skincare products for hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation Treatments and Scar Creams: Review of the best and worst

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is a form of scarring that is caused by inflammation, bruising, sun burn, laser burns and other injuries to the skin. This is why I sometimes use scar treatments to prevent and treat hyperpigmentation. So, this is the review of hyperpigmentation and scarring treatments I have tried.

Also, hyper pigmentation occurs at the middle or dermal layer of the skin called the dermis. It’s in between the subcutaneous or fatty layer and the epidermal layer that contains healthy melanocytes.

It’s very funny how many skincare professionals recommend damaging perfectly healthy and intact epidermis by exfoliating and peeling. It makes almost no sense. The only time peeling the skin makes sense is when you peel deep enough down to the dermal layer and not without some form of skin resurfacing or renewal treatment using laser or ingredients like retinoids and steroids like cortisone. It’s not a good idea to just be exfoliating and peeling without a plan for healing and regenerating your skin. As we get older, our skin cannot renew itself quickly enough to reverse skin conditions like hyperpigmentation and other scaring.

I’ve added some of my sources here so you can understand how I derived at my opinions. I also don’t want people thinking I’m talking nonsense.

Skincare products contain numerous ingredients and one can be hard pressed in trying to explaining exactly how all the following products worked in synergy to help me combat a great deal of my hyperpigmentation. We should also remember that the exact ingredient list of a product might be a trade secret and legally allowed by law to be unlisted and out of the public domain.

It is not easy to know if what reversed your post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone or wrinkles was one of the active ingredients listed on your skincare product label – or if what really helped your skin clear up rid you of acne scars was a mystery ingredient in your skincare products or patented chemical formulated by dermatologists in a lab. All we can truly ever know is that a particular skincare treatment, for whatever reason, made our skin better and more radiant.

Most of these listed products helped my pigmented skin, while some did nothing for my hyperpigmentation and only faded the acne scars and liver spots slightly and only while using the serums that claimed to bring me even toned skin.

Reasons I quit using some of these hyperpigmentation products:

I got tired of staying out of the sun and UV for the sake of my skin.

Skincare with actives like retinol can make the epidermal skin layer thin and sensitive to the sun’s UV, infra-red and visible light. I am active and somewhat outdoorsy. So, I don’t like the idea of staying out of visible sun rays long-term. Finding a sunscreen that wouldn’t look ugly or exacerbate the problem by drying out my skin or causing me inflammation is no easy task.I doubt sunscreens were tested on compromised skin. I did manage to find an invisible sunscreen that is good for sensitive peeling skin, but I still advise simply staying out of the sun if you do get skin treatments for at least the duration of the treatment plus 2 weeks after the last day of treatment. It takes about two weeks for new dermal and epidermal skin to develop and for you to see marked results.

I got tired of waiting to see results on my skin.

Some hyperpigmentation products work too slowly at fading dark spots. I was in a hurry to have perfect glowing skin skin, so I hopped from one hyperpigmentation product to the next hyperpigmentation treatment; at-home hack to at-home hack; product to product; and brand to brand. Also, I have a nagging feeling that sometimes products stop being effective and that as time goes by your body kinda metabolizes the ingredients not leaving much to actually work on the skin, resulting in diminishing returns. Who know for sure, it’s just my theory. But, I highly recommend sticking with one regimen for at least 3 months. Most high-end skincare products are concentrated enough for a container to last you 3 months. Unlike cheap drugstore products, there’s no need to slather the product on your skin.

The skincare product or method was just not suited to my lifestyle.

Sometimes, even though a treatment may get rid of dark spots, we can’t persist in using them due to the inconvenience they cause. This is especially the case for kitchen skincare hacks that call for things like yellow turmeric that might stain your clothes and skin and not to mention they can be a pain to wash off.

The product genuinely caused me to have a bad skin reaction.

Oftentimes, skincare products for hyperpigmentation come with side effects like acne, inflammation, PIH and that might outweigh the benefits they might provide.  It’s up to each individual to assess what’s more important to their appearance. Will you treat acne and scarring at the risk of breaking out in pimples? You need a plan in place of how you’ll deal with side effects, if any.

The hyperpigmentation skincare product was for a one-time treatment or the product had run its cause.

Some skincare treatments are not meant to be part of a long term skincare routine. The longer you use skincare products with strong active ingredients, the higher the chance of adverse effects to the skin. In your skincare journey it’s important to know when to quit on a regimen or even take a break to help your skin rebuild. It is important to take your little skincare journey wins and cut your losses. For example, my skin is way better than it was 2 years ago. Sometimes, gratitude is important. So, baste in your beauty and love yourself as your are. You did the best you could with what you had and made many sacrifices in your journey.

The product just didn’t work for me.

Sometimes, brands create fly-by-night style product lines just to line their pockets and we are the losers with less money and bigger skin problems. Sometimes, we are misinformed about products through false advertising, greedy influencers and being too slow to read more.

