If you’re looking to fade hyperpigmentation, you’ll want to make sure you are using the right moisturizer. Below, you’ll find our recommendations for the best moisturizers for hyperpigmentation.
Do Moisturizers Help with Hyperpigmentation?
Typically, moisturizers don’t directly target hyperpigmentation, but they’re still very much needed. In order to achieve the healthiest and most even complexion, your skin needs to be hydrated, so a moisturizer absolutely is essential.
That said, most moisturizers don’t contain ingredients that specifically work towards fading hyperpigmentation. Even if they do contain ingredients known to promote a more even skin tone – such as vitamin C, retinol, niacinamide, or alpha hydroxy acids – they often don’t contain a super high concentration. However, moisturizers with these ingredients can make a difference – but you’ll likely see more drastic results with serums or treatments. Many of the recommendations you find below do contain helpful ingredients, but just know that you’ll likely get the quickest and best results by also adding targeted serums to your routine.
1. Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream
Neutrogena Moisturizer for Moisturization and Anti-Aging
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream
This cream moisturizer combines the power of retinol and hyaluronic acid to fight the signs of aging while also plumping and moisturizing the skin.
This anti-aging moisturizer is a great way to add retinol to your routine, as the addition of moisturizing ingredients may help mitigate some of the irritation often associated with retinol. The cream contains retinol SA, which works to smooth lines and even skin tone. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which pulls moisture to the skin for healthy hydration levels.
- May cause irritation
In addition to the hydrating benefits, hyaluronic acid has been shown to help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which makes this drugstore moisturizer even more effective for anti-aging. Even though the hydrating ingredients may mitigate the irritating effects of retinol, if you’re new to this skincare ingredient or have sensitive skin, you may want to start by using this cream every other day or every two days to see how your skin reacts.
Water, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Glycerin, Dimethicone, PPG 15 Stearyl Ether, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Behenate, Ceteareth 20, Isohexadecane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polyethylene, Sodium Polyacrylate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Crosspolymer, Polyacrylamide, PTFE, C13-14 Isoparaf n, Chlorphenesin, Polysorbate 20, Hydrolyzed Myrtus Communis Leaf Extract, Retinol, BHT, Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Laureth-7, Ascorbic Acid
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: An overview of clinical efficacy and safety"Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging"Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
2. Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer
Paula's Choice Moisturizer for Daily Moisturization
Paula’s Choice Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer
This moisturizer is perfect for those with acne-prone skin, because it is lightweight, non-greasy, oil-free, and doesn’t clog pores or lead to more breakouts.
It can be difficult for those with acne-prone skin to find a suitable moisturizer, but this option delivers hydration without contributing to breakouts. It also contains ingredients that soothe the skin, helping to eliminate any irritation.
- No SPF for daytime use
This moisturizer contains niacinamide, which helps to minimize pores, eliminate redness, and even skin tone. It also contains antioxidants that soothe the skin, and ceramides that strengthen the skin’s surface.
Water (Aqua), Ethyl Macadamiate (hydration), Glycerin (skin-replenishing), Cetearyl Alcohol (texture enhancer), Propanediol (hydration), Triethylhexanoin (skin-smoothing), Sodium Acrylates Copolymer (texture enhancer), Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate (thickeners), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (skin- soothing), Hydrolyzed Pumpkin Seedcake (skin-replenishing), Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Fruit Extract (skin-soothing/antioxidant), Niacinamide (skin-restoring),Tripeptide-29 (skin-restoring), Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, Ceramide EOP (skin-replenishing), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin-replenishing/hydration), Phytosphingosine (skin-restoring), Cholesterol (skin-replenishing), Panthenol (hydration), Sodium PCA (skin-replenishing), Adenosine (skin-restoring), Lecithin (skin-restoring/hydration), Arginine (amino acid/hydration), Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate (emulsifier) Sodium Gluconate (hydration/chelation), Citric Acid (pH adjuster), Isohexadecane (solvent/texture enhancer), Xanthan Gum, Carbomer (thickeners), Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin (preservatives)
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Topical niacinamide reduces yellowing, wrinkling, red blotchiness, and hyperpigmented spots in aging facial skin"Accessed Aug. 2, 2021.
3. Redermic R Retinol Cream
La Roche-Posay Moisturizer for Anti-Aging and Moisturization
La Roche-Posay Redermic R Retinol Cream
This cream combines retinol and lipo-hydroxy acid with moisturizing ingredients. These ingredients help even skin tone and texture and provide anti-aging benefits while keeping the skin moisturized.
