The Best Serums for Hyperpigmentation: Our Top 10 Picks

By Deana D.| Last updated on March 25, 2024
best serums for hyperpigmentation
⏱️ 6 min read

This is an objective, non-biased article. We base our product choices on various factors, such as product reviews, ingredient analysis, and overall reputation of brands. It does, however, contain affiliate links for featured products.

Hyperpigmentation and dark spots can occur for any number of reasons, and they’re a very common issue many people face.

Sometimes, these spots can be barely noticeable and easily covered up with a little bit of concealer. However, there are also instances in which makeup just doesn’t do the trick, and an alternative solution is needed.

In this article, we’ll share our top 10 picks for the best serums for hyperpigmentation, along with some helpful additional info that will enable you to find your perfect skin solution.

The Best Serums for Hyperpigmentation

Now that we explained which active ingredients help in reducing hyperpigmentation, check out our top Amazon finds for the best serums for hyperpigmentation below!

Overall Best Serum for Pigmentation and Dark Spots: Valocity Minimalist 2% Alpha Arbutin Serum

The reason we placed this serum at the very top of our list is the fact that it’s specialized for dark spots while being extremely affordable and effective at the same time.

The alpha-arbutin in this formula reduces melanin formation, which makes it perfect for getting rid of hyperpigmentation of any kind – age spots, sun spots, melasma, and post-inflammatory blemishes.

Best for Dry Skin: Allies of Skin Tranexamic & Arbutin Serum

Like the Valocity Minimalist serum we mentioned above, this one also has arbutin in its formula, which means that it’s specifically designed to target dark spots.

The second most prominent ingredient is mushroom complex, which is known for helping maintain hydration, so this serum is perfect for those with dry skin! Other than that, this complex also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps balance your complexion.

Best for Oily Skin: The Ordinary 7% Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is generally recommended for those with oily skin as it prevents breakouts, pore-clogging, and blackheads. It’s also an exfoliator, meaning that it can help get rid of blemishes of any kind by removing the darkest, outermost layer of the skin.

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Skinfix Acne+ 2% BHA and Azelaic Acid

This product is great for anyone who has active acne or is dealing with some post-acne damage on their skin.

Both BHA and azelaic acid are great ingredients for combating hyperpigmentation and reducing blockages that eventually lead to the formation of new acne. Learn about their differences and similarities here.

This serum is also vegan, as well as gluten and cruelty-free!

Best for Inflammation: Paula’s Choice BOOST 10% Azelaic Acid Booster Cream

We’ve already talked about azelaic acid, so there’s no reason to go into it again – you already know it’ll help your dark spots!

Other than azelaic, this serum also contains salicylic acid – a great ingredient if you want to control sebum production and keep your skin clear.

Finally, there’s also licorice extract in the formula, which is another brightening agent.

Best for Glowing Skin: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Drops

If you’re looking to give your complexion an overall glow-up at the same time as handling hyperpigmentation, this serum is your best bet. The formula contains niacinamide for brightening and hyaluronic acid for hydration, and it also doubles as a makeup primer!

Plus, you have nothing to worry about as this serum is free of parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, phthalates, drying alcohols, and synthetic dyes.

Best for Exfoliation: Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum

This serum isn’t only pretty affordable, but it’s also backed by science! A study showed that over 80% of participants exhibited a reduction in their hyperpigmentation after use, while over 70% found their skin to be brighter.

On top of all that, the formula contains glycolic acid, which is a powerful yet gentle exfoliator.

Best Budget-Friendly Product: e.l.f. Beauty Shield Vitamin C Serum

For a budget-friendly yet effective solution, you needn’t look any further than the skincare giant e.l.f.! This vegan and cruelty-free serum is rich in vitamin C, which we’ve already discussed above.

Other than that, it serves as a protective shield against environmental aggressors and keeps your skin safe, fresh, and bright!

The Best Luxury Product: SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum

If you’re really looking to treat yourself, this serum is the perfect solution for you! It has a dual function – it brightens the skin and serves as an anti-aging product as well.

The formula contains an innovative peptide complex that nourishes your skin, French flax seed extract that supports repair, marine extracts that help the renewal processes, and green microalgae extract for a boost in collagen and elastin levels.

The Best Dark Spot Patches: Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch

Finally, if you don’t feel like applying and wearing your serum the traditional way, these patches are a great alternative! They help brighten your skin by combining the powers of tranexamic acid, niacinamide, vitamin C, and licorice root.

All you need to do is put them over the blemish and see the first results in 6-8 hours!

What Ingredients Will Work Best Against Hyperpigmentation?

When it comes to finding the best serums for hyperpigmentation, there are lots of active ingredients that can help you get rid of dark spots. We’ll go over 4 of the most effective ones that should work well regardless of your skin tone or type.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is by far the most popular ingredient when it comes to battling hyperpigmentation. What this active ingredient does is inhibit the production of melanin, which helps to gradually fade your dark spots away.

It usually takes around 16 weeks of consistent use to see the first results, and is beneficial for all skin types!

Niacinamide

Niacinamide is a little more heavy-duty than vitamin C. It works by inhibiting the transfer of melanosomes from melanocytes to keratinocytes. Basically, what this means is that you’re controlling how much color goes from one part of your skin to another.

This ingredient is also suitable for all skin types (even the most sensitive ones) on top of being compatible with any other active ingredient you have in your regular skincare routine.

Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid does 2 different things to help with dark spots: it inhibits free radicals as well as tyrosinase, which is an enzyme necessary for the production of melanin.

Like the other ones on this list, azelaic acid is also suitable for all skin types. However, this is still a skin exfoliant, so some more sensitive skin types may experience some drying and irritation.

Kojic Acid

Similarly to azelaic acid, kojic acid also works by inhibiting the production of tyrosinase. On top of that, this acid is also a powerful antioxidant, which means that it can help with photodamage (which is most commonly caused by sun exposure).

Again, this ingredient will work well with all skin types and colors. However, individuals with darker skin tones will probably see the most benefits.

woman with plastic wrap getting facialImage source: Freepik

What If My Anti Pigmentation Serum Doesn’t Work?

If it seems that no serums or other similar products seem to work on your hyperpigmentation, there are other options as well! For more heavy-duty work, we recommend visiting a salon and getting a professional treatment done.

When it comes to choosing the best professional treatment for hyperpigmentation, here’s what works best:

Whichever method you choose, professional or at home – hyperpigmentation can be reduced and in some cases treated with the right ingredients.

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