The top 10 cosmeceuticals for facial hyperpigmentation

Dermatol Ther. 2020 Nov;33(6):e14095. doi: 10.1111/dth.14095. Epub 2020 Sep 4.


Disorders of facial hyperpigmentation including melasma, postinflammatory hyperpigmentation and solar lentigines are common cutaneous conditions which can have a huge impact on patients' quality of life and often prove difficult to treat. The nascent market of cosmeceutical options provides a potentially safer and efficacious alternative for treating these challenging conditions. These can be used alone or in combination with other established treatments. Many cosmeceutical products are thought to work through inhibition of tyrosinase, a key enzyme of melanogenesis. We discuss the mode of action and provide an up-to-date review of the underlying evidence base for the top 10 cosmeceutical products for hyperpigmentation and melasma. Possible safer and more efficacious cosmeceutical therapies we discuss include thiamidol, kojic acid, vitamin C, arbutin, retinol, nicotinamide, ferulic acid, resorcinol, licorice root extract, and soy.

Keywords: arbutin; ferulic acid; kojic acid; melasma; nicotinamide; pigmentation; resorcinol; retinol; thiamidol; vitamin C.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cosmeceuticals* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Hyperpigmentation* / diagnosis
  • Hyperpigmentation* / drug therapy
  • Melanosis* / diagnosis
  • Melanosis* / drug therapy
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase
  • Quality of Life


  • Cosmeceuticals
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase