That pimple you popped a day or two too soon. The results of all that time spent in direct sunlight over the summer. Those bug bites that took forever to disappear and itched like hell. We all have different stories behind our hyperpigmentation (aka, those dark marks that crop up on our skin), but no matter how they got there, we all want to turn back the clock and get rid of them. There are several ways to go about fading the spots—hydroquinone, lasers, microdermabrasion, and so on—but if you’re looking for a natural way to get the job done, vitamin C is the ingredient you’ll want to stock up on. While it takes patience to see results, vitamin C is a chemical exfoliant that works to generate brand new, spot-free skin cells. Below, our top picks for vitamin C-packed products that will help fade your hyperpigmentation.
Allies of Skin’s offerings are billed as “smart, effective products for the modern multi-hyphenate,” which is perfect for someone with an ever-growing arsenal of cleansers, serums, moisturizers, and masks—and not so much time to use them. (Yes, I’m talking about myself.) This sweetly scented cream doubles as a cleanser and a mask, and with a bit of massaging, it emulsifies into a salve—it’s packed with nourishing argan oil in addition to vitamin C. True to its mission of efficiency, my skin felt so hydrated after cleansing that I skipped my usual heavy moisturizer and opted for a few quick spritzes of rose water before running out the door. A win-win for both my skin and my packed schedule.
When it comes to vitamin C, the packaging can be just as important as the product itself. Cue these tiny Hershey’s Kiss-looking single-use vials, which preserve the potency of each dose of ascorbic acid by preventing oxygen exposure up until the moment you crack one open. Use morning and evening for a full month’s worth of dark spot reduction and sun damage repair. (That said, even the most potent dose of vitamin C is not a substitute for sunscreen, so stay diligent when it comes to SPF.)
And now for a moment of zen. The Baja Zen mask turns into a ruddy paste when mixed with water (or apple cider vinegar if you want even more of a C boost), and maybe it’s the fact that the red clay comes from France, but dabbing it on definitely made it feel like my at-home spa had gone high end. Even better, it dried smoothly and evenly, without tightening my skin in a vise grip. After washing off the mask, my face felt smooth and perfectly prepped for serums and such. The vitamin C in this mask comes from natural sources like rose hip and fruit extracts, and I love that this takes care of my clay mask and vitamin C needs at once.
Got sensitive skin? No problem. This wallet-friendly Korean serum has just 5% vitamin C, so even those of us prone to irritation can soak up all that free radical defense and boost collagen production without fear of redness. Of course, it’s suitable for all skin types—that’s why it’s award-winning and best-selling—and gentle enough to use every single day. (The reviews on this are glowing, people.) Mix it in with moisturizer to streamline your nighttime routine and keep it up to fade those dark spots.
Did we miss any of your favorite vitamin C products? Do you have other tips on fading hyperpigmentation? Let us know below!