Best Pigmentation Serum For Oily Skin

Finding good pigmentation serum for oily skin can make a huge difference to your skin. In the text below you can find out what ingredients to look for, product recommendations, and reasons why pigmentation occurs on oily skin which can help you to prevent it in the first place.

A pigmentation serum for oily skin is a serum that contains ingredients that can help to treat pigmentation like vitamin C, niacinamide, ferulic acid, exfoliating acids, retinoids, azelaic acid, or licorice root extract. Such serum shouldn’t contain common irritants like fragrance, essential oils, alcohol, or comedogenic ingredients.

Pigmentation Serum For Oily Skin

Finding a pigmentation serum for oily skin can help you to treat certain skin conditions, but trying to prevent it from happening in the first place is the best policy. To learn how to prevent it you have to know why it happens. Before jumping on the products, I will briefly talk about the reasons behind hyperpigmentation on oily skin, so you get a better idea of what you can include in your routine.

The four main reasons for the appearance of pigmentation on oily skin are hormonal changes, sun exposure, inflammation, and genetics. Oily skin tends to produce more sebum, which can clog pores with debris, dead skin cells, and oil. This can result in the development of acne and other skin problems that may cause more production of melanin and in the end pigmentation.

It is important to note that you have to be gentle with your oily skin because excessive cleansing and exfoliating may cause it to produce even more oil, which may result in pigmentation. For a brief while, it may make your face feel clean and fresh, but it also removes the skin’s natural moisture. Your body is aware that the oil keeps your skin protected.  In response, your skin can produce even more oil to make up for the missing amount that you scraped away.

Exposure to sunlight

On oily skin, exposure to sunlight can also result in pigmentation because the sun’s UV rays can stimulate the production of melanin. Dark spots, freckles, and other types of hyperpigmentation may develop as a result. According to Dr. Kapoor, exposure to the sun may increase oily skin’s oil production, which then causes seborrhoea and eventually blemishes. When it comes to sunscreen for oily skin it should be lightweight, non-comedogenic, and suitable for oily skin. 

Inflammation

On oily skin, there is a connection between inflammation and pigmentation. Inflammatory molecules are released when there is inflammation, and stimulate the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for giving skin its color. In that case, the body may create more melanin in reaction to an inflammatory condition on the skin, such as acne, psoriasis, or eczema, which causes hyperpigmentation or dark patches on the skin.

Additionally, excessive oil production or misuse of strong active ingredients may irritate, resulting in pigmentation. Excess oil, debris, and dead skin cells can build up and block pores, causing breakouts and other skin disorders that can lead to an inflammatory reaction, and an increase in melanin production.

Best Pigmentation Serum For Oily Skin With Vitamin C

In the text below you can find a detailed description of ingredients that your pigmentation serum for oily skin should contain with serum recommendations. 

According to Harvard Health Publishing, dermatologists love topical vitamin C because it is supported by research and may decrease the beginning of skin aging, protect skin from UV damage, and reduce the look of wrinkles, dark spots, and acne. It is an antioxidant that can reduce damage by free radicals can damage the skin and may improve the skin’s overall appearance. The overproduction of melanin in the skin leads to age spots, melasma, and sunspots.

Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties are also helpful in reducing the development of melanin in dermal cells. Additionally, it encourages cell turnover, which aids in lightening hyperpigmented spots on the skin. Vitamin C is very beneficial for oily skin because it can help control the skin’s sebum production, which can aid in reducing excessive oil production which leads to a reduction of breakouts. Another reason for including vitamin C in your routine is its ability to reduce inflammation and soothe and calm the skin, because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum. Powerful, Lightweight Serum with 10% Vitamin C to Brighten Skin, Fade Dark Spots, Reduce Pigmentation and Prevent Discoloration (1.01 ounces)

This is a pigmentation serum for oily skin with a great formula. It doesn’t contain alcohol, fragrance, and essential oils. Looking at the ingredients list there is an Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, which is a form of vitamin C that is very stable and gentle. Other ingredients that are present in this serum are glycerin, which is the best humectant that draws water into the skin, Squalane which is emollient, Sodium Hyaluronate which is another humectant in this formula, and licorice root which helps to fight inflammation and reduce hyperpigmentation.

Naturium Vitamin C Complex Face Serum

Naturium Vitamin C Complex Face Serum, Brightening & Anti-Aging Facial Treatment with Hyaluronic Acid & Vitamin E, 1 oz

Naturium Vitamin C Complex Face Serum is another vitamin C serum with a formula that can be beneficial for oily skin. It doesn’t contain fragrance, alcohol, or essential oils. The high concentration of c Kakadu plum, one of the greatest sources of vitamin C and very stable, pure l-ascorbic acid, helps treat signs of aging by minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and to reduce pigmentation.

