Best Skin Brightening Ingredients To Address Dull Skin & Hyperpigmentation

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Seeking for the best skin brightening ingredients to tackle your dull skin complexion and hyperpigmentation? Then you’ve come to the right page.


It’s well understood that dull skin complexion and hyperpigmentation can be annoying, which can affect one’s self esteem. But the good thing is, there are effective skincare ingredients that can tackle these skin issues while being safe and gentle on the skin and guess what? You can use them for a lifetime (or as long as you want) without being concerned about side effects.

But before we kick right into that, let’s briefly know what could cause dull skin and hyperpigmentation.

What Causes Dull Skin Complexion & Hyperpigmentation?

A lot of factors can contribute to the occurrence of dull skin complexion and hyperpigmentation. Factors like; skin dehydration, free radicals, some certain lifestyle and sun damage (especially if you don’t wear sunscreen).

It’s advised to take precautionary measures to see that these aforementioned factors are addressed to avoid reoccurrence from taking place.

Sit, relax, grab a cup of popcorn, while you go through our list of best skin brightening ingredients to illuminate your skin, thus eradicating dull skin complexion and hyperpigmentation.

1. Tranexamic Acid.

Tranexamic acid has put a smile on many faces, due to its effectiveness in tackling hyperpigmentation and revitalizing dull skin complexion which has made this wonderful skincare ingredient the “holy grail” of many.

Originally, tranexamic acid is a drug, used to treat heavy blood flow, during a women’s menstrual period. It works by slowing the breakdown of blood clots, which helps to prevent prolonged bleeding. It belongs to a class of drugs known as antifibrinolytics.

But along the line, its skin depigmenting potential was discovered. And after being put to the test, this ingredient was able to tackle skin discoloration such as; melasma, dark spots and dull skin. Ever since then, it has been in skincare products in either serum or cream formulation. You can explore our list of the best tranexamic acid serums.

2. Alpha Arbutin.

Alpha arbutin is one of the oldest skin brightening ingredients in the skincare industry to treat hyperpigmentation. You can find it in thousands of skincare products sitting on the shelf. It’s also regarded as a safe alternative ingredient to hydroquinone.

As a skin depigmenting ingredient, this water-soluble skincare ingredient tackles hyperpigmentation, even in a low concentration, as it functions as a tyrosinase inhibitor to provide skin lightening and brightening effects.

Arbutin is naturally derived from the bearberry plant; it’s also found in cranberries, blueberries, wheat, and pears. Read our list of best alpha arbutin serums on the market.

3. Vitamin C.

One of the most favourite skincare ingredients of many. Popularly known as L-ascorbic acid.

Vitamin C as a skincare ingredient has gained itself a good reputation, because of its vast skincare benefits it delivers to the skin.

Vitamin C, works as an antioxidant that reduces damages due to ultraviolet radiation from sun exposure, such as hyperpigmentation, aging, and sunburn.

When applied on the skin, this anti-inflammatory and anti-aging ingredient, fights skin aging signs such as; wrinkles, and fine lines, boosts collagen production and also brightens skin complexion, making it look more toned and brighter. The best way to enjoy the skin benefits of vitamin C is to use a well formulated vitamin C product.

In fact, vitamin C is a must have in every skincare routine. Here’s our list of best vitamin C serums to try out.

4. Kojic Acid.

It will be very unfair if kojic acid didn’t make the list of the best skin brightening ingredients because this ingredient is a staple, especially in Asia.

Kojic acid is a chemical produced from different types of fungi. It is also a by-product of fermented soy sauce and rice wine. It takes a powder form.

This melanin inhibitor can be found in a number of different types of cosmetic products, including serums, creams, cleansers, and soaps. It comes in two forms, kojic acid, and kojic acid dipalmitate (its derivative).

Kojic acid works by inhibiting biochemical processes and enzymes that are involved in producing melanin (dark skin pigment) in the skin. By interrupting the production of melanin (known as melanogenesis) the skin will eventually begin to brighten and appear even. You can explore our list of best kojic acid serums.

5. Azelaic Acid.

A star skincare ingredient and a naturally occurring acid found in grains such as barley, wheat, and rye.

It’s known to possess multiple skin benefits to address various skin issues ranging from, acne and rosacea. Similar to retinolazelaic acid puts a stop to future outbreaks and cleanses bacteria from your pores that causes acne.

It also mildly exfoliates the skin, curtails redness and reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation, all thanks to its richness in anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Here’s my experimental review between The Ordinary & Paula’s Choice Azelaic Acid.

6. Niacinamide.

Niacinamide is also known as nicotinamide, vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid. It’s a water soluble-vitamin and doesn’t dissolve in oil, that’s why you’ll only see niacinamide in oil-free (water-based) moisturizers and serums.

Niacinamide may not be a direct hyperpigmentation-targeting skincare ingredient, but it sure indirectly affects the production of melanin in the skin as it prevents the transfer of melanosome from melanocytes to keratinocytes, thus decreasing the formation of hyperpigmentation from taking effect.

That’s not all, niacinamide being a multifunctional ingredient (just like azelaic acid), it also extends its potentials to reducing excess oil (sebum) production, minimizing enlarged skin pores, reduces redness and blotchiness, gets rid of skin blemishes, helps boost the production of collagen in the skin, while it also increases the production of elastin and skin proteins. Niacinamide is mostly found in serums, toners and moisturizers. You can explore our list of best niacinamide serums on the market.

In Conclusion.

Dull and discoloured skin complexion is one of the skin issues that affects millions of individuals all over the world, but thank goodness there are skincare ingredients that will effectively address it which can also be used long-term without concerns of health side effects, and these skincare ingredients has been aforementioned in this article. All you have to do is choose any one of your preference, seek the advice of your dermatologist, and you’re good to go.

Also while using any product containing these skin brightening ingredients, endeavour to always wear your sunscreen daily, to protect your skin against sun exposure and also prevent treated hyperpigmentation or discoloration from reoccurring. Also don’t forget to perform a patch test first prior to commencing full product application to test for allergies.

UP NEXT: Can I Use Vitamin C & Niacinamide Together? – Here’s What To Know.


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