PigmentationFeatured Posts

9 Best Cleansers for Hyperpigmentation – Medically Proven


Having facial hyperpigmentation is a frustrating experience.

Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin due to excessive melanin. It can appear as dark brown spots or patches. It can be due to sun damage, hormonal imbalances like PCOS, aging, medication side effects, and skin diseases or abnormalities.

Cleanser with the right ingredients will not only treat hyperpigmentation but also prevent skin darkening in the future.

Choosing the right product with the right ingredients is as crucial as it is confusing.

Fortunately, we have researched and medically reviewed the best cleansers for hyperpigmentation for you.

TL;DR: Here are the 3 best products we picked from our list.

Best Retinol Cleanser

RoC Retinol Correxion Facial Cleanser


– One of the best combinations of skincare ingredients; Retinol and Niacinamide.
– Best face wash for dark spots, skin aging, wrinkles, clogged pores, acne and more.

Check On Amazon Read Full Review

Best Overall

CeraVe SA


– Affordable chemical exfoliation with high quality.
– For pigmentation free and brightening skin.
– Cleans up skin pores and makes skin smooth.

Check On Amazon Read Full Review

Best Vit C Cleanser

Murad Essential-C Cleanser


– Contains the goodness of triple vitamins of skincare (A, C, and E)
– Improves pigmentation at a rapid pace
– Provides nourishment, moisture, and protection barrier to the skin.

Check On Amazon Read Full Review

Jump to the full list of Products >>

Buying Guide

TL;DR: Just read the names of the ingredients below and make sure you have some of them in your cleanser.

People make a mistake; they unknowingly choose a popular branded cleanser that suits their price range without considering the ingredients used in it.

Be mindful that plenty of brands keep useful ingredients to a minimum to save costs. They fill the product with useless or harmful chemicals that have no effect on the skin except superficial dirt removal.

And even if they have brightening ingredients, they might not be suitable for your skin type.

Spend wisely— at the same price that you may spend on useless cleansers; you can pick a skincare product that actually makes a difference to your skin.

Right Cleanser According to Your Skin Type

Oily skin: A cleanser that can unclog skin pores well is useful. Salicylic acid in such cleansers helps penetrate deep and clean out excessive melanin and debris, turning uneven skin tone and texture back to normal. Foamy and gel-based cleansers clean out the oily skin pretty well.

Dry skin: Cream-based hydrating and non-foamy cleansers are suitable for dry skin. Foaming cleansers tend to dry out the skin. Your skin needs extra moisture.

Sensitive skin: Choose unscented, fragrance-free cleansers with the least irritants and additives like sulfates.

Ingredients to Look For

Choosing the right facial cleanser for hyperpigmentation largely depends on the ingredients used in it.

Retinoids: Retinoids are magical and one of the most powerful ingredients of skincare. They improve cell turnover, reduce dark pigments in the skin, improve skin structure, fight acne, and help reduce melasma.

Despite being a powerful ingredient, retinoid is not for everyone. Those with sensitive skin should avoid or consult a dermatologist before use.

Glycolic Acid: Exfoliates the surface skin layer and removes dead skin cells. New cells grow with brighter skin tone.

It can make skin sensitive to sun damage, so make sure to use sunscreen after it’s use.

Salicylic Acid: It makes its way to the deeper skin cells and unclogs pores of pigments and debris

BHAs like salicylic acid act as chemical exfoliators that remove piled-up pigmented and dead skin cells from the face and leave your skin feeling healthy with a bright, even tone.


Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid):

  • Antioxidant — Sun damage and environmental protection
  • Increases collagen protein production — Thick, strong, and even-toned skin
  • Reduces melanin (dark pigmented) Synthesis

Vitamin C is a multirole skincare warrior. It protects the skin from sun damage. It heals already damaged and pigmented skin.

Kojic Acid:

Kojic acid reduces the production of dark melanin compound in the skin.

Kojic acid is especially suitable for sensitive pigmented skin because it’s gentle and easily tolerated.

It has antibacterial and antifungal properties as well, which make it an amazing solution for injured or rough damaged skin.

Alpha Arbutin: Alpha arbutin limits the production of melanin in the skin. It is one of the most effective methods of reversing skin hyperpigmentation. It is a safer form of hydroquinone.

Licorice Root Extract:

Works similarly to arbutin; it reduces melanin production in the skin. It has an additional benefit: It helps disperse existing melanin and dark pigment, making skin even more radiant.

Green Tea Extract:

It boosts collagen synthesis and helps improve skin thickness and tone.

Antioxidants protect from sun damage and heal existing cells, making the skin healthy and bright.

It is an excellent anti-inflammatory ingredient. It reduces inflammation, redness and skin swelling.

Vitamin E:

It is an antioxidant that helps protect skin from sun and environmental damage. It is anti-aging and reduces dark spots and skin pigments.

It helps moisturize dry and dull skin.

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): It improves skin barrier and structure. Regular usage leads to the shrinking of skin pores and reduces dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

It is considered one of the best ingredients for skin brightening.

Azelaic Acid: It is a skin-lightening ingredient that exfoliates the skin, unclogs pores and reduces acne. It is not as powerful as retinoids or salicylic acid.

Which Ingredient should I pick in Cleanser?

Different ingredients work differently for everyone. One ingredient that worked for someone you know with a similar problem may not work the same for you.

When nothing seems to be working, the best way is to try out different ingredients periodically and then stick with the one that shows the best results. You should remember all good things take time.

However, there are some clues that can help you out which ingredient to pick first.

For example, if you have oily skin with large skin pores, you should go with a salicylic acid-containing cleanser.

Read the buying guide carefully to choose what’s best face wash for hyperpigmentation for you.

Product NameBest ForProduct FormSuitable for Skin TypeMain Ingredients
CeraVe SA CleanserBest OverallGelNormal Oily CombinationSalicylic acid Hyaluronic acid Niacinamide Vitamin D
COSRX Good Morning Gel CleanserBest Korean Beauty CleanserGelAllTea Tree BHA (Betaine Salicylate)
RoC Retinol Correxion CleanserBest Retinol CleanserLiquid/MilkyAllNiacinamide Retinol
La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar CleanserBest Exfoliating Cleanser for Sensitive SkinFoaming CreamSensitiveLHAs (gentler derivative of salicylic acid) Glycerine Thermal spring water
Cetaphil Healthy Radiance Gentle Exfoliating CleanserBest BudgetGelAll, especially Sensitive Acne Prone2% Niacinamide PHA
Murad Essential-C CleanserBest Vit C CleanserFoamy GelAll DryVitamin A, C, E
Revision Skincare Brightening Facial WashPremium/ Ultra-Rich In Anti-pigmentation Ingredients:CreamNormal Oily CombinationSalicylic Acid Glycolic Acid Vitamin C Licorice, and Lily Extract White Tea extract Vitamin E
Botanic Tree Glycolic Acid Face WashBest Acne and Oil Control CleanserGelAcne Prone, Oily, SensitiveSalicylic Acid Glycolic Acid
Tea tree
Shea Butter
Paula’s Choice RESIST Optimal Results Hydrating CleanserBest for DrynessCreamyAll, especially Sensitive DryGreen Tea Chamomile

Product Reviews

Here are the 9 best cleansers for hyperpigmentation and dark spots. We have done our due diligence so you won’t have to suffer from those dark spots and patches anymore.

