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Hyperpigmentation is not your fault, but you have the power to do something about it.
You may develop dark patches of skin because of acne, bug bites, psoriasis, sun exposure, pregnancy, or medication.
But you can reduce the discoloration, starting with the way you cleanse your skin.
That’s why today we’ll review the best face washes and cleansers for hyperpigmentation.
Left on its own, your skin might fade dark spots within 6 months to a year (1).
But something as simple as an exfoliating cleanser might get the job done in 6 weeks.
As you shop for a face wash for melasma or other types of discoloration, look for these ingredients:
Some of these are exfoliants and some bleach skin.
You might need both types to clear up hyperpigmentation at home.
The exfoliators remove dead skin and speed up regeneration. The new skin is likely to be less pigmented.
Meanwhile, skin lightening agents like kojic acid and hydroquinone go to work on the pigment or melanin in your skin.
Besides face cleansers, there are toners, serums, and creams that reduce discoloration.
If you go to a salon, you could get a microdermabrasion treatment.
Or a dermatologist may apply a chemical peel, do laser skin resurfacing, or use IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) therapy (2).
But before you turn to expensive procedures, you can begin at home with how you wash your face.
Let’s look at the best cleansers in face washes for hyperpigmentation.
Sold in European pharmacies, the trusted brand La Roche-Posay has been in business for over a century.
The Pigmentclar Cleanser features a chemical exfoliator called lipo-hydroxy acid. It’s gentler to the skin than salicylic acid and very effective.
The face wash foams up as you use it to wash away dead, dull skin. It’s mild enough to use twice a day, and it won’t leave your face feeling tight or dry.
The results of regular use are brighter, more even skin tone and texture.
There are no parabens in the formula.
DDF is an American company that makes this Brightening Cleanser with a licorice fragrance.
It contains glycolic and salicylic acid to ensure smoother, more radiant skin. It also chases away acne.
Some users have commented that they use it with a Clarisonic or similar tool to scrub their faces. It makes a noticeable difference within a few weeks.
This is a paraben-free formula.
Mario Badescu’s foaming cleanser contains both glycolic acid and urea to resurface the skin.
It’s also packed with natural extracts like chamomile, marshmallow, sage, and St. John’s wort. Together, they smooth and condition.
This product is potent enough that you may only need to use it three times a week.
Here’s another glycolic acid face wash that doubles as a shaving cream. If you have a problem with ingrown hairs, this could be the answer.
While it deep-cleanses, it also hydrates dry skin.
Surprisingly, glycolic acid doesn’t strip moisture, but rather attracts it.
The formula is hypoallergenic as it’s free of synthetic perfumes and soaps.
Paula’s Choice explains the purpose of each ingredient on the label. Even if you don’t read anything else on the bottle, you’ll discover what this face wash does.
For example, it has a pH balancer, an exfoliant, and various ingredients that hydrate and calm the skin.
The 2% concentration of beta hydroxy acid is enough to even out skin tone, shrink pores, and get rid of blackheads. It can also shrink wrinkles.
In case you’re wondering what beta hydroxy acid is, it’s also known as salicylic acid. It’s one of the best ingredients for combating acne.
Finally, there are no parabens, and there is no artificial fragrance, either.
What is kojic acid?
Perhaps you’ve heard of hydroquinone. Kojic acid is similar to that. It’s an effective weapon against skin discoloration. It was discovered in Asia, and it’s a byproduct of rice fermentation (3).
Kojic acid inhibits pigment formation in the skin.
When you use Kojic acid soap to wash your face, you can fade sun spots, age spots, and acne scars.
The soap has a refreshing citrus fragrance, and it makes a lot of lather. You can use it on both your face and body.
It has no sulfates and no parabens.
Check out the company’s other products like kojic acid soap with charcoal.
Vitamin C is excellent for brightening skin tone and rejuvenating the skin. It can reduce wrinkles and sag, too.
The gel formula is gentle enough to use twice a day and strong enough to prevent acne and fade discoloration. It’s rich in organic and natural ingredients like aloe, rosehip seed, tea tree oil, and orange peel extract.
This glycolic acid cleanser comes with a 90-day satisfaction guarantee.
It contains 2.5% glycolic acid plus willow bark and jojoba beads. Willow bark is the forerunner to salicylic acid.
Meanwhile, jojoba beads are a safe and natural way to exfoliate your skin without harming the environment. They last just long enough to scrub away discoloration and dead skin.
Other ingredients include organic olive oil, organic rosehip oil, organic aloe, and cucumber.
SkinMedica covers all the bases by combining both alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids in this exfoliating face wash. There are also little jojoba beads to scrub without tearing your skin.
As you use it daily, it resurfaces your face. It improves both color and texture by lessening hyperpigmentation and fine lines.
Over time, the company says their products will reduce even the “most severe discoloration.”
Instanatural’s glycolic cleanser is made in the USA and comes with 100% satisfaction guarantee. It goes back to nature to clear up imperfections.
It brightens your face while it hydrates with ingredients like lemon, apple, sugarcane, and vitamin E.