This is a serum that I would not recommend for skin of color and people with sensitive skin should do a patch test. Other ingredients that are present in this serum are glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, which are humectants, and beta-glucan which has soothing properties.

To find more serums with vitamin C make sure to visit my post about the best serums for a morning routine. 

Best Pigmentation Serum For Oily Skin With Ferulic Acid

Ferulic acid helps to control free radicals, which damage the skin cells and speed up aging, The 2018 review discovered that ferulic acid can stop enzymes from developing that accelerate the production of free radicals. The same study discovered that ferulic acid can prevent future damage to skin cells caused by free radicals.

The 2018 review found that ferulic acid may have anti-inflammatory properties, so it helps to treat acne, hyperpigmentation, and seborrheic dermatitis. It is often added to other products because ingredients like the antioxidant vitamins C and E can work better when combined with ferulic acid.

When it comes to hyperpigmentation ferulic acid works by inhibiting the production of enzymes that contribute to melanin creation, which makes it great to treat sunspots, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. People often wish to address dark spots and even out their skin tones when lighting their skin. Both treating and preventing discoloration are possible with ferulic acid. However, you may also think about taking a more potent treatment at night, such as retinol. When attempting to lighten parts of the skin, this can assist in delivering the best results.

Ferulic acid is usually in combination with vitamins C, and E, so Timeless Skincare serum is a great example of that combination. This serum is suitable for all skin types and contains L-ascorbic acid, which can be irritating for sensitive, and skin of color.

Timeless Skin Care 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum

Timeless Skin Care 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum - 1.7 oz - Lightweight, Non-Greasy Formula - Use Daily to Brighten, Restore & Correct Skin - Recommended for All Skin Types

Best Pigmentation Serum For Oily Skin With Niacinamide

Niacinamide is another ingredient that you can include in your routine to help you manage oily skin. Dermatologists agree that niacinamide should be part of your routine if you have oily skin prone to acne.  It is a stable and non-irritating ingredient that doesn’t interact with other ingredients and doesn’t decrease their deficiency. 

Niacinamide a has great ability to help the skin to tolerate strong ingredients that you may be using for your oily skin. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that are very important for oily skin (as stated in the section above, bacteria and inflammation lead to breakouts). When it comes to serums with niacinamide I don’t prefer using one for my skin. That is because I don’t think that I need dedicated niacinamide serum. Other products already contain niacinamide like toners and moisturizers. Another reason is that many serums contain high percentages of niacinamide which can be irritating to the skin. According to the studies, to be effective it shouldn’t be above 5%.

To improve the overall appearance of oily skin niacinamide can help minimize the appearance of pores by reducing their size and preventing them from becoming clogged. Another important benefit for oily skin is that niacinamide can help strengthen the skin barrier, which can help prevent moisture loss and improve hydration levels in the skin. This can help oily skin feel more balanced and less prone to dehydration due to over-cleansing and over-exfoliating.

 

Best Pigmentation Serum For Oily Skin With Exfoliating Acids

All skin types should exfoliate regularly to prevent clogged pores from dirt and dead skin cells. When it comes to exfoliation you can do it mechanically (with brushes, sponges, etc.) or chemically (using hydroxy acids). The mechanical type of exfoliator produces little skin tears which can result in far more serious issues; therefore I recommend avoiding them and turning to exfoliating acids.

It is important to note that you have to start implementing them into your skincare routine gradually, once a week for a few weeks, then follow with twice a week to see how your skin responds, especially if you use them in a form of serum that is much stronger than toners for example.

Serum with AHAs

There are three types of exfoliating acids, AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs. AHAs do not penetrate the skin deeply, and despite that, they are capable of doing much more than just exfoliating. They can improve product absorption, clear up acne, and make the skin seem more radiant. The most popular from this group are glycolic and lactic acids.

Paula's Choice SKIN PERFECTING 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

Paula's Choice SKIN PERFECTING 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant with Glycolic Acid Chamomile & Green Tea, 3.3 Ounce Pump Leave-On Gentle Exfoliator

This Paula’s Choice serum can help minimize the look of discolorations and age spots, and with consistent use can increase skin’s firmness. This is a gentle chemical exfoliator without fragrance, essential oils, or alcohol that is suitable for oily skin. Besides glycolic acid, it also contains several soothing ingredients and humectants. Humectants that are present in this formula are sodium hyaluronate and sodium PCA. Soothing ingredients that help visibly calm and soothe the signs of inflammation, in this formula, are chamomile extract, green tea extract, aloe leaf juice, and panthenol.

