32 Products Reviewers Say Actually Helped Clear Up Their Hyperpigmentation
These gels, creams, serums, and scrubs will lighten dark spots on your face, chest, legs, armpits, and more.
We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
1. A plumping, glow-enhancing, pH-balancing K-beauty essence for rehydrating your face, and prepping your skin so it's ready to drink up all the benefits of your moisturizer.
2. A vegan exfoliating body scrub to slough away the rough bumps on the back of your arms and legs (keratosis pilaris is its name but you may have heard it called "strawberry skin" or "chicken skin") with a combination of powerful alpha-hydroxy acids. It's also common for KP to cause darker patches of skin to develop where the bumps are — especially if you pick or scratch at them.
3. A Paula's Choice liquid exfoliant that'll resurface the skin, brighten hyperpigmentation and acne scars, clear pores, and improve skin texture. If you're just dipping your toes into the chemical exfoliant pool (first of all, welcome!!), start by applying this every other day or a few times a week to build up a tolerance and not irritate your skin.
Promising review: "I was pretty clueless on skincare for a while. I tried to stay away from chemicals in my routine but it didn’t help with my blackheads and hardly helped with my acne scars. I’ve struggled with hyperpigmentation, acne scars that stay for years, and worst of all were the blackheads and large pores. I thought scrubbing with exfoliants was the key but it actually made things worse and caused micro-tears on my face. I have only been using this product two weeks and the changes I’ve seen in my skin have been amazing. I would recommend this product to anyone who is struggling with scarring, blackheads, and large pores. This does the trick! I can’t believe that my face is no longer bumpy and rough. 100% worth a try!" —ACooper2
Get it from Amazon for $10+ (available in two sizes).
4. A bottle of azelaic acid so you can add a new skincare ingredient to your vocabulary *and* reap its benefits. It can help prevent pimples and blackheads from forming because it increases the speed of cell renewal — which has the added benefit of correcting dark spots. And it helps kill the bacteria that causes rosacea and acne, so consider it a win-win.
5. A bottle of rose hip oil if your skin has lost its glow. Its antioxidants and fatty acids may help brighten dark spots and restore your skin's plumpness. Use it on your face, nails, and body for scrumdiddlyumptious results.
Promising review: "I've struggled with cystic acne since my early teens (am now in my late 20s). With a diligent skincare routine, I've been able to combat the acne, but am left with a lot of hyperpigmentation. This oil really helps to fade the hyperpigmentation, and I think definitely is helping to keep the acne at bay. It also has made my skin feel so soft and nourished and glowy. Definitely not giving this one up. The only weird thing I've noticed is that if I don't wash my hands immediately after using this product, anything I touch afterward gets a really sticky film on it. Not sure if this is the case with all rose hip oils or just this one, since this is the only one I've used." —Amazon Customer
Get it from Amazon for $14.95.
6. A niacinamide serum because it addresses a whole host of issues. Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that makes your skin barrier more resilient (a weak skin barrier can result in redness, dryness, dullness, breakouts, and more). It can also help reduce the appearance of pores, balance oil production, and improve your skin texture.
7. A fading gel serum for harnessing its dark spot–erasing powers thanks to ingredients like tranexamic acid, niacinamide (sound familiar?), and azelaic acid.
8. A powerful glycolic acid peel to help improve texture, reduce fine lines, and soften skin. Glycolic acid helps sort of unglue skin cells, so the softer, brighter layer underneath can emerge. But it can be a bit irritating to your skin so start slowly — especially because this peel also contains retinol, a collagen-boosting ingredient that can make your skin more sensitive.
9. A skin spatula that'll help remove blackheads and de-gunk pores using high-frequency vibrations. This can also help your skincare absorb better since your pores won't be blocked with debris.
10. A tub of brightening, firming, and rejuvenating eye cream so you at least look like you got some sleep (even if you were up until 2 a.m. scrolling through Instagram).
Promising review: "This eye moisturizer has done wonders for my under-eye bags. I am a 21-year-old Indian woman who has oily skin, hyperpigmentation, small acne breakouts, and semi-large pores. My under-eye bags require constant care. Typically, I use this twice a day — once in the morning and once in the night. In the morning I apply it right before I put on my makeup as a base, and it does wonders! It makes the skin smooth and wrinkles less noticeable. In the night, I wash my face and apply it right before I sleep. The wrinkles on my eyes and pigmentation has reduced, and I have used this product for close to a month and a half. This is my second product from LilyAna Naturals, and I must say they always do such an amazing job." —SM12
Get it from Amazon for $11.99+ (available in three sizes).
11. A powerful snail repair cream if you're looking for a do-it-all miracle in a bottle. This product will help brighten dull skin, fade discoloration, and add plumpness. Snail mucin extract is a popular ingredient in K-beauty products and is rich in hyaluronic acid (hydrates) and glycolic acid (stimulates collagen production).
