18 Best Vitamin C Serums for Hyperpigmentation 2019 (Ultimate Guide)

Updated 7 months ago

Let’s face it; skin care can be a tricky thing to master. Deciding what your skin needs more or less of can be a dizzying task. So what can you do to say “goodbye” to dark spots and hyperpigmentation forever? Daily application of Vitamin C can reduce the look of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. We dug into some different products to “C” what kind of vitamin C remedies highly rated for hyper-pigmented skin.

Top Rated Vitamin C Products for Hyperpigmentation

Here, we’ve collected some of the highest rated vitamin C serums for hyperpigmentation, available for every skin-care routine and budget. 

TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum for Face

If you like natural and organic products, TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum is designed to take care of the most sensitive skin. It can help lighten age spots and acne scars, plus prevent new acne outbreaks and shrink pores. The serum is cruelty-free, and composed of 98% natural, and 72% organic ingredients. There are no petroleum derivatives, no sulfates, no parabens, no phthalates, no GMOs, plus it’s pH balanced to protect skin.

Foxbrim’s Advanced Formula Vitamin C Facial Serum

Foxbrim’s Advanced Formula Vitamin C Facial Serum uses a 20% solution of Vitamin C plus hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, an amino complex, witch hazel, and jojoba oil to make sunspots disappear and even out skin tone. They recommend applying it day and night for best results.

The serum is vegan and cruelty-free.

M3 Naturals Hyaluronic Acid Serum with Vitamin C for Face & Eyes

Another top rated product, this vitamin C serum by M3 Naturals is supposed to help with hyperpigmentation, with the added bonus of acne control as well.

Promising Review: “After 1 bottle, I found spot/discoloration fade (for darker spots) & completely go away for the lighter spots as well as smooth out rougher texture of skin around my chin/mouth area. I had areas of irritated/dry/inflamed skin (corners of mouth) that would never respond to humectants & this serum calmed and smoothed this skin.”

Mad Hippie Skin Care Products - Vitamin C Serum

This all natural, vegan, cruelty-free, serum promises to erase blemishes and dark spots, all while being environmentally friendly!

Promising Review: “This Mad Hippie brand is perfect for me. I've noticed a significant brightness in my skin (including under my eyes which were a bit dark) that is lasting where before using this, any dullness would come and go. Mad Hippie is cruelty free and a more stable version of vitamin c. Directions say to use day and night and that the 1oz is a 30day supply however, I used for 3 weeks, twice a day, before changing to once a week (because I started to implement other products into my routine) and see that the supply is a minimum of two months. So, a decent value. I'm very happy with my purchase, will purchase again.”

TruSkin Vitamin C-Plus Super Serum

TruSkin Vitamin C serum claims to be “potent and great for all skin types” and a hint of a pink grapefruit scent adds to the joy of using this product.

Promising Review: “My face never gets greasy and my makeup stays intact. I can't remember the last time I had a blemish and my dark spots and fine lines are non existent. This stuff is miraculous and I will NEVER use anything else. Seriously...buy it all.”

Murad Advanced Active Radiance Serum

Murad is a brand often recommended by dermatologists. This Advanced Active Radiance Serum contains a variety of ingredients that brighten skin tone, like glycolic acid, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, plus herbal extracts like tea seed oil (rich in antioxidants), and myrtle, a natural source of salicylic acid. Like the Lumene serum, this formula doesn’t contain many of the common skin irritants found in many skin care products.

Super Vitamin C Serum for Face by New York Biology

This vitamin C serum for hyperpigmentation has a high rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars and lots of promising reviews.

Promising Review: “This stuff is amazing! I was searching for a vitamin c serum to lighten up my sun spots on my cheeks and after reading reviews on this one, I decided to go with it and I’m so glad I did! It’s noticeably lightened my spots almost to the point where they are hardly there. My skin is so soft and my complexion has evened out beautifully! I will continue to buy this, such great stuff!”

Nectar of the C

We are really excited about this new, all-natural, vegan and affordable brand "Fleur & Bee". This serum is light in consistency and won't leave a sticky film on top of your skin. Vitamin C, Aloe Vera, Jojoba Oil, and Vitamin C are high up in the ingredient list so your skin will feel hydrated and refreshed. And since the ingredients are all natural, you can feel safe making this part of your daily skincare routine.

Admire My Skin 2% Hydroquinone Dark Spot Corrector & Melasma Treatment

Admire My Skin has the maximum concentration of the whitener hydroquinone allowed in an over-the-counter product. It’s so strong that the manufacturer promises you’ll see results in 4 weeks if you apply it every night.

Besides the high level of hydroquinone, the Dark Spot Corrector also has Vitamin C, Salicylic Acid, Azelaic Acid, and Lactic Acid. Admire My Skin warns that some people with sensitive skin may experience a “slight burning sensation,” so it’s best to begin treatments by applying it every third day until they become accustomed.

QQcute Vitamin C Serum - Face and Eye Treatment Serum

With one of the highest average customer ratings on Amazon, this vitamin C and hyaluronic acid serum from QQCute is organic, has no odor, and doesn’t leave a film behind on your skin. A little goes a long way and leaves skin soft.

Promising Review: “I really like this product! I have a combination skin and I often have acne or pimples and some stains. After I started using this product, I get way less pimples and even when I get one I just put a small amount of this product on it. So overall it gives my skin better radiant color and skin is softer and silkier on touch. I have time to use it without moisturizing it sometimes with it. It also helped me to get rid of post-acne stains which is incredible.”

Vitamin C Serum for Face by Fiery Youth

On the less expensive end of our spectrum, the vitamin C serum from Firey Youth comes highly rated and raved about!

Promising Review: “Been using this vit c serum for a few months now for dark spots on my face.ive notice that it is fading my spots.My complexion seems more radiant too.Very please,would recommend this product and would buy it again.

Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C Dry Skin Cocktail

Lumene’s Bright Now Vitamin C Dry Skin Cocktail uses the power of Arctic Cloudberry to protect and enrich skin. This amazing fruit has more Vitamin C than an orange does. Its seed oil helps erase fine lines and age spots, as well as soften skin. Lumene’s formula has no parabens, synthetic dyes, formaldehyde, or mineral oil to irritate sensitive skin.

Vitamin C Serum by BREYLEE

This vitamin C serum boasts that 79% of users said their skin felt more compact and resilient after using it. It goes on like a gel but quickly absorbs and doesn’t leave a sticky residue on the skin.

Promising Review: “Very happy with this vitamin c serum. It is very easy to apply and spread on the face. My skin felt amazing the next day and after a few uses the scars are lightening. I would recommend to anyone.”

MD Complete Dark Spot Corrector plus Bonus Retinol Vitamin C Booster by Dr. Brian Zelickson

MD Complete’s Dark Spot Corrector comes with a bottle of Retinol Vitamin C Booster because the two formulas work together to even skin tone, fade dark spots, and erase fine lines and wrinkles. The corrector has 2% hydroquinone plus Vitamins B and E, niacinamide, black raspberry, and pomegranate fruit seed extracts. The Retinol Vitamin C Booster speeds up skin regeneration. It also contains Vitamin E and niacinamide plus macronutrients. Since retinol makes skin sensitive to sunlight, wear a sunscreen during the daytime outdoors.

Advanced Clinicals Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Cream

Advanced Clinicals Brightening Cream is made with Vitamin C, ferulic acid, aloe vera, coconut oil, tea leaf extract, glycerin, and Vitamin E. Not only does it fade freckles and sun-damaged spots, it hydrates skin to make it look younger and feel softer. You can apply it on your body as well as your face. Just be aware that it contains mineral oil as well as a fragrance, and those are not the best ingredients for persons with sensitive or oily skin to use on their faces. The formula has no parabens and is cruelty-free.

