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Freckles, acne scars, age spots, and melasma: they’re all a result of excess melanin. But you have the power to lighten your skin tone.
Even out your skin’s color by using the best face washes for hyperpigmentation.
While a face wash isn’t as powerful as a serum, it’s an easy place to begin. Instead of just washing away makeup and oil, you can wash away dark spots.
Exfoliating cleansers help your skin regenerate. As a bonus, they have anti-aging and anti-acne benefits, too.
Also important, exfoliation helps skin lightening creams to penetrate and work more effectively.
To help you find what you need, we selected the top picks for hyperpigmentation. You can see the comparison below.
Now onto the full reviews of our top picks. We selected these products based on price, ingredients and overall quality.
- Best Face Washes for Hyperpigmentation & Dark Spots (2020 Update)
- 1. La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Cleanser
- 2. Glycolic Facial Cleanser by InstaNatural
- 3. Glycolic Acid Face Wash Exfoliating Cleanser by Botanic Tree
- 4. Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser by Body Merry
- 5. Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
- 6. Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash
- 7. Neutrogena Pore Refining Exfoliating Facial Cleanser with Glycolic Acid
- 8. Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Daily Facial Cream Cleanser with Natural Salicylic Acid
- 9. 10% Glycolic Acid Face Wash by TOUCH
- 10. SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
- 11. 12% Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Face Wash | Medical Grade by Claridad
- 12. Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser
- 13. Face Wash by Olay Regenerist
- 14. Pure Kojic Acid Skin Lightening Soap by Koji White
- 15. Kojie San Lightening Soap
- 16. Dudu Osun Black Soap
- 17. Pure Glutathione Whitening Bleaching Soap by Shouvy
- 18. POND’s White Beauty Facial Foam Face Wash
- 19. Salicylic Acid Face Wash For Women & Teens by TEENA Skin Care
- 20. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Eventone Dark Spot Correcting Cleanser
- 21. Dermalogica Age Smart Skin Resurfacing Cleanser
- 22. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Scrub
- 23. Paula’s Choice CLEAR Pore Normalizing Gel Cleanser
- 24. DRMTLGY Acne Wash with Salicylic Acid
- How Face Cleansers Help Hyperpigmentation
Best Face Washes for Hyperpigmentation & Dark Spots (2020 Update)
1. La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Cleanser
Pigmentclar is made by one of the most trusted brands in skincare. This French company’s products are carried in European pharmacies. They are the choice of discerning users worldwide, especially those with skin issues.
This foaming face wash used to be known by the name Mela-D Cleanser. It was one of Family Circle’s Best Beauty Buys in 2014.
The formula features lipo-hydroxy acid, a gentle exfoliant. It evens out both skin tone and texture. The water-based cleanser includes glycerin and other moisturizers so that your skin stays soft afterward.
If you’re in doubt as to which face wash will be best for your skin, start with well-known brands like La Roche-Posay. You’ll benefit from dermatologist-tested and approved products.
2. Glycolic Facial Cleanser by InstaNatural
InstaNatural avoids harsh chemicals in their facial cleanser. It does not contain sulfates, parabens, synthetic dyes, or other irritants.
Instead, it relies on glycolic acid, willow bark, lemon, apple, and sugarcane. Not only does it remove dead skin and fade discoloration, but it also leaves the complexion soft and smooth. It reduces redness and helps clear up acne by unclogging pores.
3. Glycolic Acid Face Wash Exfoliating Cleanser by Botanic Tree
Botanic Tree’s face wash has 10% glycolic acid plus 100% organic extracts. One of those extracts is willow bark, a natural source of salicylic acid.
Moreover, it has rich moisturizers like seaweed and shea butter. There are also tea tree, peppermint, and lavender oils to reduce inflammation.
Using this to cleanse your face once or twice per day smoothes the skin and diminishes discoloration. The company offers a full refund if you’re not satisfied with the results.
4. Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser by Body Merry
Body Merry offers a 90-Day manufacturer guarantee on their exfoliating cleanser. Besides 2.5% glycolic acid, it has organic willow bark and jojoba beads. Together, these exfoliants brighten dull complexions and prep the skin for skin lightening serums and moisturizers.
But that’s not all this face wash offers. Not only does it exfoliate, but it has a skin whitener in it: kojic acid. This ingredient is similar to hydroquinone. It inhibits melanin production to prevent dark patches from forming.
5. Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
Murad’s exfoliating cleanser is a little pricey, but it’s another high-end pharmacy product. Don’t worry; you won’t need a prescription to buy it. But we wouldn’t be surprised if your physician recommended that you try it.
This face wash has both alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids to resurface your complexion. It fades age spots and wrinkles alike. But it avoids drying out delicate skin. Therefore you can use it either day and night.
