Hyperpigmentation Treatments For Black Skin (And Darker Skin Types)

Hyperpigmentation Treatments For Black Skin (And Darker Skin Types)

Hyperpigmentation treatments for black skin (and darker skin types) naturally, need to be taken with a slightly different approach since Fitzpatrick Skin Types 4-6 tend to create melanin more quickly and easily than other skin types so sometimes when aggressive methods are used, the hyperpigmentation can become larger and darker.

Sometimes even forming hypo-pigmentation where there is no melanin and this is irreversible and more noticeable.

Some of the ingredients listed will in this article but not covered in depth because these were covered more in detail in

Treating Hyperpigmentation Naturally (look for these ingredients)

For those of you who have melasma, age spots, and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and DO NOT WANT TO USE HYDROQUINONE, here are some ingredients that you may want to consider including in your daily skin care regimen.

3 Truths of Melasma-CAN YOU CURE MELASMA?

Best Treatment Options for Melasma

All of the ingredients have been in blinded controlled clinical studies showing skin lightning effects.

Challenges of Hyperpigmentation Treatments for Black Skin and darker skin types

Challenge 1 :Clients with darker skin types usually avoid wearing sunscreen because most complain that the sunscreen makes them look ashy or they justify not wearing sunscreen because their skin rarely burns or never burns. However, their hyperpigmentation will get darker and larger over time if it is not protected from sun exposure.

Challenge 2: Clients with dark skin who have hyperpigmentation tend to be more resistant and hesitant to go slower with treatments because they want to see results right away .

Helping them understand how darker skin is different from lighter skin is that their skin creates melanin more quickly and if they use a more aggressive method, they may find that the treatment backfired and now their hyperpigmentation is darker and larger.

Hyperpigmentation: Understanding How it Affects your Skin Type

Challenge 3: By the time clients who have darker hyperpigmentation come and seek professional help, they may have tried many over the counter products to fade their hyperpigmentation and had little to no results so they want to use more aggressive methods right away.

Helping them understand how inflammation caused by aggressive treatments right away may increase more darker and larger hyperpigmentation OR Hypo pigmentation where this skin condition is irreversible and on darker skin tends to be more noticeable.

***It is also important to note that treating hyperpigmentation for black skin (or darker skin) should emphasize managing hyperpigmentation from coming back by using a consistent products that treat hyperpigmentation by including ingredients that are tyrosinase inhibitors.

Natural Ingredients used for Hyperpigmentation Treatments for Black Skin:

Tyrosinase inhibitors prevent melanin from turning brown; therefore, the existing hyperpigmentation begins to slowly fade over time and prevents new hyper pigmentation from forming.

This has been proven more effective form of hyper pigmentation treatments for black skin than treating hyperpigmentation that resulted from an aggressive form of treatment.

Where now, the melasma or age spot is now larger and darker from inflammation caused by the treatment.

Some natural ingredients include:

Soy (mentioned in the last blog post)

Arbutin (mentioned in the last blog post)



Licorice Root

Lignin Peroxidase

Emblica Extract

Vitamin C

Kojic Acid


N-Acetylglucosamine- a stable derivative of glucosamine. It has shown to inhibit melanin formation. Glucosamine is not as stable as its derivative. It also has a good ability for penetration.

In an 8 week clinical study, 2% NAG (N-acetylglucosamine) reduced the appearance of facial hyperpigmentation.

However, in a second clinical study, when the topical combination of 2% NAG AND 4% Niacinimide was used, the results of the hyperpigmentation was better.

Both of these ingredients are well tolerated for most skin types.

Emblica Extract-


-skin brightener

-effective as a tyrosinase/collagenase inhibitor (enzyme that break down the peptide bonds in collagen.)

Glutathione- low molecular weight thiol-tripeptide that has a major part in maintaining intercellular redox balance.

-antioxidant properties

-the skin lightening effects from an indirect suppression of tyrosinase and going from eumelanin black /brown pigment) to Phaeomelanin (reddish yellow pigment) production.

This is available orally, topically , or can be administered parentally (meaning in other parts of the body other than the mouth or anally).

Glutathione Injections- According to one article, although glutathione injections are popular, there is no evidence of its efficacy.

The article goes on to state that the Food and Drug administration of the Phillipines issued a public warning “condemning its use for off label indications such as skin lightening.”

Currently, the skin lightening effect taken orally and topically has shown some lightening effects and has shown to be safe according to 3 randomized controlled trials.

However, more testing needs to be done to prove the long term effects of this.


These pro tips are based on my professional experience working with a wide range of dark skin types:

  1. If you find yourself avoiding sunscreen because it makes you look ashy, try using make up that has an SPF 30 or higher that is according to you skin color. Image Iconceal has a mineral based make up of SPF 30 that is according to the 6 Fitzpatrick skin types. Mocha is the darkest one. Toffee is recommended for Fitzpatrick 5 -6. Beige is recommended for 4-5

Look for sunscreens that have Iron Oxide . These will typically be in tinted sunscreen and make up using mineral based sunscreen.

2. You still need to exfoliate because this allows for better penetration for the lightening ingredients in serums/creams.Because some skin types are more sensitive to Retin A /Retinol or other leave on AHA based exfoliating products, as an alternative, use an exfoliating product that you rinse off and this will allow you to slowly build a tolerance to acid based products. This will allow for your skin to become acclimated to the lower pH while minimize the risk of inflammation.


3. Consistency- Avoid switching products because you don’t see results right away. Allow at least 30 days or more of consistent use. If you skin starts to become sensitized or develop dermatitus, then lower the frequency but still use it consistently.

***Hyperpigmentation did not form overnight so you cannot expect overnight results.***

4) . Work up to more assertive ingredients such as:

Retin A

-L-Ascorbic Acid

slowly. Try using these in the fall or spring in less harsh environment where you skin may NOT be exposed to sun, heat, cold climate. You also may need to start with a more gentle product and build up tolerance to avoid inflammation.


Make up is an ART


Skin Care is a SCIENCE

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