Porcelain 20% Vitamin C + E with Advanced Peptides (Matrixyl 3000 & Argireline), Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), DMAE and Hyaluronic Acid

When you’re shopping for Vitamin C serums, the gold standard is a 20% concentration. That’s what the Porcelain formula contains. But that’s not all the ingredients label reveals. It also has hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin, anti-aging peptides Matrixyl 3000 and Argireline, plus Alpha Lipoic Acid, a powerful antioxidant. Porcelain says if you’re not satisfied within 45 days, they offer a 100% money-back guarantee.

InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Toner Spray

With 901 five out of five star reviews, this facial mist is made to be sprayed, which may be the way you would rather use your vitamin C. Spritz it on yourself morning or night and watch the dark spots fade away.

Promising Review: “I coach tennis so I’m outside all the time. I use sunscreen religiously, but because I wear hats or visors my upper lip gets the brunt of all the sun damage on my face. Because of this, I basically have a mustache tan that is far from attractive. However, this toner has helped a ton! My upper lip is at least a few shades lighter and I’ve only been using it for about two and a half weeks. It smells great absorbs quickly, too.”

InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer

One of the only true moisturizers on the list, the InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer promises a beautiful and even tone, as well as anti-aging and anti-inflammatory aspects characteristic of vitamin C.

Promising Review: “I've been using it daily for about 6 months now and have noticed a huge difference in my overall complexion. Dark spots began to disappear within a week or two and my sort of acne prone skin hasn't seen a notable pimple yet. I HIGHLY recommend this product.”

Vitamin C To The Rescue!

If you already have hyperpigmentation on your skin or maybe if you’re hoping to help prevent it, vitamin C can help relieve the effects of hyperpigmentation.

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that dissolves in water and is found naturally in some foods, like veggies and citrus fruits. Humans can’t make their own vitamin C, so it is an important to incorporate into your life through diet or supplements.

Vitamin C gently exfoliates dead, dry skin, calms inflammation, and speeds up healing. The removal of old skin and the growth of new skin fades discolorations. Vitamin C also stimulates skin to make collagen so your face looks firmer with fewer wrinkles and defends against UV rays by thickening the epidermis, the top layer of skin.

Tips For Choosing The Right Vitamin C For Your Skin

  • Use a Serum: Although vitamin C is available in supplements and also in many different foods, taking vitamin C orally has shown little to no impact on dark marks and hyperpigmentation. Your best bet is to get a vitamin C serum that rubs directly on the spot you want to treat.
  • Look At The Label: When choosing a dark spot remover, it’s important to know the difference between products that poison and kill the melanin producers in your skin and products that just interrupt the making of melanin. Vitamin C falls into the latter of the two categories and just interrupts the melanin being made so it’s safe to use at home.
  • Check For Allergies: Vitamin C on it’s own is unstable so it is often combined with other substances to make it safe to use. Some of these substances can include licorice and soy, which are also natural aids in depigmenting skin. Before you buy any type of vitamin C to relive hyperpigmentation, you should read the label to make sure it doesn’t contain anything you may be allergic to.

Tips For Applying Vitamin C

  • Make Your Morning Bright: It can be best to apply vitamin C in the morning so that it works on your hyperpigmented areas all day. Bonus; some vitamin C serums have all-important sun protectants in them so you can go outside with confidence and your hyperpigmentation won’t worsen. Just rub the serum on the area you need it and you’re good to go!
  • Or Tell Dark Spots “Good-Night!”: Applying your vitamin C regimen at night can also be beneficial, it just depends on your skin care routine. If you do a face mask before bed, pick one with vitamin C to help even your skin tone. You might want to put on a vitamin C serum after you get out of the shower so that it can work all night long and be a refreshing end to your day.

What is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is a type of darkening of the skin that is caused by an excess of melanin deposits in the skin. Hyperpigmentation can impact people of all races and is not specific to a certain skin type (i.e. oily vs. dry). A tan from the beach gives you a nice, all-over glow, but hyperpigmentation is different, usually only appearing in small spots on the skin. It can be noticeable because the small patch can be much darker than the surrounding skin. Hyperpigmentation is typically harmless but if you notice drastic changes in the tone, texture, or size of the hyperpigmented spot, you should consult a physician right away to make sure it’s not something more serious.