CeraVe SA Cleanser

🎗️ Best Overall


Main Features:

  • Affordable while providing high-quality hyperpigmentation solution
  • Cleans clogged pores and shrinks their size, making skin smooth and clean from the inside
  • One of the few exfoliation cleansers that can be used by most skin types


Form: Gel

Skin Type: Normal, Oily, Combination
People with dry and sensitive skin can use it a few times a week

Scent: Unscented

Main Ingredients: Salicylic acid, Hyaluronic acid, Niacinamide, Vitamin D

Pros and Cons:

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Multirole skin brighteningCan leave the skin dry if you have sensitive skin
Fragrance-free – Doesn’t irritate the skinSome users feel a burning sensation after it’s use
Combination of powerful ingredients in budget
Deeply cleanses while keeping skin smooth and hydrated

It has salicylic acid, which removes piled-up pigmented and dead skin cells and leaves your skin with a bright, even tone. Hyaluronic Acid makes the skin wrinkle-free and hydrated.

Niacinamide is the magical brightening ingredient that lightens skin tone and decreases hyperpigmentation. It also helps shrink large skin pores to prevent debris build-up.

This facial cleanser is fragrance-free, which is helpful for those with sensitive skin.

It does not dry your skin and helps keep the moisture locked.

Salicylic acid-containing cleansers usually tend to leave the face dry, but this cleanser has ceramides and hyaluronic acid that don’t allow the skin to get rough and dry.

People with very dry and harsh skin should use a moisturizer after its use.

Note for Sensitive Skin: In the beginning, use just twice a week and then increase its usage if you feel fine. Meanwhile, you can alternate with a non-exfoliating cleanser rest of the week.

It is not because of this particular cleanser, but the powerful salicylic acid can leave sensitive skin dry as a whole.

Luckily, CeraVe has done an amazing job making this cleanser balanced with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide so that people with sensitive skin can also enjoy the deep exfoliation power of salicylic acid while taking care of sensitive skin with other hydrating ingredients. These qualities put it on the top as the best face wash for hyperpigmentation.

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

🎗️ Best Korean Beauty Cleanser


Main Features:

  • Contains the Korean beauty Ingredient Betaine Salicylate that, exfoliates your skin gently while keeping it moisturized
  • Perfect alternative for those whose skin can not tolerate harsher ingredients like glycolic acid and salicylic acid


Skin Type: All

Form: Gel

Scent: Unscented

Main Ingredients: Tea Tree, BHA (Betaine Salicylate)

Pros and Cons:

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Chemical exfoliation for sensitive and dry skin, which helps reduce hyperpigmentationThe tea tree smell can be strong, and some people may not like it
Prevents excessive dryness and oilinessSome people may suffer irritation and dryness
Reduces skin redness
Cures bumpiness and leaves the skin smooth

It contains Betaine Salicylate, which is an ingredient commonly used in Korean beauty products. It is a gentler chemical exfoliant compared to salicylic acid.

It is a wonderful cleanser for those with sensitive and dry skin.

Those who still want to exfoliate their skin with BHA but their skin can’t tolerate potent ingredients like salicylic acid can use it without worry.

The power of tea tree keeps your skin perfectly balanced, preventing excessive dryness and oiliness. It also helps reduce breakouts and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

The tea tree smell can be obvious, and some people may not like it. COSRX didn’t use artificial chemicals to mask the smell.

If you have sensitive or dry skin, you should be fine, but if it still feels dry, you need to use a moisturizer in your skincare routine after its use.

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum Facial Cleanser

🎗️ Best Retinol Cleanser


Main Features:

  • One of the best combinations of skincare ingredients, Retinol and Niacinamide
  • Best for hyperpigmentation, dark spots, skin aging, wrinkles, clogged pores, acne and many more


Skin Type: All

Form: Liquid/Milky

Scent: Unscented

Main Ingredients: Niacinamide, Retinol

Pros and Cons:

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Deeply cleanses, removing makeup, dirt, debris, and hyperpigmentationSome people complaint of a burning sensation after use
Reduces oil production in the skinThe packaging needs improvement
Shrinks skin pores and leaves smooth skin
Heals sun-damaged skin and sun spots due to antioxidant properties
Increases the thickness and elasticity

This cleanser has one of the best combinations of skincare ingredients. Retinol and Niacinamide are both magical powerhouses for not only hyperpigmentation reduction but also wrinkles, aging, clogged pores, and numerous other skin issues.

