If you deal with hyperpigmentation, dark spots, or uneven skin tone, then you know how frustrating it can be to find an effective over-the-counter skincare treatment. Luckily, The Inkey List has several products that can help brighten the skin while combating hyperpigmentation. So today we’ll look at the best The Inkey List products for hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
This list of The Inkey List products for hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone will work to break up pigmented patchy skin and even out skin tone. Some of these products also offer additional benefits like targeting oily skin and/or have anti-aging benefits.
When it comes to treating hyperpigmentation and related skin concerns, your best bet may be to use multiple over-the-counter products to target these skin issues. The Inkey List products are extremely affordable so you can purchase multiple The Inkey List products at a very reasonable price.
For more on The Inkey List products, be sure to check out my The Inkey List review.
This post contains affiliate links, and any purchases made through these links will result in a commission for me at no extra cost to you. Please read my Disclosure for additional information.
The Best The Inkey List Products for Hyperpigmentation and Dark Spots
While some skincare actives for hyperpigmentation can be mixed without any contraindications, others should not be mixed together, as they may cause a skin reaction, irritation, or decrease product effectiveness. I’ve included sample The Inkey List routines at the end of the post for both a morning routine and an evening routine for hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
NOTE: Certain actives like retinol, vitamin C, alpha hydroxy acids, and beta hydroxy acids make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so be sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher while using these products and for seven days after.
TIP: When dealing with hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and sun spots, your best bet is prevention, so wearing sunscreen every single day is your best bet to avoid hyperpigmentation in the first place.
The Inkey List Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser is a newer offering from The Inkey List that contains 0.5% Nordic Peat. Nordic Peat is rich in fulvic acid, an organic acid that is the result of plant decomposition. If you’ve never heard of fulvic acid, you are not alone. I did some research and learned that fulvic acid is found in the humus of soil. It’s water-soluble and has multiple benefits for the skin.
Fulvic acid is an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and has astringent properties. It gently exfoliates the skin. This brightening cleanser also contains 1.5% Kakadu Plum Extract that contains 50X more times vitamin C than an orange. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant known for its brightening properties. It also helps to protect skin against damaging free radicals caused by UV exposure and other environmental stressors.
Licorice Root extract is included at 1%. It is an antioxidant and natural brightener that disperses melanin and inhibits melanin production. Melanin is the pigment that gives our skin its color. For added soothing benefits, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera) is included at 0.5%.
You can actually see the small pieces of Nordic Peat in this clear gel foaming cleanser. It’s non-irritating, fragrance-free, and gentle on the skin. The Inkey List notes that while it’s good for all skin types, this cleanser can even be used on sensitive skin. It’s perfect for those with dull and uneven skin tone and can be used twice a day in both your morning and evening skincare routines.
The Inkey List BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids)
Beta hydroxy acids, i.e. salicylic acid, are oil-soluble acids. This means that they go deep into pores to clear out dirt, sebum (oil), and other impurities that can clog pores that lead to breakouts and acne.
NOTE: Beta hydroxy acids tend to be a better choice for those with darker skin tones, as alpha hydroxy acid overuse may result in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation for those with darker skin tones. The last thing you want is to make your hyperpigmentation worse, so using a BHA may be a good choice if you have a darker skin tone.
The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser contains 2% salicylic acid to deep clean and unclog pores, plus a zinc compound (Zinc PCA) to reduce excess oil. It combats breakouts and blackheads and supports an even skin tone while cleansing the skin to remove dirt, makeup, and oil.
Salicylic acid can help reduce post-acne hyperpigmentation thanks to its anti-inflammatory and whitening effects.
This foaming cleanser also contains 0.5% allantoin to soothe irritated skin. It cleanses without stripping or drying the skin and can be used both morning and evening. If you have oily or acne prone skin and want to improve post-acne marks, this cleanser is a great choice.
Related Post: The Best The Inkey List Products for Acne and Oily Skin
The Inkey List Beta Hydroxy Acid contains 2% salicylic acid which can help with post-acne hyperpigmentation. Salicylic acid is oil-soluble and travels deep into pores to remove excess sebum, combat blackheads, and breakouts, and reduce the look of enlarged pores.
This serum also contains 1% sodium hyaluronate (the salt form of hyaluronic acid) to hydrate the skin and offset any potential dryness. This BHA serum has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties making it ideal for those with oily and acne prone skin. While a drop or two can be used on the face and neck after cleansing in the morning or evening, you can also use it as a targeted treatment for specific acne-prone areas.
Related Post: AHA vs BHA Skincare Exfoliants: What is the Difference?
The Inkey List AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) work on the surface of the skin to lift away dead skin cells and improving cell turnover to reveal a brighter more even skin tone and improved skin texture. These chemical exfoliants vary in strength depending on the acid and the concentration. Those with sensitive skin should look for a gentle AHA with lower concentrations.