Causes of Hyperpigmentation

There are several causes of hyperpigmentation, some are caused by age or over-exposure to the sun, while some are caused by other outside factors. These causes include but are not limited to:

  • Sun exposure: Overexposure to the sun without sunscreen can cause hyperpigmentation. A damaging sunburn or just regular time outdoors can represent the span of sun exposure that can cause hyperpigmentation
  • Age: Both old and young are susceptible to hyperpigmentation. It can appear in the form of age, or liver, spots, as well as freckles. Even if one is born with these dark spots, they can gradually darken over time and create unevenness in skin tone.
  • Acne or other skin diseases: Acne in those troubled teenage years can follow you into adulthood by becoming dark spots on your complexion.
  • Injuries to the skin: scars from injuries or surgeries can become hyperpigmented overtime.
  • Pregnancy or Birth Control: Women who are pregnant or taking birth control can see the development of melasma, or darker spots, on the forehead, face, and stomach.
  • Medications: Certain medicines can cause hyperpigmentation. Make sure to check with your physician if you have concerns.
  • Genetics: Some of the conditions listed above and others that can cause hyperpigmentation can be attributed to genetics. Freckles and birthmarks are types of hyperpigmentation that sometimes you just have.

What should I do to prevent hyperpigmentation?

While harmless, hyper-pigmented skin can be embarrassing to some people because of the unevenness of the skin’s tone. There are a few things you can do to prevent hyperpigmentation from happening in the first place. Experts have varying opinions.  Here are some of their explanations.

  • Wear Adequate Sun Protection: If you’re going to be spending any time outdoors, make sure to put on sunscreen, wear a hat, or even clothing that has SPF 30 or higher.
  • Don’t Pick At It!: After a surgery or injury, it can be so tempting to pick at the wound but messing with the skin around it can cause hyperpigmentation to form, resulting in a dark scar around the area of injury.
  • Red light therapy: Can work wonders healing skin from injury because it has anti-aging properties
  • Home remedies: Rubbing lemon juice (packed with Vitamin C!), aloe vera, or cucumber slices on dark spots are tried home remedies. But they may take a long time to make a difference since they aren’t concentrated in any way.
  • Over-the-counter treatments: like serums with Vitamin C, Kojic acid, Hydroquinone, Azelaic acid, and Mandelic acid are concentrated to work faster than home remedies.

Labels of skin-lightening Vitamin C serums may list other ingredients like Vitamin A, Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Vitamin E, and niacinamide. What do all these things do?

  • Hydroquinone whitens, or bleaches, skin cells and prevents melanin, or skin pigment, from forming. A serum with a 2% solution of hydroquinone may take 2 to 3 months to fade a dark spot.
  • Alpha hydroxy acids exfoliate dead skin and help new skin to grow, to fade freckles and other skin discolorations. These acids are often identified as “lactic acid” or “glycolic acid.”
  • Vitamin A in the form of retinol and tretinoin helps reverse skin discoloration and wrinkles, but it can make your skin sensitive to burning in sunlight if you use it in the daytime.
  • Antioxidants like Vitamin C, E, and niacinamide help even out skin color and reverse the damage that the sun does to your skin.

Conclusion

Hyperpigmentation impacts so many people in different ways. Dark spots show no prejudice and can impact us all. Fortunately, there are simple ways to prevent dark spots and hyperpigmentation and proven treatments to lessen them if we already have them! We could all use a little more vitamin C in our diets (I know I could stand to eat a few more veggies), but it’s also great to know that no matter your skin problems or skin type, there’s a vitamin C treatment out there to help you balance your tone and complexion, all while balancing your budget.

Other Vitamin C articles:

Best Vitamin C for Oily Skin

Best Vitamin C for Sensitive Skin

Best Vitamin C for Acne-Prone Skin