that exfoliate
- Protect your skin against hyperpigmentation in the future
- Mario Badescu Whitening Mask
- Paula’s Choice Radiance Renewal Night Mask with Arbutin and Niacinamide
- LATHER 10-Minute Brightening Mask
- My Beauty Diary Arbutin Glow Boosting Mask
- Shiseido White Lucent Power Brightening Mask for Unisex
- [MIZON] Good Night White Sleeping Mask
- Olehenriksen Phat Glow Facial Mask
- Citrus Peach- Minimo Glow Skin Brightening Facial Scrub and Mask
- Anti-Aging & Refining Clay Mask by Eve Hansen
- L’Oréal Paris Skincare Pure-Clay Face Mask with Charcoal
- Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask
- Brightening Pumpkin Enzyme Face Mask by Alana Mitchell
- Sanitas Progressive Skinhealth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask
- Natura Bisse Diamond White Glowing Mask
- Nella Oneday Whitener
- Annie’s Way Arbutin plus Hyaluronic Acid Brightening Cleansing Jelly Mask
- Vivo Per Lei Facial Peeling Gel
- REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask
- IMAGE Skincare Ageless Total Resurfacing Masque
- Licorice Root Powder
- Cocoa Beautiful Cocoa Butter Fade Cream
- Differin Dark Spot Correcting Serum
Which face mask is best for dark spots?
As you shop for face masks to erase dark spots, you should know a few things first.
You need one that will lighten your skin and exfoliate for the best results (1).
These two actions will produce a radiant complexion over time.
Ingredients that fade hyperpigmentation
Hydroquinone is the gold standard for treating hyperpigmentation.
It works better than anything else science has discovered so far.
If you visit with a dermatologist about hyperpigmentation, they might prescribe a cream for you to use. It will be stronger than the over-the-counter version.
It’s likely to take a few weeks to make a visible difference, but it almost always works (2).
It doesn’t just make the hyperpigmentation less visible; it also prevents melanin from causing new dark spots.
Unfortunately, hydroquinone is not approved as “safe and effective” by the FDA yet (3). It’s also banned in Europe and some parts of Asia.
The problem is that the misuse of hydroquinone has serious consequences. It may also worsen discoloration in dark skin tones.
If those facts put you off hydroquinone, look for kojic acid instead (4).
Or use a product with bearberry, also known as arbutin. Both act similarly to hydroquinone (5).
Licorice root also diminishes discoloration, and Vitamin C can prevent new spots from forming (6).
Ingredients that exfoliate
Next, look for masks that exfoliate.
If they remove dead, discolored skin, and speed up cellular renewal, your complexion will improve more quickly.
Ingredients like these include alpha-hydroxy acids like lactic and glycolic acid or salicylic acid, which is a beta hydroxy acid.
Sometimes these are described as sugarcane extract or fruit juice enzymes.
Retinol is another good option for resurfacing and rejuvenating your skin.
Protect your skin against hyperpigmentation in the future
You can do the work to treat hyperpigmentation at home.
But it will all be for nothing if you don’t wear sunscreen.
Some of these ingredients, like hydroquinone or hydroxy acids, will make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. More sunlight means more discoloration because it triggers more melanin production.
Just wear sunscreen.
Now, let’s get started on reviews of face masks to lighten your skin.
Mario Badescu Whitening Mask
One of the celebrity favorite face masks for dark spots is made by Mario Badescu.
It’s based on kojic acid, which is similar to hydroquinone. It fades hyperpigmentation and prevents new discoloration from forming.
Meanwhile, licorice root and mulberry also help brighten skin tone.
Apply the mask after you wash, then wait at least ten minutes before you rinse.
Some users say they saw a positive difference in only two weeks.
Maximize your results by following up with a serum or moisturizer designed to erase hyperpigmentation.
Paula’s Choice Radiance Renewal Night Mask with Arbutin and Niacinamide
Paula’s Choice night mask features arbutin. This ingredient acts like hydroquinone to lighten discoloration and inhibit new dark spots from forming.
In conjunction with salicylic acid, it literally renews texture and color.
There’s also niacinamide, which is excellent for reducing redness like that caused by rosacea. It strengthens the skin to help it stay hydrated for longer.
Then, there’s Vitamin C to brighten tone and produce more collagen.
The final key component is hyaluronic acid. This is a superior moisturizer that holds up to 1000 times its weight in water.
Wear this mask to bed, and you’ll wake up looking more radiant.