Promising review: "Loved this product! This cream is light but oh so moisturizing. Applied after my normal nightly/morning serums and it wasn’t too much. Didn’t leave my skin feeling oily but just nice and smooth. Did notice some improvement in my overall complexion and hyperpigmentation marks. I had never heard of snail cream so I was worried what the consistency and smell would be like but it smelled great and was not slimy hahahaha! Love the concept of this cream and makes perfect sense how it works!" —Chenoa Sedillo
Get it from Amazon for $17.95.
12. A roller-ball serum because it's a fun change in format from your usual creams and gels. And its skin-brightening powers are no joke either! It's made with tranexamic acid, vitamin C, and licorice root — all ingredients known to brighten and even skin tone.
13. A hardworking Boscia exfoliating gel cleanser for — clears throat — removing dead skin cells from the surface of your face with its exfoliating molecules (you can literally see "beads" of dead skin), penetrating deeply with AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) to purify your pores and stimulate collagen production, and firming and brightening your skin with pomegranate enzymes.
14. A potent matrixyl 3000 serum (ooooh fancy!) to hydrate, repair damage, boost collagen production, improve skin texture, firm, and even out pigmentation.
15. A cruelty-free vitamin C serum that'll give your skin a much-needed pick-me-up. Just listen to the 56,000+ people who gave it a 5-star review: This stuff brightens, softens, and dramatically fades hyperpigmentation.
Promising review: "I purchased this for the severe hyperpigmentation around my eyes. I have eczema and some of the creams I’ve used have caused the skin to discolor and darken. I’ve been using the product a few weeks now and am noticing a good improvement in the texture and color of my skin. My daughter asked me the other day if I had makeup on and I said no. She replied how good my skin looked! I haven’t heard a compliment like that in a long time. I use the product twice a day as suggested after I clean and tone. I will definitely continue to purchase this product as it is now a staple in my daily skincare regimen. Also, as stated above I do have eczema and this is sensitive enough that it causes no irritation to my extremely sensitive skin, so if you have sensitive skin do the patch test as recommended, but know it works well on my sensitive skin." —Monique S.
Get it from Amazon for $19.99.
16. Or a vitamin C serum with kojic acid — a melanin-inhibiting ingredient so melasma lightens in minutes...OK, not minutes. But, like, really fast.
17. A hyaluronic acid serum if you need intensely hydrating skincare. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, meaning it draws in moisture from its surroundings. The result = plumper, softer, smoother, more hydrated skin.
Promising review: "I’ve used this for two weeks to help with fine lines and dark spots as I don’t want to wear makeup. I’m in my 30s and I feel like I’m in my 20s again. Dark spots are lighter and noticeably smoother skin. I live in the mountains so I follow with retinol and a moisturizer." —Christopher Vik
Get it from Amazon for $8.36+ (available in four sizes).
18. A dark spot sticker because skincare doesn't get much easier than this! Each adhesive has micropoints that deliver tranexamic acid and niacinamide. So slap on a patch and say goodbye to hyperpigmentation.
19. Differin, a once-daily topical retinoid for acne that hasn't responded to any other treatments. It contains adapalene, a retinoid that unclogs pores and speeds cell turnover so acne doesn't even have a chance to form.
I use Differin and it's great but I must warn you: It is strong. Unfortunately, I wrecked my skin the first few weeks after buying it because I applied it way too often and paired it with chemical exfoliators and a really drying face wash. Once I cut back my application to one to two times per week and switched to gentler cleansers, my skin flourished. The annoying bumps on my forehead (the ones that aren't acne but are literally just tiny little bumps) disappeared over time, my temples stopped breaking out, and my acne scars lightened. If you're dipping your toes in the Differin pool, it's not a bad idea to check with your dermatologist before starting!
Promising review: "Words cannot explain the life-changing experience I've had with Differin. I feel like I could be the 34-year-old poster child. At 33 I ended up at the dermatologist with acne on my cheeks like WTF. As part of my new skincare regimen my doctor prescribed Differin 0.3%. He told me that this was going to be the game changer, but it would get worse before it got better. Boy did it. Let me just say, as any adult knows, dermatologists are not cheap or for the faint of heart. The 0.3% was still like $200 WITH insurance. And even with a FSA I couldn't wrap my head around spending that much every 1.5–2 months even though it was working. So I decided I would try this even though it was a lower dose. And lemme tell you. If I do nothing else, I use this! I started breaking out over the summer. When I got cheap and before I started the OTC and hadn't used any Differin for about a month my skin was having none of it. Literally two days after using the OTC version my skin my clear again! This is the best product for cystic acne! It's even gotten rid of my dark spots. My acne probably went away in three months and the dark spots have probably taken about a year. But I couldn't be happier!" —Alison
Get it from Amazon for $12.26+ (available in three sizes).
