Hyperpigmentation is a condition that manifests itself as patches or spots of darker skin tone than the surrounding area.
It occurs when inflammation, such as excessive sun exposure, acne, injury to the skin, or hormonal conditions such as melasma trigger uneven distribution of the brown pigment melanin across the epidermal layers.
Basically, the uneven melanin deposit gets transferred into keratinocytes (skin cells) which then travel to the surface and manifest the irregular melanin deposits as hyperpigmentation in certain areas where the inflammation occurred (such as where the pimple was.)
And besides hyperpigmentation being a menace, it’s actually not that hard to treat with the right products.
To effectively treat hyperpigmentation, you need to have a skincare routine consisting of products that soothe inflammation, repair the skin’s moisture barrier and contain brightening agents to neutralize uneven melanin production or essentially shed the uneven areas from the skin’s surface.
The best way to achieve this is to use soothing and skin-repairing ingredients in leave-on products such as toners, serums, and moisturizers, and focus your brightening actives on products that need to be washed off the skin after performing this action.
This is why face washes can be a super-effective way to get rid of hyperpigmentation, and precisely what I’m going to talk about in this article.
Bust before I jump to the main portion of the article, let’s get one important thing out of the way.
Table of Contents
How I Reviewed Each Product
As someone who is more prone to post-inflammatory redness yet occasionally dealing with a dark, hyperpigmented spot after a pimple has healed, I’ve been looking for the perfect product that will give me an extra brightening effect without interfering with my leave-on products intended for other skin concerns.
Which is why I’ve found face washes to be a helpful addition, especially if you already have a decent skincare routine that addresses other skin concerns such as active acne.
The great thing about face washes that contain brightening actives is that they get the job done without staying on the skin for too long.
Therefore, I compiled this list of fantastic face washes based on the active ingredients they contain, add-on ingredients and how they work for different skin types with similar skin concerns, and my experience with using some of them.
Additionally, I also read through customer reviews on various websites while trying to understand how each of the products on this list works for different skin types.
And with all that in mind, here is my list of the seven best face washes for hyperpigmentation:
The 7 Best Face Washes for Hyperpigmentation
|Overall||GENTLECLEAN – Vitamin Infused Calming Wash|
|For Hyperpigmentation and Dark Spots||Glow Recipe – Blueberry Bounce Gentle Foaming Cleanser|
|For Sensitive Skin||Revision Skincare – Brightening Facial Wash|
|On a Budget||The Inkey List – Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser|
|Vitamin C Face Wash||Murad – Essential-C Cleanser|
|For Black Skin||Juice Beauty – Green Apple Brightening Gel Cleanser|
|Glycolic Acid Face Wash||Glytone – Mild Cream Cleanser|
GENTLECLEAN – Vitamin Infused Calming Wash
This gentle daily face wash from Clearstem contains a blend of brightening and soothing ingredients that help fight hyperpigmentation. It’s also made with natural ingredients which makes it great for acne prone skin.
Hydrates while it cleanses, removes waterproof makeup, and is gentle enough to use morning and night
Purifying, Detoxing & Restoring
Super gentle daily cleanser for acne-prone & sensitive skin
Real Ingredients. Real Results
Formulated with green tea, goldenseal, and vitamin c
No hormone distruptors, no toxins, cruelty free, gluten free, vegan, and silicon free
- Green tea – Green tea is a natural antioxidant and has very powerful antimicrobial properties, making it a key ingredient in thoroughly cleansing the surface of the skin. The compound EGCG that’s found in green tea is known for its acne-fighting benefits.
- Goldenseal – Like green tea, goldenseal is a powerful plant extract known for its antibacterial benefits. It contains a compound called berberine, which has a powerful astringent effect on mucous membranes making it a key acne-fighting ingredient.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which helps reduce skin redness that’s caused by acne breakouts. Vitamin C works to brighten skin complexion and even skin tone.
Water/Aqua, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Methyl Oleoyl Taurate, Sorbitan Oleate Decylglucoside Crosspolymer, Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate, Sclerotium Gum, Polysorbate 20 (naturally derived), Lauryl Glucoside, Coco-Glucoside, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract*, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract*, Allantoin, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Emblica Officinalis Fruit Extract, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal) extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Seed Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Capsaicin (Vitamin C Bioflavinoid), Hesperidin (Vitamin C Bioflavinoid), Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil , Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract. Certified Organic*
The Clearstem GENTLECLEAN Vitamin Infused Calming Wash is the perfect match for anyone looking for a daily cleanser that will help fade hyperpigmentation. Ingredients like vitamin C and licorice root extract work to brighten the complexion and lighten discoloration, while green tea and goldenseal extracts provide anti-acne benefits to stop future breakouts (and future hyperpigmentation) in their tracks.
Additionally, the formula works to hydrate and calm the skin. Glycerin, allantoin, cucumber extract, and other ingredients leave the complexion feeling comfortable and supple, rather than tight, dry, and irritated.
Beyond helping with hyperpigmentation and other skin concerns, this gentle formula is great at what a face wash first and foremost needs to do: clean. It’s created to effectively cleanse away makeup, oil, and excess debris, but do so without stripping the skin of its natural moisture.
What’s also great about this formula is that it’s suitable for all skin types. In addition to being safe for blemish-prone skin (it doesn’t contain any pore-clogging ingredients), this gentle cleanser works for anyone, including those with sensitive skin.
Clearstem GENTLECLEAN Vitamin Infused Calming Wash Pros:
- Contains ingredients that brighten the complexion and lighten hyperpigmentation.
- Calms and hydrates the skin.
- Vegan, cruelty-free, silicone-free, paraben-free, and gluten-free.
Clearstem GENTLECLEAN Vitamin Infused Calming Wash Cons:
Best for Hyperpigmentation and Dark Spots:
Glow Recipe – Blueberry Bounce Gentle Foaming Cleanser
Glow Recipe’s cleanser is formulated with blueberry extract, which is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and ellagic acid, all of which help brighten the complexion, fade away dark spots, and smooth out the skin texture.
Gentle exfoliating AHAs help remove makeup from pores while ungluing dead skin cells – all in one step
Hydrating Face Wash
Has blueberry extract & Hyaluronic Acid as ingredients to keep the skin hydrated as you cleanse and remove make up
Ideal for all skin types and is gentle enough to not irritate combination or acne prone skin
Parabens, Mineral Oil, Sulfates, Silicones, Phthalates, Alcohol, Synthetic Dyes. Vegan.
- Blueberry Extract: Packed with antioxidants to protect skin against environmental stressors.
- Hyaluronic Acid: Hydrates skin by holding up to 1,000 times its weight in moisture.
- AHA: A blend of lactic acid (derived from plants) and glycolic acid that gently exfoliates and hydrates to reveal smoother, brighter skin over time by removing dead surface skin cells.
Water, Palm Kernel/Coco Glucoside, Caulerpa Lentillifera (Seaweed) Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Physalis Peruviana (Groundcherry) Fruit Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi (Bearberry) Leaf Extract, Morus Nigra (Mulberry) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit Extract, Beta-Glucan, Scutellaria Baicalensis (Skullcap) Root Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa (Peony) Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Betaine, Sodium Chloride, Fragrance.
Glow Recipe’s Blueberry Bounce Gentle Foaming Cleanser is another excellent choice if you are looking for a face wash that will brighten your complexion and help fade away those pesky dark spots that tend to linger for a long time after a pimple has healed.
The cleanser has the consistency of a lightweight, gooey gel that creates a good lather when it touches water, so it’s safe to say that you don’t need more than half a pump of product to effectively cleanse your face and neck.
When it comes to the ingredient list, this major US-based K-Beauty brand never disappoints, and their Blueberry Bounce Gentle Foaming Cleanser is no exception.
Glow recipe’s cleanser also contains an AHA blend of lactic and glycolic acids to gently exfoliate the skin, and further help shed those uneven spots that tend to stay on the skin for a long time.
Furthermore, the Blueberry Bounce Cleanser also provides a nice balance of hydrating ingredients such as glycerin and sodium hyaluronate, a version of hyaluronic acid with smaller molecules to help the skin better retain moisture.
Lastly, the cleanser is formulated without drying alcohol, making it a good option for those with dry skin; however, it does contain fragrance, which is something you should watch out for if you tend to be sensitive to this component.
What’s great about this cleanser is that it also comes in a mini version that you can try out before deciding whether you want the full-sized bottle.