Plus, you won’t have to worry about artificial ingredients like fragrances or parabens.
LATHER 10-Minute Brightening Mask
LATHER combines kojic acid and glycolic acid and a mask that only takes a few minutes to make a difference. It’s like a skin-brightening peel.
It’s pretty strong, though, so don’t use it if your skin is broken out or irritated.
Please remember to wear sunscreen when you go outdoors, too.
Happily, there are no sulfates, dyes, fragrances, or parabens in the formula. The only scent comes from grapefruit essential oil.
My Beauty Diary Arbutin Glow Boosting Mask
The updated version of this mask comes eight to a box. It’s best for normal skin.
The arbutin prohibits melanin from forming under the skin. Therefore, age spots and freckles fade away.
Meanwhile, licorice extract, lemon, and cucumber make the skin more even-toned and luminous.
Finally, yeast protein, grapefruit extract, algae, and ginseng rejuvenate your complexion.
Shiseido White Lucent Power Brightening Mask for Unisex
Perhaps the best face mask for acne scars is this one by Shiseido. It’s based on the tradition of skin whitening that was popular for centuries in Asia.
This Japanese company has created a proprietary Ion Force Technology. It saturates your face with lightning and whitening ingredients. Not only does it diminish melasma and similar problems, but it also prevents them from coming back.
[MIZON] Good Night White Sleeping Mask
This mask is very hydrating and soothing. But it still helps with discoloration because it has niacinamide and mulberry extract.
The pleasant fragrance comes from lavender. It’s aromatherapy to help you get a good night’s rest.
Olehenriksen Phat Glow Facial Mask
Here’s a facial in a bottle. It has exotic ingredients like Nordic birch sap, pink bentonite clay, and Polyhydroxy acid. The latter is a gentle alternative to lactic and glycolic acids.
The mask is made to address discoloration, acne scars, fine lines, and pimples all at once.
It contains no sulfates, parabens, formaldehyde releasers, phthalates, retinal palmitate, hydroquinone, or ingredients derived from animals.
Citrus Peach- Minimo Glow Skin Brightening Facial Scrub and Mask
Minimo’s mask doubles as a scrub, depending on how long you let it sit on your face. Or you can combine the benefits by massaging it like a scrub, then letting it work as a mask.
It uses turmeric to clear up acne scars and the like. At the same time, pure cane sugar exfoliates dead skin.
While raw Manuka honey prevents infection, hemp seed oil removes blackheads and minimizes pores.
Anti-Aging & Refining Clay Mask by Eve Hansen
Eve Hansen’s clay mask targets mature skin.
It promises to detoxify, soothe inflammation, and minimize age spots.
The paraben-free formula has plenty of antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E. And the exfoliating action comes from kaolin clay and crushed cranberry seeds.
L’Oréal Paris Skincare Pure-Clay Face Mask with Charcoal
L’Oreal’s Pure Clay mask comes in different flavors. I selected the one with charcoal, which works well on oily and combination skin. Fortunately, it’s creamy and not overly drying.
The charcoal pulls impurities out of clog pores while seaweed evens out skin tone.
Use the mask ten minutes at a time, and get ten uses from each jar.
Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask
It sounds like something you’d serve at Thanksgiving dinner, doesn’t it? This mask is rich in sweet ingredients like pumpkin purée and Manuka honey.
Pumpkin is currently popular for brightening skin tone and smoothing texture. It has a high amount of beta carotene to get the job done.
But there’s also glycolic acid to exfoliate dead cells. It’s surprisingly moisturizing for an exfoliant.
This is another 10-minute mask with no artificial ingredients. Inasmuch as possible, it uses ingredients that are non-GMO, vegan, sustainable, and Fair Trade.
Brightening Pumpkin Enzyme Face Mask by Alana Mitchell
Yes, pumpkin is packed with alpha hydroxy acids and Vitamins A and C. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it works wonders on the skin.
Big-name skincare manufacturers like Peter Thomas Roth have all jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon.
Your mileage may vary, but it’s worth a try if you prefer to avoid harsher chemicals.
Give it at least two or three months of regular use before you give up on seeing results.
Sanitas Progressive Skinhealth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask
Sanitas says to apply their mask three times a week for 15 minutes each time. It helps remove blackheads, smooth wrinkles, and lighten discoloration.
Try it if you have brown spots from sun damage.
It’s quite moisturizing. With a blend of antioxidants and botanical ingredients, it helps turn back time.
