The one thing worse than breakouts? The pigmentation that they leave behind. Trauma to the skin, like sun exposure, hormones, and picking spots or using scrubs can all cause blemishes to leave their mark (literally) for longer than we’d like. Depending on your skin colour, these marks may be red, brown, or purple in colour – when trauma or a hormonal shift occurs, our skin’s melanocytes cells (which are responsible for pigment) go into overdrive, producing more pigment to help defend the skin.
We’ve already covered the best The Ordinary products for acne-prone skin, but with their ingredients-first approach to skincare, The Ordinary has plenty of choices when it comes to finding the best products to treat pigmentation. Scroll down to find the best ones for you.
The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF with Antioxidants
To help to both fade existing pigmentation and prevent future pigmentation from occurring, wearing a high factor SPF every single day is especially important. Exposure to UV light (which is around even on cloudy days) both causes and exacerbates marks. This hydrating formula provides broad spectrum protection, shielding skin from sun damage without clogging pores.
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Lotion
A type of chemical exfoliant known as an AHA, glycolic acid works by removing the dead skin cells on the top layer of skin. As pigmentation exists on the upper layers of skin, with each layer that is removed, the mark fades until eventually it disappears. This refreshing toner is ideal for weekly or bi-weekly use – just ensure you’re using SPF because exfoliation increases skin’s sensitivity to UV.
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10%
Like glycolic acid, lactic acid is an AHA and works in the same way to help fade the appearance of pigmentation. The big difference is that lactic acid molecules are bigger, so they don’t penetrate as deeply. This makes lactic acid a more suitable alternative for those who are new to using acids or have sensitive skin.
The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA
Mandelic acid is also an AHA and has even bigger molecules than lactic acid, making it even gentler (and perfect for beginners). This gentle serum has the added bonus of hyaluronic acid which helps to keep skin hydrated by drawing in moisture. The more hydrated your skin is, the better it is at healing damage and repairing pigmentation.
The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA
Alpha arbutin cleverly works by suppressing the enzymes that stimulate melanin production so it slows down the process that causes pigmentation in the first place. If your skin is sensitive and you don’t want to use acids, this gentle hydrating serum can be a great alternative.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Niacinamide might be better known for its ability to boost moisture levels, reduce the appearance of exposed pores, and control oil production, but this multitasking ingredient also has benefits for skin that’s prone to marks. Studies have shown that it helps to decrease pigmentation by preventing the transfer of melanin from the pigment cells to the skin cells.
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
Azelaic acid is a real multitasker, not only helping to treat pigmentation by reducing melanin production, but also by calming inflammation and by gently exfoliating skin. It’s particularly beneficial if you’re trying to deal with post-acne marks while also dealing with active breakouts because it targets both simultaneously.
The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%
Otherwise known as vitamin C (renowned for its ability to treat dullness and protect skin), this particular type of vitamin C has particularly powerful skin brightening effects. It works by inhibiting melanin production, resulting in reduced pigmentation and a more even skin tone over time. If you’re new to vitamin C, you’ll find that this light, cream-based formula is perfect for sensitive skin.