Treating Hyperpigmentation On Black Skin Is Easy With These Pro Tips

As if that wasn’t bad enough to develop a rash, sometimes the worst part is what they leave behind after the pimple heals – pesky dark spots, also known as hyperpigmentation. “Hyperpigmentation is any area of ​​skin that is darker than the surrounding skin that can lead to uneven skin tone and darker patches of skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry. Although frustrating, it is important to note that these spots are extremely common, especially in people of color.

Darker skin types have a higher melanin base, the pigment that causes skin pigmentation. “The melanocytes, or pigment-producing cells, in darker skin tones are better able to respond to triggers by pumping out more melanin,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe. And if the body sends out too much melanin to heal the trauma, it can create those aggravating dark spots.

Depending on the condition of the skin and the cause of the hyperpigmentation (more on that later), some fade over time, and others take weeks or months to dissolve if not treated. The good news: there are many ways to treat it and prevent dark spots. Before, TZR reached out to top dermatologists to bring you the best expert advice on treating hyperpigmentation, how it affects darker skin tones, and approved products to help you get rid of it.

Main Types and Causes of Hyperpigmentation on Darker Skin Tones

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

The most common cause of dark spots is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – inflammation caused by overproduction of melanin in the dermis – which occurs after any damage to the skin. According to Dr. Henry, an insult can include acne, eczema, or any inflammatory process – the defense mechanism of the immune system in response to damaged cells or harmful stimuli. Post-acne marks are one of the most commonly cited causes of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in dermatology patients, as this type of trauma will cause inflammation and damage pigment cells, says Dr. Henry.


Sunspots, the catalyst for excessive sun exposure from both UV rays and blue light, are a major contributor to hyperpigmentation, Dr. Bowe says. Too much exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet rays can cause the skin to overproduce melanin, resulting in blotchy, patchy skin (if not outright sunburn). Sun damage will cause injury or DNA damage to melanocytes (again, the skin cells responsible for producing melanin). With increasing sun exposure over time, darker skin types will develop patches of hyperpigmentation called lentigines, or liver spots, often seen on the face, arms, and neck.

How do you treat hyperpigmentation on darker skin tones?

Solar cream

Sunscreen should be your first line of defense to prevent hyperpigmentation, along with treatment to keep spots from darkening further. “A major misconception is that people with darker skin don’t need sunscreen because the abundance of melanin in their skin gives them more natural protection,” said Hillary Clark, esthetician and founder of Beauty. HAC, at TZR. His main suggestion is to wear SPF inside and out, even if you’re not directly exposed to UV rays. “Indirect exposure can activate easily triggered melanocytes, causing more hyperpigmentation,” she adds. Remember to reapply your sunscreen throughout the day to maintain this crucial protection.

Vitamin C

One of the most popular skincare ingredients, vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, works hard to fight free radical-induced photo-damage, helping to prevent the formation of dark spots. By decreasing the activity of tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for the development of dark spots, it will help prevent melanin production and lighten pigmentation without lightening the surrounding skin (a risk with any type of lightening ingredient for people darker-skinned).

Tranexamic acid

A newly popular option for hyperpigmentation, tranexamic acid is a form of the amino acid lysine, a building block of protein, and was traditionally used in medical practice to treat excessive blood loss due to major trauma. Tranexamic acid acts against melanin production caused by UV light by blocking the interaction between skin cells and melanocytes. It’s safe for all skin types and used during pregnancy, making it less irritating than most dark spot-lightening ingredients (think hydroquinone, which isn’t safe for darker skin tones) as it can lighten the skin surrounding the unwanted pigmentation). Plus, this buzzing acid works well with other ingredients like topical retinoids and vitamin C.


Known as a sacred ingredient for everything from anti-aging, acne, and pigmentation issues, retinol reduces epidermal melanin by blocking tyrosinase transcription. It also stimulates collagen production and increases cell turnover, which helps fade dark spots. Plus, with better collagen production, you’ll improve skin elasticity, luminosity, and texture.

Chemical peel

Fortunately, there are plenty of at-home chemical peel options, but professional treatment will speed up the process of removing unwanted hyperpigmentation from your skin – and for darker skin tones, it’s often safer to see a beautician or doctor. dermis which includes your skin. Needs. Dr. Corey L. Hartman, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology, recommends one peel per month, for three months. But if you want to stick to a quality at-home routine, look for gentle exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids like mandelic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, and fruit enzymes, which will exfoliate your skin by safely and will remove unwanted pigmentation with regular use.

Ready to finally treat all your hyperpigmentation worries? Ahead, the experts reveal their favorite products to add to your routine.

At TZR, we only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

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