How to Lighten Hyperpigmentation at Home

Written By: Kelsie Matthews, L.E.


One of the most frequent questions I get as an esthetician is, “How do I get rid of these brown spots in my skin?” Of course there are in-office options, but what about the homework that comes with investing in skincare treatments? Whether you’re getting lasers, facials, or peels, it is important to precondition your skin before those treatments, and maintain the results after. In the world of skincare these days, almost every company has some sort of skin lightening or brightening product, but how do you know which one to get?


Key Ingredients to look for to lighten pigmentation


  • Hydroquinone: a bleaching agent used to get rid of hyperpigmentation and prevent future spots from forming. This is available in prescription products or in over the counter products at a lower strength. 


  • Alpha arbutin: a gentle derivative of hydroquinone that inhibits the production of melanin in the skin over time.

  • Retinoids: a derivative of vitamin A that supports cell turnover and evening discoloration and texture in the skin. Retinoids are available in prescription form (Retin-A, Tretinoin, etc.), over the counter (retinol or retinyl), or medical grade prescription strength (retinoic acid). 

  • Azelaic acid: a natural bleaching agent commonly used in chemical peels and lightening products. Azelaic acid improves dark spots and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation in the skin. This ingredient is good for people with active acne, as well as inflammation.

  • Vitamin C: commonly listed as “L-ascorbic acid” on ingredient lists, this natural antioxidant is great for brightening the skin and gradually evening out the complexion while still giving anti-aging benefits to the skin. 


When one is struggling with hyperpigmentation in the skin, the most important thing for improving it is consistency. It is very important to do treatments with an esthetician or medical provider such as peels or lasers in order to reduce discoloration, but incorporating ingredients such as the ones listed above will amplify the results of the treatments you are doing and maintain the results you get.

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