This moisturizer contains retinol, an incredibly effective skincare ingredient that diminishes fine lines and wrinkles while also tackling sun spots and hyperpigmentation. It also contains lipo-hydroxy acid, which exfoliates, smoothes, and brightens. Sodium hyaluronate, glycerin, and other ingredients help soothe and moisturize the skin, which is excellent for also cutting down on irritation. This makes this cream a great choice for someone who is new to using retinol.
- Dermatologist tested
- Contains fragrance
Since this cream already contains retinol, you should not layer it on top of products with other potentially irritating ingredients (like another retinol serum or exfoliating serum).
Aqua / Water, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Glycerin, Octyldodecanol, Propylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycine Soja Oil / Soybean Oil, Triethanolamine, Isohexadecane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Retinol, Retinyl Linoleate, Adenosine, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 80, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum / Fragrance.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "The Use of Lipohydroxy Acid in Skin Care and Acne Treatment"Accessed Aug. 20, 2021.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: An overview of clinical efficacy and safety"Accessed Aug. 20, 2021.
4. Resist Intensive Repair Cream
Paula's Choice Moisturizer for Intense Moisturization and Anti-Aging Benefits
Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Repair Cream
This ultra-rich face cream contains a concentrated blend of ingredients that restore, deeply hydrate, and fight the signs of aging, including a low concentration of retinol.
This face cream contains a low concentration of retinol (0.01%), a skincare ingredient that is considered the gold-standard for fighting signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps even skin tone and smooth texture, minimizing hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and acne scars. While the concentration is not super high, it is great for people who want to gently work retinol into their routine, but are worried about irritation from higher concentration treatments.
- Intensely moisturizing
- Some reviewers note it has a greasy texture
In addition to the retinol, this cream contains hyaluronic acid, which locks in moisture and plumps the skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines. It also contains a blend of antioxidants that fight environmental aggressors to protect the skin.
Water (Aqua), Ethylhexyl Stearate (texture-enhancing), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Dipentaerythrityl Hexacaprylate/Hexacaprate, Glyceryl Stearate, Tridecyl Trimellitate, PEG-100 Stearate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Retinol, Adenosine, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Ceramide NG, Sodium Hyaluronate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Niacinamide, Tocopherol, Lecithin, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Tribehenin, PEG-10 Phytosterol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Pullulan, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Tridecyl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Sclerotium Gum, Carbomer, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Polysorbate 20, Disodium EDTA, Sorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Benzoic Acid
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: An overview of clinical efficacy and safety"Accessed Aug. 2, 2021.
ResearchGate. "Hyaluronic Acid, a Promising Skin Rejuvenating Biomedicine: A Review of Recent Updates and Pre-clinical and Clinical Investigations on Cosmetic and Nutricosmetic Effects"Accessed Aug. 2, 2021.
What is the best night moisturizer for hyperpigmentation?
Since retinol increases your skin’s sensitivity to UV rays – and since the sun can decrease the efficacy of retinol – you might want to use a retinol moisturizer at night. Try the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream, the La Roche-Posay Redermic R Retinol Cream, or the Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Repair Cream. That said, you could also use any other non-retinol moisturizer at night (as long as it doesn’t contain SPF). This is a particularly good idea if you’re also using serums or exfoliants with active ingredients at night, since you won’t want to mix a retinol moisturizer with other ingredients that may cause irritation or dryness (like beta hydroxy acids, alpha hydroxy acids, or vitamin C).
What is the best drugstore moisturizer for hyperpigmentation?
If you’re looking for a drugstore option, check out the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream or the La Roche-Posay Redermic R Retinol Cream, both of which contain retinol.
What is the best oil-free moisturizer for hyperpigmentation?
If you’re looking for an oil-free option, a great product is the Paula’s Choice Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer. Alternatively, if you want to use a retinol moisturizer to fight hyperpigmentation, try the La Roche-Posay Redermic R Retinol Cream.
The Bottom Line
While a moisturizer isn’t always going to be the most effective product when it comes to fading hyperpigmentation, it is still essential for achieving healthy, balanced, and clear skin. If you’re looking for a moisturizer that will work for your skin, consider adding one of our recommended products to your routine.