The Inkey List Glycolic Acid Toner contains 10% glycolic acid to help reduce blackheads, the look of pores and fine lines. It also contains 5% witch hazel to help reduce excess oil.
Derived from sugarcane, glycolic acid has the smallest molecule size of all alpha hydroxy acids. This means that it can reach deeper into the skin to clear away dead skin cells for improved skin texture and brightness.
This glycolic acid toner is recommended for those with oily, congested, or acne-prone skin. Glycolic acid may irritate those with sensitive skin, so if you are sensitive you are better off choosing a gentler acid like lactic acid, mandelic acid, or another AHA for sensitive skin (see additional options below).
The Inkey List Lactic Acid Serum is formulated with 10% lactic acid to loosen the bonds between skin cells. The result? Brighter and smoother skin. This lactic acid serum gently exfoliates while hydrating the skin, thanks to the inclusion of 1% sodium hyaluronate which is the salt form of hyaluronic acid.
Ideal for those with dry or more sensitive skin, The Inkey List Lactic Acid gently helps break up hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone while smoothing, softening, and moisturizing the skin. This is a great alternative if your skin can’t tolerate glycolic acid.
The Inkey List Apple Cider Vinegar Acid Peel is formulated to give you a glow in just 10 minutes. It contains 10% glycolic acid to improve cell turnover and brighten uneven and blotchy skin tone, plus a 5% multi-fruit acid blend.
Apple Cider Vinegar at 2% contains acetic acid to combat bacteria which can lead to breakouts. It also contains citric, lactic, and succinic acids for a more even-looking skin tone. This is a potent and effective peel that reduces the look of dark spots, pores, post-acne marks, redness, and blemishes.
This treatment should be used only once a week. If your skin can tolerate it, you can use it twice a week, but be sure not to overdo it. This is a rinse-off treatment and should only be left on for 10 minutes. It can be used on other acne-prone areas as well, such as your neck and chest.
The Inkey List AHAs For Sensitive Skin
For sensitive skin, The Inkey List has a few alpha hydroxy acid products to help with hyperpigmentation. While these aren’t the strongest products to address dark spots and discoloration, they are an option if you can’t tolerate lactic or glycolic acid:
The Inkey List PHA Toner contains 3% polyhydroxy acid, also known as gluconolactone, that exfoliates, moisturizes, and protects the skin barrier with less irritation than AHAs. This toner also contains 3% niacinamide that has brightening and oil balancing properties and helps to improve uneven skin tone. Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera) moisturizes and soothes the skin.
The Inkey List Alpha Hydroxy Acid contains 10% fruit extracts and 1% sodium hyaluronate to gently exfoliate and hydrate the skin. Sugar Cane, Orange, Lemon and Sugar Maple Extracts gently slough away dead skin cells while sodium hyaluronate hydrates and moisturizes the skin.
The Inkey List Serums for Hyperpigmentation and Dark Spots
The Inkey List 10% Niacinamide Serum contains 10% niacinamide to brighten the skin while protecting the skin barrier and combating the visible signs of aging. Niacinamide speeds up cell turnover helping to reduce hyperpigmentation, age spots, and uneven skin tone.
Niacinamide, or vitamin B3, is the ideal ingredient for those with oily or acne prone skin, as it can control sebum production, and reduce excess oil, breakouts and blemishes. It’s anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce redness.
The serum also contains 1% hyaluronic acid, a sugar molecule that occurs naturally in our skin that hydrates and helps skin retain water. Squalane is another lightweight moisturizing agent that helps to prevent transepidermal water loss. This is an all-around excellent anti-aging and brightening serum.
The Inkey List 15% Vitamin C + EGF Serum is formulated to brighten skin with 15% ascorbyl glucoside, a vitamin C derivative and 1% Epitensive, a plant-derived Epidermal Growth Factor. With continued use, skin will be brighter and skin tone will be more even.
Ascorbyl glucoside is a stable vitamin C derivative. It penetrates the skin well and is converted into pure vitamin C. Ascorbyl glucoside offers similar benefits as pure vitamin C: it provides antioxidant benefits, stimulates collagen production, and helps to decrease hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
Epitensive is a plant-derived Epidermal Growth Factor system that contains a protein involved in cellular regeneration and supports elastin and collagen production.
This serum is a great choice for daily use, as it not only targets hyperpigmentation but also combats the visible signs of aging with ascorbyl glucoside’s antioxidant, collagen-promoting, and wrinkle-fighting properties. Another benefit of this serum is that it can be combined with other actives like niacinamide to brighten the skin.
The Inkey List Alpha Arbutin contains 2% alpha arbutin, a compound derived from the bearberry and other plants. Alpha arbutin, often called “natural hydroquinone”, competitively inhibits tyrosinase activity. Tyrosinase is an enzyme involved in melanin (pigment) production.
This serum helps to fade hyperpigmentation and dark spots and improve skin tone. It also contains 0.5% squalane for hydration and moisture. It can be used morning and evening and has a lightweight texture that absorbs easily into the skin.