Glow Recipe – Blueberry Bounce Gentle Foaming Cleanser Pros:
- Contains brightening and antioxidant ingredients.
- Also contains exfoliating acids.
- Glycerin and hyaluronic acid provide a nice balance of hydration.
- Available in a mini size.
Glow Recipe – Blueberry Bounce Gentle Foaming Cleanser Cons:
- Contains fragrance.
Best For Sensitive Skin:
Revision Skincare – Brightening Facial Wash
When it comes to the active ingredients, the Brightening Facial Wash is formulated with both glycolic and salicylic acid, as well as vitamin C, all of which are great ingredients for brightening and evening out the skin tone, smoothing uneven texture, and calming inflammation.
Normal, oily, combination and mature skin types. Not recommended for dry or sensitive skin types.
With Vitamin C, and extracts of Licorice and Lily Exfoliates dead surface cells for smoother skin
Ultrarich cleanser with Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids and brightening botanicals, removes the day’s impurities, leaving skin clean and hydrated.
Exfoliates dead surface cells for softer, smoother skin
Water (Aqua), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Decyl Glucoside, Acrylates Copolymer, Glycereth-2 Cocoate, Sucrose Laurate, Glycolic Acid, Glycol Distearate, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Lilium Candidum (Lily) Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Powder, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Salicylic Acid, Glycerin, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Tocopherol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Butylene Glycol, Steareth-4, Citric Acid, Benzoic Acid, Fragrance (Parfum).
The Brightening Facial Wash by Revision Skincare is my top choice for anyone dealing with sensitive skin issues. This includes peeling, burning, or reactions to many over the counter skincare products.
The cleanser has a thick consistency that falls somewhere between a gel and cream and creates an ultrarich lather when in touch with water.
When the formula of a face wash lathers this good, you can get away with using very little product for the entire face and neck, meaning it will last you a long time.
A huge benefit is that this face wash is very gentle and non-irritating. It also contains ingredients such as soothing licorice and lily extract and nourishing vitamin E and white tea extract, both of which are excellent antioxidants.
Revision Skincare – Brightening Facial Wash Pros:
- Contains brightening ingredients that even out hyperpigmentation.
- Contains salicylic acid to soothe inflammation and acne.
- Gentle and efficient.
- Suitable for all skin types.
Revision Skincare – Brightening Facial Wash Cons:
Best on a Budget:
The Inkey List – Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser
The Inkey List’s Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser is a thick gel formula infused with 0.5% fulvic acid, which is a powerful antioxidant that brightens the complexion and evens out the skin tone while also providing mild exfoliating action that’s especially suitable for those with sensitive skin.
Normal, Dry, Combination, and Oily
Gently cleanses and exfoliates the skin
Contains 0.5% Fulvic Acid
Gentle formula cleanses the skin removing makeup—even eye makeup—while enhancing exfoliation to reveal brighter skin
Vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free
- 0.5% Nordic Peat: Contains fulvic acid, which promotes skin exfoliation.
- 1.5% Kakadu Plum Extract: Nourishes skin.
- 1% Licorice Root Extract: Reduces the look of hyperpigmentation and visibly brightens overall skin tone.
Water (Aqua/Eau), Coco-Glucoside, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Peat, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, PEG-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Disodium EDTA, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Dehydroacetic Acid, Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract, Potassium Sorbate.
The Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser by The Inkey List is another great face wash for hyperpigmentation, especially if you are looking for something on a budget.
Besides the main active ingredient (Fulvic Acid), the Brightening Cleanser also contains Kakadu plum extract, an excellent source of vitamin C and hydrating hyaluronic acid, as well as licorice root extract, which reduces the look of hyperpigmentation, visibly brightens the skin tone, and infuses the skin with antioxidants.
An excellent product for all skin types, the Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser is definitely a product you should consider trying if you are on a tight budget but are looking for something effective.
The Inkey List – Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser Pros:
- Contains brightening and antioxidant ingredients.
- Great for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
The Inkey List – Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser Cons:
Best Vitamin C Face Wash for Hyperpigmentation:
Murad – Essential-C Cleanser
Murad’s Essential-C Cleanser is an excellent choice for those looking for a face wash with vitamin C to help brighten hyperpigmentation, fade dark spots, and even out the complexion.