Two other ingredients to note are sodium PCA and jojoba beads. The former helps the skin retain moisture. Then the latter serves as a physical scrub. Unlike those plastic beads that harm the environment, jojoba is biodegradable.
6. Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash
If you’re not sure about chemical exfoliants, try this non-abrasive exfoliating wash. It relies on diatomaceous earth, silica, and rice bran wax to gently remove dead skin. Then, intense moisturizers like squalane plus phytosterols and fatty acids encourage regeneration.
7. Neutrogena Pore Refining Exfoliating Facial Cleanser with Glycolic Acid
Neutrogena’s face cleanser with glycolic and salicylic acid is ideal if you’re dealing with acne scars. Not only does it prevent and clear up pimples, but it also erases dark spots. Since this is a dermatologist-recommended brand, you’re likely to get good results right from the start.
8. Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Daily Facial Cream Cleanser with Natural Salicylic Acid
Neutrogena has also recognized that there is a demand for natural face washes for hyperpigmentation. The salicylic acid in this formula is derived from willow bark. Additionally, there are no sulfates, parabens, dyes, phthalates, or petrolatum in the bottle.
9. 10% Glycolic Acid Face Wash by TOUCH
TOUCH’s face wash has a strong concentration of glycolic acid and a pH of only 3.5. The high acidity helps prevent irritation and acne. For superior exfoliation, use it with the Clarisonic face brush.
The gel cleanser also has nourishing ingredients like aloe, chamomile, and green tea. They reduce inflammation and keep your skin refreshed and healthy.
10. SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
SkinMedica’s face cleanser fades discoloration while it removes makeup and dirt. It also improves texture and clears up blackheads. It’s powerful, so don’t forget to put on a high-quality moisturizer and wear sunscreen afterward.
11. 12% Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Face Wash | Medical Grade by Claridad
We don’t know how they did it, but Claridad managed to pack a high concentration of glycolic acid in this face wash. If it’s too strong for you, try using it every other day.
The paraben-free cleanser fades hyperpigmentation like a chemical peel. It also reduces fine lines and wrinkles as well as acne scars.
12. Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser
It may come in a plain-looking bottle, but this foaming cleanser deep-cleans and scrubs away discoloration. Botanical extracts like marshmallow and sage smooth uneven texture. At the same time, yarrow fights signs of aging.
There are two downsides to this high-end product. First, the primary ingredient is sodium lauryl sulfate. And second, it also has potential irritants like fragrance, propylene glycol, and parabens.
|Salicylic acid||Exfoliates the skin without the need for scrubbing|
Fades dark spots
Opens clogged pores and shrinks them
Reduces acne inflammation
Also reduces rough texture like calluses and keratosis pilaris
|Skin redness, dryness, and irritation are common
Makes the skin more sensitive to the sun
|Glycolic acid||Exfoliates the skin without scrubbing|
Less drying than salicylic acid
Encourages collagen production to firm texture and reduce wrinkles
|Makes the skin more sensitive to the sun
Strong concentrations may irritate sensitive skin
13. Face Wash by Olay Regenerist
The creamy face wash that’s part of Olay’s Regenerist lineup fights wrinkles and age spots alike. It’s made for all skin types and isn’t overly drying.
Exfoliating crystals, salicylic acid, and an amino-peptide complex make the skin look and feel younger. Don’t take our word for it—94% of women in a clinical trial said it worked for them.
14. Pure Kojic Acid Skin Lightening Soap by Koji White
We mentioned kojic acid earlier. It stops melanin production to keep skin whiter and brighter. It’s a traditional skincare tool that’s been used in Asia for generations.
The drying effects of the acid in this soap are offset by the moisturizers. It has both coconut oil and hyaluronic acid. The latter attracts up to 1000 times its weight in water. Then the former seals in moisture to keep skin smooth.
The pleasant citrus aroma and thick lather make the skin lightening soap enjoyable. Use it anywhere on your body to decrease discoloration.
15. Kojie San Lightening Soap
The Kojie San soap comes in a 2-pack, so you have plenty to wash your face and body alike. The kojic acid it contains is a byproduct of making sake, Japanese rice wine.
Once it was discovered that it whitens the skin, kojic acid became a very popular skin care tool. It banishes blemishes like age spots, freckles, and acne scars.
This soap smells like oranges and soothes the skin with coconut oil and Irish Moss.
16. Dudu Osun Black Soap
Nigerian black soap doesn’t have the most appealing fragrance, but it exfoliates well. That’s due to the cocoa pod and palm ash in it. It also nourishes the skin with lime juice and aloe plus honey and palm kernel oil. Users with darker skin tone report that it makes sun damage and acne scars disappear.