The primary exfoliants are glycolic acid, lactic acid, and willow bark.
But there’s also calming chamomile and arginine to rebuild collagen and shrink pores.
The Glycolix cleanser is intense. It has 10% glycolic acid plus 2% salicylic acid for effective exfoliation. Those are the maximum over-the-counter concentrations allowed.
As you wash with it, it literally sweeps away impurities and dead skin to refresh your face. But it won’t upset the natural pH balance.
Should you happen to have acne or keratosis pilaris, it helps with those conditions, too.
OZNaturals includes a powerful moisturizer in this cleanser. It has hyaluronic acid, which holds up to 1000 times its own weight in water.
Your skin should never feel tight or itchy after washing with this product.
It also contains Vitamin C and rosehip. These are rich in antioxidants that prevent premature aging. They also fade discoloration like acne scars.
Lastly, the addition of Vitamin E keeps the skin healthy and strong. Happily, there are no sulfates or parabens in the bottle.
Makari makes a line of skin-lightening products like this face and body cleanser. You can use it to reduce hyperpigmentation on any part of your skin.
One of the key ingredients is mulberry root extract that functions like kojic acid or hydroquinone. It weakens the pigment to fade discoloration.
There’s also glycolic acid to scrub away dead skin.
Use it daily to make your face more radiant. Leave it on for a minute before you rinse.
TOUCH puts the maximum concentration of 10% glycolic acid in this face wash. It’s made in the USA, and it’s free of parabens, dyes, drying alcohols, and sulfates.
Use it alone or with a face scrubbing brush.
Moreover, it prevents redness and irritation with chamomile, green tea, and aloe.
Proactiv makes a variety of acne-fighting products like this Renewing Cleanser.
Although it’s made with benzoyl peroxide to kill acne bacteria, it also has tiny exfoliating beads to unclog pores. A side effect is that it promotes rapid skin turnover.
The faster your skin renews itself, the faster the discoloration fades.
If you’re dealing with pimples as well as acne scars, this could be the ideal choice.
In ancient Korea, women in the palace wash their faces with rice. They said it kept their skin light-colored and healthy.
It turns out that rice bran enzyme powder unclogs pores and clears away dead-discolored skin. It also imparts moisture and brightens the complexion.
Why not try this K beauty product and benefit from the wisdom of the ages?
Besides rice powder, it features 50 natural antioxidants, 10 essential amino acids, 8 enzymes, and other nutrients.
There are no drying sulfates and no parabens.
Don’t ask us how they did it, but this cleanser has 13% glycolic acid. That’s the highest concentration we discovered. But even with this amount, they say it can take up to 6 weeks before you see noticeable results.
The medical-grade formula clears up blackheads and reduces dark spots alike. It also diminishes wrinkles and firms the skin.
Additionally, it’s cruelty-free and has no parabens.
Majestic Pure designed this foaming cleanser for oily skin. They don’t recommend it for pregnant women.
It’s based on potent natural ingredients like peppermint oil, lactic acid, and tea tree oil.
It clears up pimples and prevents breakouts with healing ingredients like Alpine willow herb and arnica. At the same time, it diminishes scars and blemishes.
Even though it’s powerful, you can use it every day as it’s non-drying.
If you’re looking for an organic face wash for hyperpigmentation, you’ve found it. 74% of the ingredients are certified organic.
It contains botanicals like reishi mushrooms, olive oil, and rosehip seed oil. Wherever possible, the ingredients are derived from plants.
Use it on any skin type, whether it’s dry or oily.
Over time, it brightens skin tone and lessens signs of aging.
Ambi makes a variety of products to lighten discoloration. Their foaming cleanser has soy extract and salicylic acid to produce even-toned skin.
It also clears up breakouts and takes good care of sensitive skin.
Evologie’s hydrating cleanser has something they call “patented YS3 technology.” It penetrates below the surface to promote healing and regeneration.
It’s appropriate for all skin types as it hydrates without stripping essential natural oils. The label reveals that it contains exfoliators like azelaic acid and salicylic acid.
The company offers a full refund if you aren’t 100% satisfied with the results.
American Choice Awards presented Eavara with a prize for best anti-aging skincare because of this organic facial cleanser.
If you have mature skin that’s developed sunspots or age spots, this is a good option.
It’s made with green tea to combat free radicals that cause premature aging. When you wash with it, it boosts collagen production with Vitamin E and moisturizes with coconut and Tamanu oils.
While there are scrubs and cleansers that specifically target discoloration, this one brightens skin tone and promotes a youthful complexion.
Hyperpigmentation is a hassle. It can cause a person to feel uncomfortable about their appearance.
But something as simple as a face wash can start eliminating the problem.
If you’ve discovered a cleanser that helps your hyperpigmentation, let us know about it in the comments below.
1. https://www.aad.org/skin-care-secrets/fade-dark-spots accessed November 5, 2019
2. https://www.wikihow.com/Treat-Hyperpigmentation#references by Marsha Durkin, RN, published March 29, 2019, accessed November 5, 2019
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kojic_acid accessed November 5, 2019
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