Insider trick: You have to minimize sun exposure, otherwise the rays will only intensify the hyperpigmentation. “Many women of color don’t recognize the importance of sunscreen, but the sun definitely makes hyperpigmentation spots darker,” says dermatologist Susan Taylor. She suggests applying a broad-spectrum or avobenzone-based SPF 15 sunscreen every day to keep hyperpigmentation from developing and already dark areas from further darkening.
Prescription: EpiQuin, Lustra, Glyquin, Claripel
Nonprescription: (top, from left) Peter Thomas Roth Potent Skin Lightening Lotion Complex, Dr. Brandt Skin Lightening Gel, and Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer SPF 15. Also try: Rodan & Fields Radiant Regimen for Uneven Skin Tone, Dermalogica Skin-Brightening System, Black Opal Advance Dual Phase Fade Crème
Insider trick: Feel a breakout coming? Take action fast. New York City–based aesthetician Mamie McDonald recommends dabbing a cotton swab dipped in hydrogen peroxide on the affected area twice a day. “It kills any active bacteria in the pore and cleans out the infection so it won’t cause a pimple,” she says.
Prescription: Accutane, Retin-A Micro, Tazorac, Avita, Benzaclin
Nonprescription: (bottom, from left) Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser, G.M. Collin Acne Complex, Clean and Clear Advantage Daily Cleansing Pads.
Also try: Proactiv Solution 3-Step System, Clinique Acne Solutions Spot Healing Gel, Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Defense Face Lotion, Sonya Dakar Drying Potion
TEXTURE AND RADIANCE
Insider tricks: Whip up your own smoothing skin mask by combining plain yogurt with some grated organic ginger, finely chopped parsley and minced organic garlic. “The yogurt contains active enzymes and lactic acid to exfoliate skin without drying up its natural oils,” McDonald explains. “Ginger boosts the immune system as it exfoliates. Parsley kills bacteria, and garlic is antiseptic and antibacterial. Together they make a great pore cleanser and skin smoother.”
Prescription: Vaniqa, Retin A, Lac-Hydrin, Carmol 40
Nonprescription: (top, from left) Olay Regenerist The Regenerating Collection, Sothys Oxyliance Fluid, Estée Lauder Idealist Skin Refinisher, and Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant. Also try: Chanel Maximum Radiance Delicate Exfoliator, MD Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel, Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Cleansing Pads