Balanced, Oily, Combination and Dry
Allantoin and Panthenol
To help soften and moisturize skin
Packed with vitamins
Vitamin A conditions; vitamin C helps prevent skin damage; vitamin E relieves dryness and nourishes
Parabens, Phthalates, Gluten, Mineral Oil, Formaldehyde, Oxybenzone, Petrolatum/Petroleum
- Phospholipids and Sodium PCA: Attract and bind moisture to dry skin.
- Vitamin Trio: Helps neutralize free radicals and defend skin against future damage.
- Allantoin and Panthenol: Soothe and soften over-exposed, stressed skin.
Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Polysorbate 20, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Panthenol, Phospholipids, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Chitosan, Rice Amino Acids, Zinc Aspartate, Allantoin, Sodium PCA, Lactose, Cellulose, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Propyl Gallate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Limonene, Linalool, Orange Oil, Mandarin Orange Peel Oil, Basil Oil, Grapefruit Peel Oil, Galbanum Resin Oil, Fragrance, Iron Oxides (CI 77492).
Murad’s Essential-C cleanser has a gel texture and is formulated with vitamin C, which we all know is one of the most potent antioxidants that helps brighten the skin, reverse damage done by free radicals, and helps improve skin damage done by UV rays.
Additionally, the Essential-C Cleanser also contains phospholipids and sodium PCA, which are two excellent ingredients that bind moisture to dry skin and help keep the complexion plump and hydrated.
Lastly, moisturizing allantoin and calming panthenol are great additions to vitamin C, which soothe and improve environmentally stressed skin.
Besides containing such a powerful active, the Essential-C Cleanser is gentle and non-irritating; however, you should still be careful when introducing this cleanser into your daily routine as it does contain fragrance and fragrant components such as citrus oils, which are ingredients that have the potential to trigger sensitive and reactive skin.
Murad – Essential-C Cleanser Pros:
- Contains vitamin C to brighten the skin and even out the skin tone.
- Hydrating and soothing ingredients work to repair environmentally stressed skin.
- It comes in a huge bottle that’ll last for a long time.
Murad – Essential-C Cleanser Cons:
- Contains fragrance and fragrant components.
Best Face Wash for Hyperpigmentation on Black Skin:
Juice Beauty – Green Apple Brightening Gel Cleanser
The Green Apple Brightening Gel Cleanser by Juice Beauty is an excellent choice for dark skin tones who are looking for a face wash to help brighten and even out their complexion.
For all skin types (except sensitive skin), 20’s and up
Exfoliate & visibly refine with malic acid from organic green apples and organic raw cane sugar
Antioxidant rich and purifying organic botanical juices, sugar cane hydroxy-acids and plant-based cleansers exfoliate and deeply cleanse.
Organic, Vegan, and Cruelty Free
Parabens, petroleum, propylene or butylene glycols, phthalates, sulfates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances
Pyrus Malus (Organic Apple Juice/Jus De Pomme Bio)*, Citrus Medica Limonum (Organic Lemon Juice/Jus De Citron Bio)*, Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Juice/Jus De Aloès Bio)*, Glycerin+, Coco-Glucoside+, Decyl Glucoside+, Vitis Vinifera (Organic White Grape Juice/Jus De Raisin Blanc Bio)*, Lauryl Glucoside, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside+, Vacciniumm Myrtillus (Bilberry Fruit Extract/Extrait De Fruit De Myrtille), Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane Extract/Extrait De Canne À Sucre), Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple Extract/Extrait D’Érable À Sucre), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange Fruit Extract/Extrait De Fruit D’Orange), Citrus Limon (Lemon Extract/Extrait De Citron), Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion Leaf Extract/Extrait De Feuilles De Pissenlit), Salvia Officinalis (Sage Leaf Extract/Extrait De Feuilles De Sauge), Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm Leaf Extract/Extrait De Feuilles De Mélisse), Camellia Sinensis (Black Tea Leaf Extract/Extrait De Feuilles De Thé Noir), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A/Vitamine A), Tocopherol (Vitamin E/Vitamine E), Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Phytate, Citric Acid, Beta-Sitosterol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange Oil/Huile D’Orange), Litsea Cubeba (May Chang Oil/Huile De Chang Mai), Cinnamomum Camphora (Ho Wood Oil/Huile De Camphre).