17. Pure Glutathione Whitening Bleaching Soap by Shouvy
Have you heard about intravenous glutathione? (3) This substance is an antioxidant that literally lightens pigment from the inside out. Then it stops the skin from making more melanin. Some patients with hyperpigmentation have it injected into their skin to erase sun damage, scars, and age spots.
Here’s the kicker: the side effects of injecting glutathione make it a risky procedure. But applying glutathione to the skin appears to have similar if less powerful results.
That’s where this bleaching soap comes in handy. After a few uses, you should see a noticeable lightening of discoloration. Moreover, it’s rich in vitamins and moisturizers like Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, coconut oil, and radish extract. It keeps your skin supple.
18. POND’s White Beauty Facial Foam Face Wash
If you’ve been to India, you may have seen Pond’s skin lightening cleanser. It exfoliates dead, dull skin to leave your face brighter. Users say it fades melasma and freckles after only a few uses.
19. Salicylic Acid Face Wash For Women & Teens by TEENA Skin Care
Salicylic acid face washes are a tried and true product for treating acne-prone skin. But this primary ingredient is also useful for exfoliating, not just unclogging pores. The Clar-i-ty cleanser will help your complexion look brighter and healthier.
Some of the other components that you might find interesting include hemp seed oil, rosehip seed oil, calendula, and ginseng.
20. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Eventone Dark Spot Correcting Cleanser
Palmer’s Eventone Cleanser foams away dirt, makeup, and discoloration. The secret to its effectiveness lies in a few key ingredients. For example, it has Vitamin C which naturally brightens the skin. Next, niacinamide fades redness and dark patches. Finally, licorice and soy boost luminosity and smooth texture.
This face wash does not contain sulfates, artificial fragrances, dyes, phthalates, or parabens. It does have propylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, and methylisothiazolinone, however. Since it rinses off, these ingredients do not present as much of a hazard.
21. Dermalogica Age Smart Skin Resurfacing Cleanser
Dermalogica’s cleanser contains lactic acid, the mildest alpha hydroxy acid. If you have sensitive or dry skin, try this face wash instead of one with glycolic or salicylic acid.
Of course, it cleans and exfoliates. But this cleanser has additional benefits like lemon peel oil, rose flower oil and antioxidants. As a result, it’s perfect for women who are 30+.
Age spots develop before we know it. Head them off with a mild but effective cleanser like this one. Then slather on that sunscreen to prevent problems in the future.
22. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Scrub
If you’re in a hurry to erase hyperpigmentation, try this scrub. It combines 3% glycolic acid with salicylic acid plus micro-exfoliating particles. It brightens and refines the skin to cleanse pores and fade scars. It also has a pleasant grapefruit scent.
23. Paula’s Choice CLEAR Pore Normalizing Gel Cleanser
Although Paula’s Choice gel cleanser has only 0.5% salicylic acid, it will exfoliate the skin. But it does it without causing excessive dryness or irritation. If you want the benefits without the typical consequences, it’s perfect for sensitive complexions.
Furthermore, we appreciate this company’s products for two reasons. First, they explain the purpose of each ingredient. And second, they avoid fragrances and irritants.
24. DRMTLGY Acne Wash with Salicylic Acid
If you want to treat hyperpigmentation on your face and body, try DRMTLGY’s salicylic acid wash. It’s backed by 60-day 100% money-back guarantee. Plus, it’s frequently recommended by dermatologists.
The exfoliating action of salicylic acid helps skin lightening creams and moisturizers absorb better. It also prevents acne outbreaks and clears up pimples. Finally, this product is free of sulfates, parabens, and propylene glycol.
How Face Cleansers Help Hyperpigmentation
Olivia Munn, star of Oceans Eight, Six, and X-Men: Apocalypse, spoke out about dealing with dark spots on her complexion (1). She says she relies on products with salicylic and glycolic acids to brighten her skin.
She’s not the only one. Beta hydroxy acid (salicylic) and alpha hydroxy acids (lactic and glycolic) are gentle exfoliants. They remove the top layer of skin to fade hyperpigmentation over time.
You may find that other ingredients like kojic acid and Vitamin C are also helpful for getting rid of discoloration (2).
The best treatment for hyperpigmentation starts with the right face wash. You can fade discoloration faster with an exfoliating cleanser.
You may also find that certain ingredients like kojic acid, glutathione, and Vitamin C brighten your skin tone.
The bottom line is that treating hyperpigmentation takes time. Keep up the effort, and you’re bound to see results.
What skin lightening face washes have you tried? How well did they work for you? Let us know in the comments below.
- https://www.harpersbazaar.com.au/beauty/celebrities-with-pigmentation-17667 published 13 November 2018, accessed 22 April 2019
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin_whitening accessed 22 April 2019
- https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/health/skin-lightening-glutathione-bleaching.html published 28 August 2017, accessed 22 April 2019