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23 Best Skin Lightening Creams for Hyperpigmentation: Reviews & Buying Guide

by  Doris Harris -  Last Updated On 30th December 2020

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Acne scars.


Bug bites, allergic reactions, psoriasis, medication, and age spots.

These are all causes of hyperpigmentation–those dark spots on your skin that drive you crazy.

So, what is the best treatment for hyperpigmentation?

I’d say you should consult with a dermatologist to find out.

Chances are you might benefit from laser therapy, microdermabrasion, or chemical peels (1).

But since you’re here and not in a doctor’s office, let’s talk about the best hyperpigmentation lightening creams.

After all, they’re much less expensive than a trip to a clinic.

They may take a few weeks to work, but these treatments will lighten darker skin patches by a few shades.

How to lighten pigmentation?

First off, there’s a difference between pigmentation and hyperpigmentation.

One is your natural skin coloring, and the other is a response to injury.

Our hyperpigmentation cream reviews are for diminishing dark spots caused by excess pigment.

Ingredients like azelaic acid, hydroquinone, kojic acid, niacinamide, retinoids, licorice, arbutin (from bearberry), and glycolic acid appear in many skin lightening creams.

Some speed-up exfoliation to remove and get rid of discolored, dead skin.

Others inhibit pigment formation (2).

In either case, an at-home treatment takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to make a noticeable difference.

To speed up the process, you’ll need to be consistent about applying the cream you choose.

For faster results, exfoliate your skin at least once a week.

And use one of the best face washes and cleansers for hyperpigmentation.

Quick Comparison

If you don’t have time to read the complete article, here are our top picks.

Then, prevent new dark spots from forming, wear sunscreen, and don’t pick pimples or scabs.

Now, let’s look at reviews of the best lightening creams for hyperpigmentation.

23 Top Skin Lightening Creams for Hyperpigmentation (2021 Update)

1. Makari Naturalle Intense Extreme Lightening FACE Cream with Shea Butter & SPF 15

One of the best treatments for hyperpigmentation on the face is this cream from Makari.

Naturelle includes both lightening ingredients and sunscreen. That’s crucial as the lightener makes the skin more sensitive to the sun.

In fact, this is a day cream with added benefits. You won’t need to double up on products as it can replace your regular moisturizer.

It has a proprietary solution called Vegeclarine. Not only will it lighten acne scars and age spots, but it also diminishes wrinkles.

2. Makari Exclusive Facial Toning FACE CREAM– Lightening Lotion with Organiclarine

This face cream differs from the one above with regards to the active ingredient. It contains Organiclarine, a natural bleaching agent, and melanin-blocker.

Use it three times a week to fade brown spots and pregnancy pigmentation.

3. Makari Naturalle Carotonic Extreme Lightening FACE Cream with Carrot Oil & SPF 15

If you have naturally darker skin, you might be concerned about using lightening cream. That concern is valid as some products might whiten your tone instead of just fading hyperpigmentation.

In response to this problem, Makari created the Carotonic cream. It’s free of hydroquinone and relies on plant-based ingredients.

Some of the key components include Vegeclarine, mulberry extract, carrot oil, and licorice.

While it resolves acne scars, it also minimizes wrinkles.

4. Makari Naturalle Multi-Action Extreme Skin Lightening FACE Cream – with Argan Oil & SPF 15

What if you have dark circles and hyperpigmentation? Can the same product treat both problems?

Yes, this one can.

It’s also ideal for oily skin as it regulates sebum and reduces acne breakouts.

5. Paula’s Choice CLINICAL Triple-Action Dark Spot Eraser

Paula’s Choice includes 2% hydroquinone and 7% alpha hydroxy acid in the Dark Spot Eraser cream.

What is hydroquinone?

It’s melanin-blocker. That means it stops your skin from producing pigment (3).

In most cases, it’s effective and safe.

But if you are pregnant, have asthma, eczema, or psoriasis, check with your doctor before using hydroquinone products. Also, it will make your skin more likely to sunburn.

Next, this lightening cream has lactic and glycolic acid. These are gentle exfoliants that get rid of dead skin so that fresh skin with less discoloration grows back in its place. Unlike salicylic acid, they attract moisture and don’t cause dryness.

You can use the Dark Spot Eraser on your face, chest, and hands. It’s made for all skin types. There are no artificial fragrances and no parabens in it.

6. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Eventone Fade Cream

Palmer’s hyperpigmentation cream for the body will brighten up age spots on the hands and remove acne scars on the back or chest.

It has a mild white lily fragrance and a silky texture. It’s made with cocoa butter, coconut oil, shea butter, and olive oil to condition the skin.

It also has Vitamin C, a natural brightener, plus licorice extract to even skin tone. But the primary bleaching agent is something called Synovea (4).

This component is also known as Hexylresorcinol. It’s been around since 1925. It’s been used to keep shrimp from turning brown. But it’s also generally acknowledged as safe for use on humans. It’s an effective skin brightener that’s been clinically proven multiple times.

7. Porcelana Skin Lightening Night Cream & Fade Dark Spots Treatment Skin Lightening Day Cream

Porcelana offers this set of day and night creams to lighten skin. They contain 2% hydroquinone, the maximum allowed concentration in over-the-counter products. The day cream has sunscreen, too.

Both moisturizers are packed with skin conditioners like avocado oil and Vitamin E. Unfortunately, both appear to have mineral oil and parabens.

8. Pink Madison Skin Lightening Cream

Instead of hydroquinone, this cream contains Kojic acid and bearberry extract.

Bearberry extract has a phytochemical called arbutin. Arbutin is a natural source of hydroquinone (5).

The formula also contains licorice root, which breaks up pigment and prevents it from developing (6).

As you treat your skin with it, the cream will nourish the skin with vitamins and moisture. It provides anti-aging benefits and doesn’t contain salicylic acid.

9. La Mav Skin Lightening Cream

What if you could buy a product with a 100% satisfaction guarantee? This day cream comes with the promise that you’ll be pleased with the results or you’ll have your money back.

While it fades dark spots, it leaves the skin silky soft.

Some of the key ingredients include licorice root, Vitamin C, and Dermochlorella. These are natural skin brighteners.

10. Kojie San Whitening Face Cream

It comes in a tiny jar, but users say it works well. The formula doesn’t just fade dark spots, but it also prevents new ones from forming.

It does this with Kojic acid.

Kojic acid is a byproduct of rice fermentation. It’s a centuries-old Asian remedy for skin whitening.

11. Skin Lightening Cream by Eva Naturals

Here’s a cream that strives to use only natural ingredients to lighten skin.

It features Kojic acid, bearberry, and licorice that brighten skin tone and fade discoloration.

The manufacturer says that it’s effective against melasma (pregnancy hyperpigmentation) and freckles.

While you use it, you’ll also profit from Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamins B and E. These elements help produce more collagen to firm the skin and keep it soft and healthy.

12. Dark Spot Corrector Cream for Face and Sensitive Skin by PurePeaks

The manufacturer of this corrector cream says that you’ll start to see results within 4 weeks. It works on scars, dark spots, and melasma, as well as wrinkles and fine lines.

The active ingredients include niacinamide, licorice, mulberry, and arbutin. Together, these lighten hyperpigmentation and prevent new discoloration from forming. It is an ideal choice for women with sensitive skin.

13. Lightening Cream, Underarm Whitening Cream by AsaVea

Instead of treating age spots or acne scars, you might want to lighten the skin of your underarm, groin, or neck. This cream is made for those purposes.

It dilutes the melanin that’s formed in these awkward spots.

Interestingly, it also helps prevent ingrown hairs after shaving.

14. Advanced Skin Bleaching Cream for Face – Body by Lariolla

Here’s another cream for sensitive areas like the inner thighs and underarms. It gets rid of excess pigment to even the tone of your skin.

Happily, it’s free of parabens and was never tested on animals.

Although we looked for the full list of ingredients, the only ones we found were mulberry, bearberry, aloe, hyaluronic acid, cucumber oil, and orange essential oil.

15. Dark Spot Corrector Age Spot Remover for Face – by Active Bamboo

Can bamboo, mushrooms, and horseradish lighten your skin? What about willow bark, green tea, and dandelion?

We already know that licorice can. But it’s just one of the many botanical ingredients in this lightening cream.

It’s made for eliminating dark spots anywhere on your body.

There’s no hydroquinone, but there are plenty of skin conditioners.

16. Aliver Underarm Whitening Cream

Irregular skin tone shows up in some of the oddest places. You may find dark spots on your knees, elbows, and private area. That’s where this whitening cream comes in handy.

