Your guide to a brightening skin care routine that tackles pigmentation

A+ ingredients and products

Lifestyle Editor, Woman's Day / July 16 2020


According to the experts at Dermalogica, exposing your unprotected skin to the sun is the number one culprit behind hyperpigmentation.

When your skin is repeatedly exposed to the UV rays of the sun, damage occurs in the form of melanin over-production – resulting in brown spots and uneven skin tone.

Make sure each morning before makeup (or even when you’re going fresh-faced) you’re applying a face sunscreen or moisturiser with a Broad Spectrum SPF of 30 or above - like the Dermalogia Solar Defence SPF50 Booster - to prevent new hyperpigmentation spots.

Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster SPF50, $78.50

Salicylic acid

Using an exfoliator containing salicylic acid once a week will help remove any dead skin cells and reveal a brighter, smoother complexion.

"If you have dry, bumpy skin, you may need something which contains both chemical and physical exfoliants," says Dr Sandra Lee aka ‘Dr Pimple Popper’ – celeb dermatologist and founder of SLMD Skincare tells Forbes. "While those who are prone to acne should avoid physical exfoliants as they tend to be more abrasive and could irritate inflamed skin.”

For a chemical exfoliant, try the Paula's Choice Paula's Choice, 25% AHA + 2% Exfoliant Peel 

For a physical exfoliant, try the Alkira Pore Refining Facial Scrub 

Work either into your routine as an extra step after cleansing every second or third day.

Paula's Choice, 25% AHA + 2% BHA Exfoliant Peel $52.00

Alkira Pore Refining Facial Scrub, $14.99


A pure form of vitamin A, retinol has many skin-loving qualities – it firms and reduces unclogs pores and help to even out any redness or hyperpigmentation on the face.

Dermatologists suggest using retinol as part of a wider skin care routine that suits your skin type, including your sunscreen (nope, we won’t let the importance of SPF go!). It's best applied at night as it can cause sun sensitivity.

Try the Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum $195.00

Glycolic acid

This alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) helps to ramp up collagen production and breaks down dead skin cells to reveal even, bright skin underneath.

"It’s incredible for treating acne, fading dark spots and superficial scars, even early fine lines," Dr. Laura Scott, Miami-based dermatologist tells Forbes.

You can visit a dermatologist once a month for a higher-medical grade glycolic acid peel, or DIY using an at-home gentle peel, like the Alpha-H Liquid Gold, once a week.  

Alpha-H Liquid Gold, $59.95

Vitamin C

The tried and true vitamin C!

You’ve probably already heard about this hero ingredient thanks to its epic brightening qualities. The antioxidant properties in vitamin C assist in the skin’s natural regeneration process and production of collagen and elastin – leaving the skin supple and hydrated.

Vitamin C can also help fight hyperpigmentation, as it contains a property that works with your melanin production to help prevent dark spots from forming.

"It's a superior brightening agent that works to fade brown spots without altering normal skin pigmentation," New York City-based dermatologist Howard Sobel tells Allure.

For best results, apply in the morning in the form of a moisturiser or serum, like the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, before following with (you guessed it) SPF.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum from $70

Now you’re equipped with all the brightening and skin evening info – go forth and glow! Just be sure to consult a dermatologist before making changes to your skin care routine.

Main image credit: @shaninamshaik

Once your face is glowing, why not get the rest of your body looking hydrated and lush...

Gabriella is the Lifestyle Editor at Woman's Day magazine. When she's not scrolling through countless beauty websites, lusting over the latest releases and adding far too much to her cart, you'll find her binge watching makeup tutorials on YouTube.