The Best Face Washes For Hyperpigmentation

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

Elite Daily/Amazon

Successfully reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation — if you so desire — is best achieved through a multi-layered approach using both cleansers and topical treatments, dermatologist Brandith Irwin tells Elite Daily. Dr. Irwin says the best face washes for hyperpigmentation are gentle and non-irritating, because even minor irritation can make hyperpigmentation worse. You can also look for mild face washes that offer brightening and skin-evening benefits via low concentrations of active ingredients, but since cleansers aren’t left on our skin for that long, Dr. Irwin says they won’t provide the same impact as leave-on treatments, like serums, liquid exfoliants, and moisturizers.

In addition to washing your face twice a day with your preferred cleanser, Dr. Irwin advises layering actives on your skin both morning and night, and always using a mineral-based sunscreen that contains iron oxides during the daytime. Sunscreen helps prevent future sun damage and can speed up how quickly your hyperpigmentation resolves (in the case of hyperpigmentation, prevention really is the best cure). Finally, the expert says it’s always worth talking to your dermatologist if you have any questions or want more advice on how to treat your unique skin concerns.

To discover the best cleansers for hyperpigmentation, keep reading.

1. The Overall Best Face Wash For Hyperpigmentation

Since leave-on products are going to be the most effective for treating hyperpigmentation, it’s absolutely fine to choose a gentle cleanser that you can use twice a day to get your skin clean and prepped for your serums and moisturizers to work most effectively, Dr. Irwin says. CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser is a popular pick for almost all skin types, because the creamy, non-foaming wash is full of nourishing and hydrating ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin — none of which will clog your pores, but all of which promote stronger, healthier skin. Plus, it’s reasonably priced at less than $20 for a large, 16-ounce, pump-top bottle.

2. Best Face Wash For Hyperpigmentation & Extremely Sensitive Skin

Vanicream is a popular brand with dermatologists, who often recommend their Gentle Facial Cleanser to their patients with extremely reactive skin. This face wash is as soothing as can be, with a super-simple ingredients list that starts with purified water and glycerin. Like all Vanicream products, it’s made without common irritants such as fragrance, soap, botanicals, and sulfates. This creamy wash is a good pick for people with allergies or very dry, sensitive skin, as it will effectively remove makeup and oil while leaving your face feeling soothed and supported — not tight or itchy. People with psoriasis or eczema can use this, too — like the CeraVe cleanser above, this face wash also boasts the NEA (National Eczema Association) seal of acceptance.

3. Best Face Wash For Hyperpigmentation & Acne-Prone Skin

As the American Academy of Dermatology points out, treating the underlying reason you’re experiencing spots and discoloration is a good way to prevent future hyperpigmentation. So, if your acne is what’s leading to temporary scarring, reduce your breakouts with a salicylic acid face wash like La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser. Moisturizing glycerin balances out the salicylic and lipo-hydroxy acids in here, and with its oil-free, fragrance-free, lightweight gel formulation, this French pharmacy cleanser is an ideal choice for anyone with oily or acne-prone skin.

4. Best Vitamin C Cleanser For Hyperpigmentation

Vitamin C, the key ingredient in this cleanser, is a tried-and-true antioxidant known its for skin-brightening and collagen-boosting benefits. Additionally, it can protect against environmental stressors and even work to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, so if an uneven skin tone and unwanted dark spots are concerns of yours, it’s a must for your skin care routine. In addition to vitamin C, this cleanser is also rich in other good-for-skin botanicals like aloe vera, chamomile, cucumber, coconut water, and green tea extract. The cleanser itself, which is a lightweight gel, has a refreshing feel, and leaves your skin feeling comfortable and balanced.

5. Best AHA Cleanser For Hyperpigmentation

Seaweed, blueberry and raspberry extracts, hyaluronic acid, licorice root, and the power of AHAs (glycolic and lactic acid) make Glow Recipe’s Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser an effective face wash that tackles a variety of skin concerns, such as congested pores and hyperpigmentation. It produces a nice, rich lather, and if you want, the brand says it can also be used as an occasional mask — you apply it to clean, dry skin, wait five minutes, then rinse it off. This does have a mild floral scent, so if you prefer fragrance-free products, choose a different cleanser from this list.

6. Best Cleansing Oil For Hyperpigmentation

Pamper your skin with this MARA Beauty Algae Enzyme Cleansing Oil, which is most effective at removing makeup when applied to dry, not wet, skin. It hydrates, smooths, and plumps thanks to several nourishing oils and the brand’s proprietary algae blend (which includes mineral-rich spirulina and kelp), while a blend of fruit enzymes from papaya, pumpkin, pineapple, and grapefruit work to gently exfoliate and brighten skin. This is a fragrance-free cleanser that can be used by all skin types — it works particularly well as the first step in a double-cleansing routine. Just be sure to shake the bottle first to blend the ingredients before doling out one or two pumps to wash your entire face.


Brandith Irwin M.D., F.A.A.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of, Madison Skin & Laser Center, and MadisonMD Skincare.

Studies referenced:

The effect of Vitamin C on melanin pigmentation – A systematic review, by Rizwan M Sanadi and Revati S Deshmukh;