While it lightens pigmentation, it also creates an optical illusion. It includes fluorescent powder and minerals to reflect light and give your skin a lighter-toned appearance.

17. ACTIVSCIENCE Whitening Cream

This whitening cream is made for all skin types and both women and men. It treats liver spots, sun damage, and melasma.

It’s made in Canada, and it’s free of parabens and dyes.

A glance at the ingredients reveals primarily natural components like sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, and mango seed butter.

Among all the botanical names, we almost missed sophora angustifolia. It prevents melanin from forming, similar to hydroquinone (7).

The label also lists kiwi fruit water. It happens to have the same effect on pigment.

18. DERMA-E Skin Brightening Cream

Here’s a brightening cream with alpha-arbutin and licorice.

Many of the “natural” skin lightening creams on the market promote botanic ingredients instead of hydroquinone. But these ingredients function similarly and may cause comparable side effects. Please be careful in either case and follow the directions to avoid damaging your skin.

You can use this product anywhere in your body, from your face to your feet. It’s a vegan formula that was never tested on animals. It doesn’t contain parabens, gluten, or mineral oil.

While you treat your skin with it, please remember to wear sunscreen.

19. Premier Dead Sea Pearl White Cream

Here’s a cream that’s made in Israel with ingredients from the Dead Sea. It’s made for sensitive skin.

It contains pearl powder to add radiance and immediately reduce the appearance of discoloration.

Meanwhile, seaweed, beta carotene, and a liposome complex minimize melanin production and rejuvenate the skin.

20. Puriderma All-Body Whitening Cream

Here’s another lightening cream with pearl powder to correct uneven skin tone.

Be aware that it contains mineral oil. But it also has antioxidants and collagen to fight signs of aging.

21. Skin Brightening & Lightening Cream by Tulip Natural

Retinol is excellent for resurfacing the skin. It improves texture as well as tone.

This cream has retinol plus glycolic acid to ensure that you have silky smooth, luminous skin.

The manufacturer anticipates that you’ll see a positive difference within 4 weeks or less. If not, they offer a money-back guarantee.

22. ME Beauty – Skin Whitening Scar Cream for Dark Skin

Our culture sees scars as unsightly. Here’s a corrector cream that brightens overly dark skin and smooths uneven texture.

One of the key ingredients is the antioxidant Vitamin C. It’s proven to promote even skin tone and a firmer texture. It stimulates collagen production to be plump out fine lines.

You can use it anywhere you need it, from your face and hands to the rest of your body.

In a clinical trial, the company found that the cream lessened discoloration by 24%. It uses Kojic acid, licorice root, and Arbutin to achieve this result.

23. InstaNatural Retinol Moisturizer Anti-Aging Night Face Cream

While retinol doesn’t specifically target pigment, it resurfaces the skin by stimulating collagen production. As a result of the increased cellular turnover, you’re going to see less discoloration and fewer wrinkles.

InstaNatural’s nighttime moisturizer is free of harsh ingredients. It reduces acne breakouts and makes a face smoother and more radiant. It even diminishes dark circles.

Finally, this formula has Vitamin C to brighten skin tone and prevent premature aging.


Discoloration and dark spots can make us feel uncomfortable without makeup.

If you’d like to feel more comfortable in your own skin, try reducing hyperpigmentation with a lightening cream.

If you discovered one today that works great for you, let us know about it in the comments below.


1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323808.php by Beth Sissons, published November 26, 2018

2. https://www.aad.org/skin-care-secrets/fade-dark-spots accessed November 6, 2019

3. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-87530/hydroquinone-skin-bleaching-topical/details accessed November 6, 2019

4. https://www.sytheonltd.com/brighten.html accessed November 6, 2019

5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctostaphylos_uva-ursi#Phytochemicals accessed November 6, 2019

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3663177/ by Rasmi Sarkar, et al., published 2013, accessed November 6, 2019

7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23278898 by SK Singh, et al., published 2013, accessed November 6, 2019

One response to “23 Best Skin Lightening Creams for Hyperpigmentation: Reviews & Buying Guide”

  1. Erickson says:

    I had hyperpigmentation at the side of my face and Dermalmd skin lightening serums lightened it quicker and more effectively than anything I’ve used before including clinical-grade products I’ve purchased from doctor’s offices. The pigmentation lifted and sloughed off in a few days. It did cause some minor irritation so it is pleasant to apply only exactly where needed.

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