Anyway, I’ve preached enough.

Here are the things I’ve personally tried to help my scarring and hyperpigmentation:

1. A facial homemade mask of turmeric mixed with bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and freshly squeezed lemon juice worked in one day.

This turmeric mask is a great skincare hack. Just add turmeric, freshly squeezed lemon juice and baking soda together to form a paste. Apply it evenly to your clean face as a mask. You can use it as a spot treatment. However some people might like to get rid of a lot of other minor skin discoloration.

When the mask is dry, just wash it off with water and use moisturizer and/or sunscreen.

I will have to make a video tutorial on how to mix this and add it to your face, one day.

This tends to stain the skin and towels and clothes. This is why I don’t use it anymore. I tried excluding the turmeric, but it didn’t work. There is a recipe with honey, but that didn’t work.

This literally gives results within 24 hours. What happens is the pigment from the deep dermal layer gets pulled to the surface of the skin, under the epidermal layer.

The process is obviously not complete because now the pigment is trapped and even forms little raised moles on the skin. So, you’d need to exfoliate or peel or maybe just continue doing this recipe for a few weeks longer until your epidermis naturally flakes off with time.

2. Bioderma Sébium Sérum Purifying concentrate Gentle peel worked to reduce oil and unclog pores as well as give me a gentle peel.

This is a overnight peel for oily and acne prone skin. Apply this on thoroughly cleansed skin. It dries into a powdery mask. Do not rub; move; or sleep on your face when using this. Best to apply it the earliest hour of the evening to give it time to absorb into your skin and form a mask. Do this afer you’ve done your night-time routine because you won’t be able to eat with this on your face as your face will be tight.

This helped me, but I don’t use it as much because it requires time away from the sun.

3. Avène D-Pigment Riche Dark Spot Lightener (for dry to very dry skin) was great for my combination to oily skin when it was going through a dry phase.

I used the one for dry skin, because my skin was dry a the time. I did make sure to ask the beauty consultant at the drugstore if it would be ok if I had acne prone skin.

And, just as she assured me that it wouldn’t be greasy, it wasn’t. I saw results in two weeks. The hyper-pigmented patch on my skin kinda scabbed off. I used this all over my skin, however.

This is a great option for people that don’t really know how to put a routine together. The nice thing about Avene is that you don’t have to buy the whole range for it to work, unlike other pharmaceutical-grade products.

4. RégimA The Zone Scar Repair Forté + Anti-Stretch Complex Super Strength Serum helped prevent scarring from electrolysis.

For some crazy reason, as a model who sold feet pics, I wanted to remove hairs on my toes, but didn’t trust that laser hair removal would work on my dark skin, so I started electrolysis hair removal sessions.

The electrolysis caused a lot of scarring. So, the estheticism advised me to use this Scar Repair cream.

After my electrolysis hair removal session I use a little bit of this serum just on the affected areas and then do the same thing for two or 3 more days.

This is best used as a prevention rather than a cure. It makes your skin stretchy and slows down the healing process so your skin doesn’t develop a scar. Scarring like hypertrophic scars happens when your skin heals to quickly.

This scar repair cream also helps prevent stretch marks by making the skin stretchy during pregnancy, causing the skin not to get torn.

5. Bio Oil worked so well on some of my chin acne marks.

This Bio-oil did work on some of my dark marks but not whenever I used to drink alcohol. You can see quick results with this if you stick to a diet that doesn’t include alcohol.

Also, be warned, as with most products that contain retinoids and proretinols, your skin might break out in pimples and those pimples can develop into scars. But, keep in mind that it is often easier to treat newer scars more effectively than older scars. So, you have to decide if you want to make that compromise when you have had stubborn dark marks for years.

6. Garnier SkinActive Even & Matte Boosted Vitamin-C Dark Spot Corrector has a bit of shimmer that made my face glow.

Meh, I didn’t see any noticeable results with this unless I used this with other products.

Also, please always use a sunscreen whenever you use any products with active ingredients like vitamin-c.

7. Oxy Scar Care lightened most of my acne scars and was non greasy.

I absolutely loved this, but it doesn’t have SPF in it and i couldn’t find a sunscreen that would be compatible with it.

It doesn’t pill though.

8. Rosehip Oil renewed my skin.

Rosehip oil is a treatment oil and should not be used as a moisturizer. You will still need a moisturizer. Do not use with AHA or BHA, because the vitamin-A content in this will cause a harsh chemical reaction with the rosehip oil and burn your skin. This is basically how I got the hyperpigmentation and liver spots that I am still dealing with years later.

I suggest you temporarily cancel all the other products in your skincare routine and only use this with a neutral, pH-balanced, non comedogenic, ophthalmologist approved cleanser and neutral facial cream ( I mean, literally just aqueous cream).