The nice thing about alpha arbutin is that it can be combined with other actives to brighten the skin. Plus it doesn’t make your skin sensitive to the sun like some actives.
Related Post: The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin Review
The Inkey List Retinol is a multi-benefit serum that targets the signs of aging and improves collagen synthesis. Because retinol increases cell turnover, it can also decrease the look of hyperpigmentation and dark spots. The serum contains 1% RetiStar Stabilized Retinol to reduce the look of fine lines, wrinkles, and dullness. Per the manufacturer, can also help with age spots and elasticity.
The serum also contains 0.5% Granactive Retinoid, a next-generation retinoid to target the visible signs of aging without the irritation that comes along with retinol. Squalane and hyaluronic acid offer hydration and moisture.
For more on this retinol serum, please see my The Inkey List Retinol review.
If you are looking for a retinol alternative at under $10, The Inkey List Bakuchiol Moisturizer (see my review here) is an affordable option. Bakuchiol has been shown to be comparable to retinol and can reduce wrinkles and hyperpigmentation without the typical side effects of retinol.
For dullness and discoloration around the eye area, The Inkey List Brighten-i Eye Cream is formulated to brighten both instantly and over time with continued use. It contains 2% Brightenyl, which per the manufacturer, blocks the melanogenesis process (the formation of melanin). It helps to reduce pigmented spots and is anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce the look of redness.
The eye cream also contains a 1% Mica Mineral blend to instantly illuminate the under-eye area, plus 5% Grant-XT helps to blur the look of fine lines. Portulaca Oleracea Extract and Centella Asiatica Extract soothe the skin and offer antioxidant protection while Panax Ginseng Root Extract improves circulation.
Apply the eye cream with the cooling metal applicator that is a savior for tired eyes. This is a great choice for mornings when you may experience puffiness and redness.
Kakadu Plum Extract at 2% boosts this moisturizer’s brightening power, as it contains 50x more vitamin C than an orange. Vitamin C inhibits tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in the production of the pigment (melanin) that gives our skin its color. 1% Red Algae Complex is rich in minerals and hydrates and moisturizes the skin plus has anti-aging benefits.
This moisturizer hydrates well and dries to a matte finish (so don’t expect an immediate brightening effect or a dewy finish). It’s lightweight and although it can be used twice a day, it’s especially good for use during the day under makeup.
The Inkey List Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment contains multiple actives to target hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. It is formulated with 2% tranexamic acid, 2% acai berry extract, and a 2% vitamin c derivative.
Tranexamic acid slows down melanin synthesis by blocking pigment transfer and inhibits tyrosinase activity. Tranexamic acid can even help those with melasma. This study found that a 5% solution of tranexamic acid was just as effective as a 3% hydroquinone cream with higher levels of patient satisfaction.
Ascorbyl glucoside is a stable and effective vitamin C derivative that helps to fade hyperpigmentation, stimulates collagen production, and has antioxidant protection just like ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C).
This overnight treatment replaces your normal moisturizer. Cleanse, tone, apply your preferred serums, and then use this treatment as the last step in your evening skincare routine. The Inkey List notes that it can take up to six weeks to see results.
Sample Morning The Inkey List Routine for Hyperpigmentation and Dark Spots
- The Inkey List Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser (OR The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser for oily/acne-prone and non-sensitive skin)
- The Inkey List 15% Vitamin C + EGF Serum
- The Inkey List 10% Niacinamide Serum
- Optional: The Inkey List Alpha Arbutin
- The Inkey List Brighten-i Eye Cream
- The Inkey List Symbright Moisturizer
- Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher)
Sample Evening The Inkey List Routine for Hyperpigmentation and Dark Spots
- The Inkey List Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser ( OR The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser for oily/acne-prone and non-sensitive skin)
- The Inkey List Glycolic Acid Toner OR The Inkey List Lactic Acid
- The Inkey List 10% Niacinamide Serum
- Alternate Nights: The Inkey List Retinol (use on nights that you don’t use The Inkey List Glycolic Acid Toner OR The Inkey List Lactic Acid)
- The Inkey List Brighten-i Eye Cream
- The Inkey List Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment (use in place of regular moisturizer)
Final Thoughts on The Inkey List for Hyperpigmentation
Whether you choose just a single The Inkey List product or an entire skincare routine from The Inkey List, you have several options for combating pesky dark spots, sun spots, uneven skin tone, and other pigmentation issues. And don’t forget that prevention is key, so be sure to wear sunscreen every day!
Finally, it is very important to have patience. You probably won’t see immediate results after using these The Inkey List products for hyperpigmentation, but you should see brighter skin and a more even complexion with consistent use. If you use multi-benefit actives that also target the visible signs of aging, you should also see smoother more youthful-looking skin and improved skin texture.
Thanks for reading, and until next time…