It helps in acne, sebum production, and excessive oil build-up.

It moisturizes the skin and leaves it soft, smooth, and even-toned.

Some users didn’t like its liquid formulation. If you’re not a fan of its liquid creamy formula, you need to bear with it for tons of benefits it brings to the table for your skin.

La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Brightening Face Cleanser

🎗️ Best Exfoliating Cleanser for Sensitive Skin


Main Features:

  • Contains LHA, which is a chemical exfoliant but way less irritating compared to other acids.
  • Perfect for those who want deep cleansing of their skin while protecting it from sensitivity


Skin Type: Sensitive

Form: Foaming Cream

Scent: Unscented

Main Ingredients: LHAs (Gentler derivative of salicylic acid), Glycerin, Thermal spring water (contains selenium)

Pros and Cons:

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Non-comedogenic (Doesn’t block pores)Can cause dryness for some people
LHA brightens the skin and reduces hyperpigmentationThe smell can be too strong for some
Smooth and wrinkle-free skin
Antioxidant prevents environmental damage.
Only a little (pea-sized) quantity is enough to cover the whole face

It is an extremely gentle exfoliating face cleanser that improves the radiance and tone of the skin.

Pigmentclar Brightening Face Cleanser has Lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA), which is a gentler derivative of salicylic acid. It helps gently exfoliate the skin of debris and pigmented cells.

Additionally, its use can leave skin smooth and wrinkle-free.

Long-term users have found it to reduce appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots and brighten the skin.

Sensitive skin can especially benefit from non-irritating, gentle, and powerful Lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA).

It also contains selenium, which is an antioxidant. It prevents skin from getting dark spots, sun damage, and environmental damage.

Cetaphil Face Wash, Healthy Radiance Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser

🎗️ Best Budget Friendly


Main Features:

  • Budget-friendly powerhouse
  • Double approach to reduce pigmentation (PHAs & Niacinamide)
  • Gentle chemical exfoliation, suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive skin


Skin Type: All, especially Sensitive and acne-prone,

Form: Gel

Scent: Unscented

Main Ingredients: 2% Niacinamide, PHA

Pros and Cons:

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Controls excessive oil and dryness, provides a perfect balanceMay burn or irritate some skin types; it must be tested on the forearm before first use
Shrinks and unclogs skin poresSome people may not like its loose gel like consistency
Promotes cell regeneration and reduces signs of aging like wrinkles and dark spotsSome users complaint they didn’t like the smell

Do you want to exfoliate your skin and clear out hyperpigmentation without the worry of sensitivity, irritation, rash, or redness? This cleanser is the answer to your skincare needs.

PHAs (Polyhydroxy acids) are gentle chemical exfoliators found in this cleanser. They remove dead skin cells and build up dirt and debris, making your skin bright, smooth, and pigmentation-free.

Another magical ingredient found in this cleanser is Niacinamide, which is a popular skin-brightening recommendation among dermatologists. Niacinamide also shrinks your pores and makes it smooth and wrinkle-free.

Together, PHAs and Niacinamide provide a multidirectional solution to hyperpigmentation and dark spots.

Note: PHAs need time to act, so keep cleanser on the skin for at least 2-3 minutes.

Murad Essential-C Cleanser

🎗️ Best Vit C Cleanser


Main Features:

  • Contains the goodness of triple vitamins of skincare (A, C, and E)
  • The double action of Vit A and C improves hyperpigmentation at a rapid pace
  • Vitamin E provides nourishment, moisture, and an environmental protection barrier


Skin Type: All/ Dry

Form: Foamy Gel

Scent: Citrus

Main Ingredients: Vitamin A, C, E

Pros and Cons:

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Powerful combination of vitamins and antioxidantsPricey
Powerful combination of vitamins and antioxidantsScented, may irritate sensitive skin
Powerful combination of vitamins and antioxidants

Murad essential cleanser comes with an amazing combination of vitamins and antioxidants, all of which play a pivotal role in skin brightening and hyperpigmentation reduction.