20. An overnight mask to inject your skin with ~super collagen water~ (so fancy!) and baobab water as you sleep. The results = soothed and moisturized skin. You may even skip a full beat the next morning!
21. A thighs and buttne acne treatment that'll deliver relief from ingrown hairs, painful red bumps, dark spots, blackheads, and more.
22. A multiuse skincare oil so you can say bye-bye to uneven skin, stretch marks, and acne scars. It helps your body retain moisture (see ya later, dry skin!) and absorbs into the skin fast so you won't feel greasy.
Psst! Bio-Oil contains retinol, which accelerates skin turnover but can make you more sensitive to the sun — so don't forget your sunscreen!
Promising review: "I ordered this product after reading the reviews, and because my skin has the following problems: hyperpigmentation, sensitivity, oiliness, menopausal, and acne. The directions state to use this product twice a day. I can honestly say, at first I was skeptical. Using oil to moisturize oily skin, what is up with that? You would think this would cause your skin to become even more oily. But, after using this product for three days, my skin is less oily, and my hyperpigmentation is starting to fade, and I have not suffered from breakouts, burning, or itching." —Darcetha
Get it from Amazon for $8.89+ (available in three sizes).
23. A cruelty-free lightweight gel overnight treatment if you want to wake up to noticeably clearer, brighter, more even skin.
24. A yummy body scrub because not only will this Dead Sea salt scrub help unclog pores and prevent ingrown hairs, but it'll also leave your skin feeling buttery smooth and smelling mouthwateringly delicious.
25. A multiuse dark spot corrector for stubborn acne scars, sun spots, and hyperpigmentation. Reviewers say its magical skin-brightening abilities even work on their bikini area and their underarms.
26. A fragrance-free and lightweight niacinamide and vitamin C serum to bestow your skin with a beautiful glow. The ingredient list also boasts amber algae to fade dark spots while still preserving the skin's natural tone, as well as papaya and pineapple enzymes to resurface the skin without irritation.
27. A powerful benzoyl peroxide bodywash to tackle buttne, backne, and cystic breakouts. Benzoyl peroxide is an antimicrobial agent that targets the bacteria on your skin that causes acne and also helps clear out your pores.
28. A soothing multipurpose oil blend so you can lock in moisture instead of using approximately 50 million products that say they hydrate your skin...and then don't. Its gentle formula won't irritate rosacea, psoriasis, or eczema, but it will help you say goodbye to dry skin and frizzy hair.
Promising review: "I have suffered with acne for several years. In the past year, I have had less and less breakouts, but I still suffer from hyperpigmentation and uneven texture that my acne left behind. After about two weeks of using this product, my skin looks fantastic. I have used nothing but this oil to remove my makeup, cleanse, and moisturize my skin. The hyperpigmentation is almost completely gone, and my skin looks and feels amazing. I will be buying this product again." —saval
Get it from Amazon for $14.99.
29. A First Aid Beauty cream if your skin is dry and itchy. Soothe it with a mixture of colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and allantoin.
30. A cruelty-free brightening facial scrub because consistently exfoliating is just good skincare 101. A combo of sea kelp, lemon peel, French green clay, and Madonna lily can slough away the dry, flaky dead skin cells and de-gunk your pores to help reduce breakouts.
Promising review: "I've been dealing with acne for 10+ years and have oily skin — so you can imagine the acne scars/hyperpigmentation my skin has. I've used TONS of facial scrubs/masks that claim to brighten your skin. This scrub is the BEST and worth-your-money facial scrub I've ever used. My acne scars lighten almost immediately after use. I usually use it at night and leave it on for about 5–10 minutes and wash it off. My skin is seriously so smooth (normally I have to exfoliate almost every night or else my foundation does not go on smoothly) after just one use. The next morning, my skin looks so good! Acne scars are less red and my face is so smooth. I always use less foundation the next morning too. I love that its super affordable, too. Will definitely continue to use this product." —Tiffany
Get it from Amazon for $9.99.
31. A pore-cleansing oil for washing away thick makeup, oil, dirt, debris, and whatever other ickiness has settled on your face after a long day.
32. A versatile pore-cleaning clay mask to spoil your skin. This effective face mask empties your pores, brightens dark spots, and excels as a hair mask (esp. if you have natural hair) and foot soak. Reviewers recommend mixing it with ACV (if you have sensitive skin, you may want to skip this step).
Promising review: "I have been using this for about three years. I had a bad case of hyperpigmentation and this was the only product that helped me rid my face of the dark spots. It took me using every week but it worked!!! I started to see results within the first six months!!! I mix the clay with ACV and definitely had to moisturize. I still apply every week and the hyperpigmentation is GONE!!!!" —Beverly
Get it from Amazon for $14.95.
Check out our Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay deep dive for more satisfying before-and-afters.