As winter whips its brutal winds against our faces, it’s clear that a healthy skincare routine is crucial to survive. And while some people in the beauty aisle are loading up on moisturizers and oils, others might also be searching for a coveted and rare product: the best dark spot correctors for black skin and other darker skin tones.
There’s no perfect universal skincare routine. Everyone has a different skin type, and with so many celebrities and socialites releasing skincare lines, you’d think we’d all be drowning in options to line our medicine cabinet shelves with. However, many Black men and women still struggle to find products essential to their skincare and beauty routines, whether that be due to a lack of shade ranges, or a misunderstanding of the different skincare needs of people with darker skin tones.
Luckily, there are dark spot correctors and serums out there that actually work on dark skin. Her Campus tapped Shani Hillian, a Black licensed esthetician, to provide more insight on hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and the best products to combat them, so you don’t waste your money on something not formulated just for you.
SO, WHAT IS HYPERPIGMENTATION?
When it comes to skincare for darker skin, hyperpigmentation and dark spots are often the number one concern. But what even is the definition?
“Hyperpigmentation is a technical term to describe dark spots on the skin, the most common being post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH),” Hillian tells Her Campus. “The reason why it affects POC more is due to the fact that we carry more melanin in the skin, although everyone can have it.”
While there are a plethora of serums and creams that claim to help brighten and even skin tone, over 70% of Black women still suffer from hyperpigmentation, according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. Not to mention that there is no one formula that fits all skin colors and types, and dealing with a different shade range can make it a lot more difficult.
“You can experience a hormonal period, develop blemishes but treat them and it’ll go away. But you’re left with some PIH,” Hillian says. “It doesn’t mean your skin isn’t healthy.”
Despite the fact that hyperpigmentation is natural and unpredictable, people of color still face a stigma around having an “uneven” skin tone.
“Hyperpigmentation is frowned upon because it’s not aesthetically pleasing to most,” Hillian says. “It’s a harmless condition that’ll go away, but the beauty industry and society have created the notion that perfect flawless skin is the only way to beauty, and that’s simply not true.” In other words, you don’t actually need to “correct” your dark spots. But if you feel like you want to, there are a few methods you can use to do so.
YOUR SKIN TYPE MIGHT REACT DIFFERENTLY TO CERTAIN HYPERPIGMENTATION TREATMENTS.
While there are many DIY options, we know how overwhelming it can be to stare at a shelf full of products and try to figure out what product will work best for you. Hillian is here to help narrow down those options. “As an esthetician for 15 years, I truly think product formulation has come a long way,” she says. “And there are many Black-owned brands that cater to our needs, like Hyper Skin, who has a very effective Vitamin C serum for Black skin.”
Chemical peels and other hyper-concentrated and intense products can sometimes cause more harm than good, so it’s important to develop and stick to a healthy skincare routine. “I thoroughly and truly believe less is best,” Hillian says. “Minimal skincare is the best way to keep balanced skin, as there’s not alot of manipulation going on.”
Hillian recommends the following for skincare routines:
- Sensitive Skin: Oil is your friend. Oil cleanse, exfoliate one to two times a week, PM only, with gentle malic or mandelic acid, which is perfect for sensitive skin. Use a calming aloe mask once a week, and a hydrating moisturizer with oil.
- Dry Skin: Oil cleanse, exfoliate once a week, PM only, with the same gentle acid (malic). Use a hydrating mask with honey maybe once a week, and a water-based moisturizer, as you need water content to hydrate dry skin.
- Normal/Oily Skin: Oil cleansing is perfect for oily skin because oil dissolves oil, so it’s going to rid pores of excess oil and balance natural oils in the skin. Exfoliate one to two times a week, PM only, then use a clay or detox mask once a week and a water-based moisturizer to break up oil content in pores if you’re really oily. The moisturizer can be oil-free, but doesn’t have to be.
Hillian concludes that no matter which approach you’re taking, you shouldn’t expect overnight results. “What most people now realize is that getting rid of hyperpigmentation can take years,” she says. “We must be patient and consistent with our regimens, and know prevention is key.”
THE BEST PRODUCTS TO CLEAR UP DARK SPOTS ON DARK SKIN
While Hillian made it clear that hyperpigmentation is normal and something you should absolutely not be ashamed of, it’s completely understandable if you want to ensure you have an even skin tone. For that reason, we’ve rounded up the best products to tackle dark spots and help with hyperpigmentation.
CLINIQUE EVEN BETTER CLINICAL RADICAL DARK SPOT CORRECTOR + INTERRUPTER SERUM
The Clinique dark spot corrector is filled with key ingredients such as Ascorbyl glucoside and Glucosamine that help reduce dark spots and decrease dead skin. It’s fragrance-free and an ideal choice for those who have sensitive skin.
JUVIA’S SKIN NIACINAMIDE SERUM
Juvia’s Skin niacinamide serum is a concentrate made of 20% niacinamide, which is proven to help tackle dark spots and brighten the skin. It also works to minimize pores and reduce the appearance of fine lines.
MELÉ EVEN DARK SPOT CORRECTOR
The MELÉ dark spot corrector works as a two-in-one! Their triple active formula targets and reduces the appearance of dark spots, and it also works to gently exfoliate skin and reduce signs of aging. Not to mention, it’s paraben-, alcohol-, and mineral oil-free.
HYPER SKIN HYPER CLEAR BRIGHTENING CLEARING VITAMIN C SERUM
The Hyper Skin is worth the hype! This serum contains vitamin C and is oil-free. It’s perfect for dark spots and uneven texture.