Natura Bisse Diamond White Glowing Mask
You’ll want to wear the Diamond White Glowing Mask for 20 minutes each time. It works best if you exfoliate first.
Over time, it makes sun spots less noticeable, and it smooths wrinkles. It also thwarts new dark patches from appearing.
What makes it work? Pomegranate, betaine, and bisabolol.
Pomegranate has an acid that fades melanin. Then betaine, which comes from sugar beets, stops melanin from forming.
You might expect to have reddened skin after treating it with a mask like this. But bisabolol, from chamomile, soothes redness.
Nella Oneday Whitener
Nella’s whitening mask employs Pseudoalteromonas and Bifida ferment— which are bacteria—to fix hyperpigmentation.
Luckily, it’s also been clinically tested against the Skin Irritation Test to make sure it won’t trigger an allergic reaction.
It even smells nice.
Annie’s Way Arbutin plus Hyaluronic Acid Brightening Cleansing Jelly Mask
From Taiwan comes this jelly mask that stays put on your face while you do other things. That’s handy as you’ll need to wear it for 20-30 minutes.
Principal ingredients include Vitamin C, Arbutin, and hyaluronic acid.
It’s made to slow down premature aging, firm the skin, lighten tone, and moisturize.
Vivo Per Lei Facial Peeling Gel
If you want the benefits of a Dead Sea mud mask, but don’t want to deal with the mess, try this peeling gel instead.
It doubles as a scrub.
You only need to use it once or twice a week to improve your complexion.
REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask
Peeling off a mask can be very satisfying. This one dries in about 10 minutes.
It tingles a bit, too. Natural fruit acids from papaya remove dead skin to clear away blackheads and discoloration.
The side effect is improved cellular turnover and fresher, younger-looking skin.
IMAGE Skincare Ageless Total Resurfacing Masque
The IMAGE Resurfacing Masque blends arbutin, glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids, and micro-exfoliating crystals.
Don’t plan on using it every day as it’s potent. It’s like a makeover with intense exfoliation.
But the results are just what you need when you want to get rid of dark spots.
Licorice Root Powder
The best DIY face mask for hyperpigmentation starts with ingredients like licorice root powder.
Licorice root is a natural skin lightener, an alternative to hydroquinone. It bleaches without side effects.
It’s also good for treating psoriasis and soothing dry, sensitive skin.
The powder comes from organic fields in India. Blend it with warm water alone for a basic mask. Or go the extra mile by adding aloe, hibiscus, neem oil, or rose petals.
Cocoa Beautiful Cocoa Butter Fade Cream
Okay, you got me – this isn’t a face mask. I thought you should be aware of other possibilities for treating hyperpigmentation.
This cream is a leave-on moisturizer. It has 2% hydroquinone, the maximum non-prescription concentration available.
It also has octisalate, a sunscreen.
The manufacturer recommends using it daily for three months to see improvement.
Since hydroquinone can spoil when exposed to air, be sure to cap it tightly and keep it in a cool, dark place.
Also, this cream is packed with ingredients that those with sensitive skin will want to avoid. For example, it has mineral oil, lanolin, and an artificial fragrance. On the other hand, hydroquinone can be drying, so skin conditioners are essential.
Differin Dark Spot Correcting Serum
Differin’s serum is a tried and tested product that you can use every day.
It’s clear and non-greasy, which allows you to wear it under makeup.
Besides hydroquinone 2%, it has sea buckthorn berry oil. This last ingredient helps heal and restore your skin to natural radiance.
It’s frustrating to have hyperpigmentation.
You may feel embarrassed or discouraged.
Add a face mask for hyperpigmentation to your routine and watch as your skin lightens and brightens.
It’s especially effective if you combine it with other products like serums and moisturizers.
If you discovered a new favorite face mask today, tell us about it in the comments below.
1. https://www.leaf.tv/9789245/face-masks-for-discoloration/ by Hilary White, accessed December 17, 2019
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539693/ published August 29, 2019, accessed December 17, 2019
3. https://www.drugs.com/pro/hydroquinone-cream.html published January 1, 2019, accessed December 17, 2019
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3468271/ by Ahmad Firdaus B. Lajis, et al., published October 2, 2012, accessed December 17, 2019
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5843359/ by Jasmine C. Hollinger, et al., published February 1, 2018, accessed December 17, 2019
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/ by Juliet M. Pullar, et al., published August 12, 2017, accessed December 17, 2019