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Hyperpigmentation, which is an overproduction of melanin on certain areas of the skin, is a common issue for African Americans. And if you factor in scarring that can occur as a result of sun damage, acne, or any other trauma to the skin, we’re especially at risk for uneven skin tone which leaves many feeling insecure about their complexion.

You may feel like you’ve tried everything and all of those products did absolutely nothing. But, have you given Vitamin C a try? Vitamin C is an antioxidant which means it helps protect against free radicals — like the sun — which can cause this uneven and unwanted darkening. The vitamin also has anti-inflammatory properties that make it ideal for reducing redness associated with acne and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation which are the scars left behind when the acne goes away.

It’s important to note that the best way to reap the benefits of Vitamin C is to add it to your regimen, rather than use it as a replacement. As Dayle Breault of Goddess of Skin and facialist to Tracee Ellis Ross told Into The Gloss, “The most misunderstood idea about hyperpigmentation is that it melts away instead of coming up and out. People think it’s going to fade—which it will do—but it won’t do that without scrubbing away the cells and working on it. And sometimes it’ll get darker before it gets lighter.” In other words, keep up with your regular cleansing and exfoliating routine, and add Vitamin C as an additional step with some of the options below.


PAULA’S CHOICE RESIST Vitamin C Spot Treatment

This treatment provides a highly concentrated dose of Vitamin C, meant to be used directly on brown spots as the last step in your evening night care routine. With regular use, you should notice a visibly more even skin tone.

Urban Skin Rx Super C Brightening Serum

Another highly potent option is this serum from Urban Skin Rx which contains pure Vitamin C, Arbutin and Kojic acid to clear skin of dark spots and blemishes. To use, apply 4-6 drops after cleansing or toning, smooth over face and neck, let dry, and then apply your moisturizer.



Toted as a daily multivitamin for the skin, this Truth Serum is boosted with vitamin C, collagen, and orange and green tea extracts to brighten, firm, and hydrate skin. I apply it every morning after cleansing and toning and before applying my moisturizer and it did wonders for the adult acne I’d been experiencing.

CLINIQUE Fresh Pressed 7-day System with Pure Vitamin C

Looking for near-immediate results or need a quick refresh? Try this system from CLINIQUE, formulated to produce brighter, more radiant skin in just a week. With continued use, users will notice their skin is smoother and more even-toned than before.

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