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I admit this blogpost is much later than I had planned – it was supposed to be uploaded weeks ago, because it is actually the skincare routine I fall back on in autumn, not the one I have for winter.
Now life rarely goes as planned and as the recent lack of activity here has shown my day job has taken over again – no thanks to rising numbers of Covid19.
But I promised you my skincare routine to fight hyperpigmentation, so even if I already switched to something else – here it is!
The necessary disclaimers
First things first: This is MY skincare routine, and the products I use, and it will not do you any good to exactly copy it. Every skin is different and the products I use can easily be replaced with others that are better available where you live or better suit your budget.
And, as we are already on the topic of disclaimers: Everything I show you will NOT help in fighting hyperpigmentation if you don´t wear sunscreen. Yes, every day, and yes, even in this drab weather! (Read more on sunscreen here)
My morning routine to fight hyperpigmentation
As always my mornings need to be super quick, so once the summer heat is gone I skip cleansing with a dedicated cleanser, opt for a hydrating and soothing toner (my current one is still the dear klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner, review here) that I enrich with Vitamin C and then use a step to specifically target hyperpigmentation, which is right now a tranexamic acid serum, or more specifically the Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum (Review here). Another budget friendly option would be the Tranexamic Acid Serum by The Inkey List – I have used both and find them to work equally well, but the version from The Inkey List smells a little like Barbeque Sauce, so Good Molecules it is at the moment.
Oh, and before you ask: No, I am not the biggest fan of Vitamin C powders, but my latest serum has oxidized and I can’t seem to get my hands on the one by Timeless that many of you recommended – it is a quick fix rather than a long time solution. But no matter if I get my L-Ascorbic Acid through a serum or a powder, I tend to wait until it is fully absorbed before I add the next step. Exactly as long as it takes me to brush my teeth, to be precise.
After serum either a lightweight moisturizer and a lightweight sunscreen or, as I am showing you today, a richer sunscreen like the Purito Centella Green Level Unscented Sunscreen only. This is my winter pick, and a dedicated video review addressing the recent controversy will be up soon.
My evening skincare routine to fight hyperpigmentation
Now for the evenings – as you might expect if you have seen any of my other skincare routines – my main product doing the heavy lifting in terms of acne, anti-aging and hyperpigmentation has to be my Tretinoin. It is the backbone of my routine and everything I do as an add-on will be arranged around me using it, so if you use a prescription retinoid, or really any type of retinoid, I recommend you make that work for you and only use other things in addition to that. (Questions about Retinoids? Click here)
With that being said: I cleanse – single or double depending on the amount of makeup I wear, but usually a single cleanse will do, then I use a soothing toner like the Purito Centella Unscented one, and then I use The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. You have seen it through so many of my routines already, sometimes used in the mornings, sometimes used at night, it definitely holds a place in my all-time hall of fame.
Not only helps the Zinc with inflammation, which is great against acne and post-inflammatory erythema, but the Niacinamide both helps in fighting hyperpigmentation and helps my skin to tolerate the Tretinoin better – a triple win!
After these steps that never really change it depends on whether it is a Tretinoin night or not – I use it three nights a week, anything more gives me irritation.
So if it is a Tretinoin night, I follow up with the Zelens Power D Treatment Drops – yes, expensive, but for me absolutely worth it (Review here), then my Tretinoin and then I am done.
If it is NOT a Tretinoin night, I will follow it up with the Alpha-Arbutin Serum by The Inkey List. Alpha-Arbutin is a precursor of Hydroquinone, the gold standard ingredient against hyperpigmentation – if you are interested in Hydroquinone, I have a blogpost talking about it in depth here. Alpha-Arbutin is much weaker in effect, but also less irritating, which is why I opt for that one.
General rules to fight hyperpigmentation all year round
If you compare it to my other routines throughout the year, you will notice that four things to fight hyperpigmentation never really change – my Tretinoin, Niacinamide, Vitamin C and a broad spectrum sunscreen.
The only new additions are Tranexamic Acid and Alpha-Arbutin, both of which do help in fighting the hyperpigmentation, but aren´t so potent that they on their own would make much of a difference.
That ties in with what I have been saying over and over again in this series on hyperpigmentation: Consistency and patience is key rather than one specific ingredient.
With my regular routine in place I only need a little extra after the summer, because no matter how good I am at reapplying sunscreen, my existing sunspots do get darker – I just love spending as much time outdoors as I can. Adding these two steps helps fade them again within a few weeks.
If you however have really stubborn dark patches or even melasma, a visit to your doctor might be in order for either a course of Hydroquinone or more invasive methods like lasers or clinical strength peels.