Vitamin E works wonders for dry skin with its moisturizing and softening abilities.

Vitamins A & C decrease melanin (dark pigment) production and improve cell turnover. It helps your skin get an even tone and bright outlook. It reduces dark spots, blemishes, and acne scars.

Thickness of the skin is improved. It markedly reduces wrinkles, fine lines, and saggy skin.

This cleanser may feel pricey, but what you get in return is more than you pay for. It is evident not only by the users but also by the numerous dermatologists who recommend this to reduce hyperpigmentation and dark spots.

Revision Skincare Brightening Facial Wash

🎗️ Premium/ Ultra-Rich In Anti-pigmentation Ingredients


Main Features:

  • Multiple skin brightening and anti-pigmentation ingredients working in different ways to reduce dark spots and patches
  • Effectively cleans up acne-prone skin, reduces acne scars, and controls oil production
  • Antioxidant benefits- prevent sun and environmental damage
  • Not only improves old hyperpigmentation but also prevents new one as well


Skin Type: Normal, oily, combination (Avoid if dry or sensitive skin)

Form: Cream

Scent: Tea Tree, Lily

Main Ingredients: Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Vitamin C, Licorice and Lily Extract, Vitamin E, White Tea Extract

Pros and Cons:

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Shrinks skin pores, providing silky smooth skinIt may irritate or dry some skin types
Reduces dark spots and patchesPricey
Improves skin cell turnover to form new even-toned skin cells
Powerful formula helps fight resistant acne with long-term usage

It is the most brightening ingredient-rich product on our list. It comes with alpha and beta Hydroxy acids.

AHA cleans superficial skin and removes dead skin cells and debris.

BHA clears skin pores and reaches deep into the skin to open up skin clogs and remove any built-up pigments from there.

It also has Vitamin C, which is the go-to ingredient for dermatologists to brighten up the skin and reduce melanin pigment production. Licorice and Lily Extract also assist in skin brightening.

Vitamin E and white tea extracts provide antioxidant benefits. They nourish and soothe the skin and protect it from environmental and sun damage.

Note: Always use an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen after its use before going out. AHAs and BHAs in this cleanser can make skin sensitive to the sun.

Use only 3-4 times a week and once a day at night if you are first time using an AHA and BHA product. It can turn out to be excessively drying even if you have normal or oily skin.

Perform a patch test on the forearm before using first time on the face to check for any allergic reactions.

Botanic Tree Glycolic Acid Face Wash

🎗️ Best Acne and Oil Control Cleanser


Main Features:

  • Powerful deep cleansing and exfoliation achieved by salicylic and glycolic acids
  • Cleans both outer and deep layers of the skin


Skin Type: Acne Prone, Oily, Sensitive

Form: Gel

Scent: Tea Tree & Lavender

Main Ingredients: Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Tea tree, Shea Butter,

Pros and Cons:

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Reduces dark spots and hyperpigmentationCan cause dryness if used daily
Helps fight acne, breakouts, and excessive oil
A little goes a long way; great formulation

This cleanser cleans up the skin’s surface by removing dead skin cells and other debris. It opens up and cleans clogged-up pores. Which helps in the reduction of hyperpigmentation and dark spots caused by debris built up over time.

Glycolic acid and salicylic acid are chemical exfoliators, which means they clean up the skin without being physically harsh or damaging.

Tea tree reduces oil and decreases skin pore size to make it smooth and soft. This cleanser also contains lavender, which evens out skin tone and further helps fight skin darkening.

Formulation quality is great, and a little product goes a long way. It has a gel-like consistency with small beads that don’t feel harsh at all.

It should be used only 2-4 times a week, so you’ll have to keep another non-exfoliating cleanser.