9. Cortisone helped me avoid inflammation and therefore prevented PIH.

This is a hormone that rapidly renews cells in your body. It’s what you want whenever you get a severe injury. It’s like a miracle. Ask your doctor about this. Don’t use it long term though.

10. Madam Ranee Black Soap helped lighten my dark chin.

This did work, but I didn’t use it long enough because it did make my skin thin. I might use it again, but this requires you to stay out of the sun. Period.

Don’t use active soaps with other creams because it will be too much for your skin.

11. Environ Focus Care Youth+ Concentrated Retinol Serum-3 is my go to for brightening my skin and getting rid of dark spots.

This is especially great for both dark marks and fine lines on the forehead, but can be a hit or miss on other areas on the face and only works the first time, during the peeling phase.

Your mileage may vary.

Once my skin adapts to the retinol, I find it less effective on dark marks and more effective on fine and deep lines. It is probably better to only use this for wrinkles.

This is a South African brand with a branch in Belgium. In South Africa, the product is not too expensive, but I have heard from American colleagues i recommended this to, that it was crazy expensive on Amazon.

I suggest you do some research to see if there is a way to get this affordably. In any case, I highly recommend it. I have used this since 2016 on and off. It’s a great investment for anti-aging.

12. Bioderma Pigmentbio got rid of half of my hyperpigmentation and liver spots.

This did help when I first bought it, when it first came out. You can imagine how desperate I was and still am to find a solution to the sun damage I got years back after getting my skin burned from adding incompatible products on top of each other and then trying to reverse the damage with an at home peel and not using sunscreen.

Anyway, I used this really thick. I did see results. But stopped and when I restarted using it, it didn’t work as well.

My theory is that your immune system gets rid of active or filler ingredients in skincare and builds immunity to them. I might be wrong. It might also be that your body absorbs vitamins in skincare and through negative feedback, stops making use of them in your skincare. Who knows? It is something to consider.

It might also be that your lifestyle and eating habits are not conducive to a good skincare routine.

13. LED red light therapy at a clinic, prevented a laser burn becoming a hyperpigmentation nightmare.

This helped me when I got burned during a laser session at a skin clinic, but it was used in conjunction with a cream that included cortisol. It did help prevent the scab from scarring.

14. Neostrata Enlighten Illuminating Serum

You know, sometimes I think these products only work because of the placebo effect. It seems that it’s so hard to continue seeing results after a while. I didn’t repurchase because I don’t believe I saw actual results.

Also, the price point of this is prohibitive, even for people earning a good living, especially now that everything costs twice as much.

15. Nivea Perfect & Radiant Luminous 630 Anti Dark Marks Serum was a disappointment.

Not worth even a tenth of the money I spent. I wish I had read the reviews online before wasting my money. Don’t be like me. Use on your money on anything else.

16. Eucerin Even Pigment Perfector Dual Serum had negligible effects on my sun spots.

This was honestly a complete waste of money. It barely lightened my dark marks and even if it would have worked in the long run, the price point was too high to sustain. One dermatologist on YouTube likes to say that you need to use the skincare that you’ll be able to sustain financially. It’s no use buying expensive things that work slowly. I believe that if something costs a lot of money, it should be more effective and work quicker than most products and have more permanent results.

Even if you can afford it, you might not like how it tends to pill on your skin.

17. Drinking loads of black tea somehow shrunk my dark spots.

I notice my liver spots and sun damage shrinking whenever I drink at least four glasses of black tea with sugar (and milk) per day.

This made me google search about a possible link between tea and skin.

I know the research says mostly to drink green tea, but black tea comes from green tea and is less stimulating for people sensitive to caffeine.

18. Quitting alcohol even temporarily improves the effectiveness of skincare ingredients.

The liver has many jobs to do in our bodies. When we constantly add toxins like alcohol to our bodies, we use up valuable resources from our liver to clear out the ethanol. Alcohol also makes it more difficult to store important nutrients like b-vitamins in our liver. Vitamins like inositol and niacinamide help with keeping skin, hair, nails and our nervous system healthy.

I’ve noticed that even my cosmetics work better when I am sober and detoxed.

Alcohol also causes us to sweat out all the moisture from our skin and keep us dehydrated or cause acne prone and oily pores to be over stimulated. Alcohol messes with your skin in other ways, too. So read up on the effects of alcohol on the skin.

If you ask people that look 20 years younger about their secrets to staying young, they will tell you that they barely drink alcohol or didn’t for a very long time when they were younger. Being sober has cumulative effects on your skin and well-being.

If you really have to have alcohol, don’t over do it. See my article to learn how many shots of tequila gets you drunk.

Virgin Cocktails are great fun!

Stella’s opinion

If you have tried everything to help your skin and lost all hope, maybe it’s time to make different changes to your lifestyle that excludes alcohol.

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