*Certified Organic Ingredient / Ingrediént Certifié Bio
+ Plant Derived / Origine Végétale
The Green Apple Brightening Gel Cleanser has a jelly-like consistency and is formulated with organic green apple juice, which is a natural source of malic acid, an AHA that’s one of the safest ingredients for dark skin and provides gentle exfoliation to reveal brighter, more even-toned skin.
In addition to green apple juice, the Green Apple Brightening Gel Cleanser also contains organic aloe vera juice, an ingredient that has a superior calming action on the skin, as well as an antioxidant sage leaf and black tea that help brighten the complexion and soothe irritations and allergic reactions.
Lastly, this cleanser is formulated without any harsh sulfates or drying alcohols, making it a good choice for those with dry or sensitive skin.
However, one downside to this cleanser is that it contains fragrant components such as citrus essential oils, which is something you should keep in mind if you have reactive skin.
Juice Beauty – Green Apple Brightening Gel Cleanser Pros:
- Formulated with organic ingredients.
- Contains exfoliating and brightening acids.
- Calming and soothing ingredients make this a good choice for those with sensitive skin.
Juice Beauty – Green Apple Brightening Gel Cleanser Cons:
- Contains citrus essential oils.
Best Glycolic Acid Face Wash for Hyperpigmentation:
Glytone – Mild Cream Cleanser
The Glytone Mild Gel Cleanser is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a face wash with glycolic acid to help fade hyperpigmentation and dark spots. As it says in the name, the cleanser has a gel consistency and is formulated with a 4.7 free acid value, which means it contains a low concentration of an acidic active ingredient that balances the formula and works efficiently with the skin’s naturally acidic pH.
Good Glow Score
Hydrate and Balance
Formulated with 3.4 PFAV™ Glycolic Acid and Glycerin to exfoliate while maintaining skin’s water balance,
Helps with uneven skin tones, and premature aging skin
Recommended for normal to dry skin.
Won’t clog pores
Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Glycolic Acid, Lauramine Oxide,PEG-40Stearate,Cetearyl Alcohol, Octoxynol-5, Octoxynol- 9, Petrolatum, Potassium Hydroxide, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Methylparaben, Polysorbate 20, Propylparaben, Stearic Acid, Red 40 (CI 16035), Yellow 5 (CI 19140).
The main active ingredient in the Mild Gel Cleanser is glycolic acid, the most potent member of the AHA family of acids and the one that works the fastest and most efficiently.
Some of the main properties of glycolic acid include its ability to exfoliate the dead skin cells that sit on the skin’s surface, thus shedding hyperpigmentation, brightening the complexion, and evening out the skin tone over time.
However, glycolic acid is also the most tricky AHA because its molecules are so small that the skin swallows them up immediately, which poses the risk of irritation because of how impactful it is.
This is why glycolic acid shouldn’t be played around with, and with that being said, although mild, the Mild Gel Cleanser isn’t a product that should be used daily or even less so twice a day.
Instead, you will get the best results by using this cleanser a few times a week, on evenings when you’re not using other actives such as other exfoliating acids or retinoids.
Additionally, use just a chickpea-sized amount of product because the formula creates a rich lather that makes this product efficient in very small quantities.
Furthermore, Glytone Mld Gel Cleanser also contains potassium hydroxide to restore optimal pH balance to your skin and leave it plump, supple and relieved from concerns such as texture, uneven skin tone, dark spots, and even deeper issues such as fine lines and wrinkles.
All in all, the Glytone Mild Gel Cleanser is an excellent product to have in your arsenal of anti-hyperpigmentation agents and can yield fantastic results over time if used properly.
Glytone – Mild Gel Cleanser Pros:
- Potent glycolic acid concentration to fade hyperpigmentation and even out the skin tone.
- Maintains skin’s naturally acidic pH.
- Helps relieve deeper skin concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Glytone – Mild Gel Cleanser Cons:
- It can be drying and irritating if used too frequently or in the wrong way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hyperpigmentation is caused by an overproduction of melanin in the skin. Vitamin C can help reduce melanin levels in the skin and decrease inflammation. Try orally supplementing and using Vitamin C topically for best results to reduce free radicals and sun damage.
The best way to clear hyperpigmentation is to follow a low-inflammation diet, use non-comedogenic skincare products, and avoid long periods of sun exposure without SPF protection.