Paula’s Choice RESIST Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser

🎗️ Best for Dryness


Main Features:

  • Ideal for those with sensitive and dry skin types
  • Chamomile and Tea Tree both reduce hyperpigmentation and provide even skin tone while being gentle
  • Contains antioxidants that protect your skin from sun damage and repair skin tone


Skin Type: All, especially Dry and Sensitive

Form: Creamy

Scent: Fragrance-Free

Main Ingredients: Green Tea, Chamomile

Pros and Cons:

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Does not make skin tight or drySome people do not like the bottle design with dispenser pump (Prone to breakage)
Safe to use around eyes (avoid inside eyes)Can be too gentle for oily skin types
Improves skin tone and texture while moisturizing it
Boosts collagen production, upscaling skin thickness and texture

If your skin keeps excessively dry and using cleansers makes it even worse, then this gentle cleanser is the right choice for you.

It helps calm and soothe your skin with the gentleness of chamomile.

It contains green tea extract, which has antioxidants for skin protection from sun and environmental damage and damaged cell repair.

Overall, it improves the complexion and tone of the skin, fighting dullness caused by pigmented and damaged skin cells.

It soothes itching and redness in sensitive skin types. It is also beneficial for psoriasis, dermatitis, and rosacea skin.

Additional Tips

Eat Fruits and Vegetables: A study shows fruits and vegetables have a greater effect on vit C production in the skin. It improves skin color and reduces hyperpigmentation.

Always Use Sunscreen: Don’t go into the sun without using at least an SPF 30 sunscreen. UV damage can cause pigmentation. Use sunglasses for eye protection.

Patch Test: Test all products on your forearm skin before you wash your face for the first time. Some people, especially those who have sensitive skin, can have allergic reactions to any ingredient in the product.

Don’t Overuse Cleansers: Overusing cleansers can cause skin irritation and dryness. Usually, most cleansers are used once or twice a day.

Those with sensitive or dry skin types should start with less frequent use and then ramp it up gradually when the skin gets comfortable. Only use best face washes and avoid substandard products.

Related: Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid: Best Guide to Safe Sunscreen


Are Acids Like AHAs and BHAs Safe For the Skin?

Cleansers containing AHAs and BHAs like salicylic acid and glycolic acid may cause a slight tingling sensation and irritation on the skin, especially when you use it for the first time.
There is no need to be afraid of these “acids” as they are not harmful to the skin. There are some exceptions though, which you should be aware of.
Some people with sensitive skin may have severe reactions, redness, peeling, or discomfort to these acids. They should avoid the product and consult a doctor. The doctor may advise the usage of products with low potency or complete avoidance.

How long does it take for hyperpigmentation to fade?

It is a long journey that needs a lot of patience and care to prosper. Usually, it takes between 6 months to a year, but it can vary depending upon the care given to the skin and the level of the pigmentation.

Dr Ahmed

Dr Ahmed is a medical graduate of National University of Medical Science. He has 7+ years experience in medical writing.

You Might Also Enjoy


Chemical Peel for Dark Inner Thighs – Complete Guide

Find out how a chemical peel for dark inner thighs can safely lighten your skin. Discover the best methods and treatments to get lighter inner thighs.

Mexican Soap For Dark Spots

Mexican Soap For Dark Spots – Is It Really Worth It?

Discover the truth about T.Taio Esponjabon Soap - the best Mexican soap for dark spots. Can it really lighten the skin and exfoliate dark patches? Find out now!


PCOS: Dark Inner Thighs Treatment and Remedies (By a Doctor)

Weight control, exercise, hormonal treatment, and a healthy diet are best cure options. Topical retinoids, dermabrasion, laser therapy, and microneedling also help.


Native Sunscreen Review | High Quality With Affordability

Native sunscreen sits easily on the skin and doesn't grease it up. It doesn't flare up acne or clog pores. It's healthy for your skin and safe for environment.

ⓘ This article may contain affiliate links, meaning we'll earn a small commission if you purchase through these links at no additional cost to you.