Serum with BHAs

BHAs are oil-soluble, which means they can penetrate deep into the pores to dissolve and remove the buildup of excess sebum, dead skin cells, and other impurities. This can help unclog pores and reduce the risk of acne breakouts. BHAs have anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and calm the skin. This can be especially helpful for oily skin, which is often prone to inflammation, redness, and irritation. BHAs can help regulate sebum production in the skin, which can help reduce excess oil production and shine. This can help prevent clogged pores and reduce the risk of acne breakouts.

Glow Recipe Strawberry Smooth AHA BHA Salicylic Acid Serum

Glow Recipe Strawberry Smooth AHA BHA Salicylic Acid Serum - Daily Hyaluronic Acid Serum with Succinic Acid + Allantoin - Face Clarifying Pore Minimizer + Azelaic Acid for Brightened Complexion (30ml)

This is a serum with a great combination of ingredients. The formula combines exfoliating, soothing, and skin-brightening ingredients. The only thing that I don’t like in this serum is the fragrance, so I would not recommend it for sensitive skin. But, if you are accustomed to using products with fragrance and your skin can handle it don’t miss out on this serum.

Glow Recipe Strawberry Smooth serum contains salicylic acid, azelaic acid, niacinamide, mandelic acid (another exfoliating acid), sodium hyaluronate (humectant), and soothing ingredients in the form of allantoin, Bisabolol, and ginger root extract.

Serum with PHAs

PHAs are a newer type of exfoliating acid that are gentle on the skin and particularly beneficial for oily skin. Some of their benefits include gentle exfoliation by dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells, without causing irritation or damage to the skin, humectant properties that help to attract and retain moisture in the skin, which can be particularly beneficial for oily skin that is prone to dehydration and improving skin texture by gently removing dead skin cells, revealing smoother and softer skin.

SERUMKIND Muscat Clearing Drop - Acne Clearing Face Serum

SERUMKIND Muscat Clearing Drop - Acne Clearing Face Serum – Shine Muscat Grapes and PHA– Calming Blemishes and Exfoliating - Vegan, Cruelty Free, Unscented

This serum is formulated for oily, acne-prone, and sensitive skin without fragrance. It contains an ingredient known as “fruits blessed by a god,” Shine Muscat Grapes that are high in resveratrol, vitamin C, and vitamin K. The formula minimizes the causes of acne and gently removes dead skin cells to present flawlessly clear skin. Besides PHA exfoliating acids it also contains niacinamide, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and kale extract that is rich in vitamins C, E, and K which together, help your skin look younger and healthier, and melia azadirachta flower extract which is another anti-oxidant in the formula.

Best Pigmentation Serum For Oily Skin With Retinoids

Like many ingredients above, retinoids are also very beneficial for oily skin. Besides improving skin tone by promoting cell turnover (new young skin cells come to the surface more quickly) it helps oily skin to look more radiant and youthful. That improved cell turnover promotes the shedding of dead skin cells which leads to a reduction of pore appearance (unclogs the pores and reduces the chance of breakouts ). 

Retinoids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and calm the skin, which is especially helpful for oily skin that is often prone to inflammation, redness, and irritation. And lastly, retinoids can help regulate sebum production in the skin, which can help reduce excess oil production and shine.

PCA SKIN Intensive Brightening Treatment

PCA SKIN Intensive Brightening Treatment - 0.5% Pure Vitamin A Retinol Face Serum for Discoloration & Dark Spots

PCA SKIN Intensive Brightening Treatment contains 0.5% retinol that helps to dramatically fade discoloration. Serum doesn’t contain alcohol, fragrance, and essential oils. It is important to note that it does contain niacinamide, resveratrol which is a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic abilities, tocopheryl acetate, which is a form of vitamin E, glycerin and Cetearyl alcohol which has a comedogenic rating of 2.

Best Pigmentation Serum For Oily Skin With Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid has a significant impact in inhibiting the production of free radicals and tyrosinase, an enzyme that causes hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Although it has a negligible impact on acne, its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial characteristics are beneficial for both hyperpigmentation and acne. It can also assist in opening closed whiteheads. It should not be used to treat cystic acne since it cannot penetrate deeply enough due to its small impact on acne, thus it would be advisable to see a board-certified dermatologist in such a situation. A great way to include azelaic acid into your routine is Ordinary Suspension.

Best Pigmentation Serum For Oily Skin With Licorice Root Extract

Overall, licorice root extract helps to reduce inflammation, brighten skin tone, reduce the size of pores, hydrate the skin, and enhance skin texture, making it a useful component in oily skincare products. Even while licorice root extract is often well tolerated, some people may be allergic to it, so before introducing any new skincare ingredient into your regimen, do a patch test to see how your skin will react.

Naturium Face & Skin Care Discoloration Treatment

Naturium Tranexamic Topical Acid 5%, Face & Skin Care Discoloration Treatment, with Kojic Acid, Niacinamide & Licorice Root, 1 oz

Naturium Face & Skin Care Discoloration Treatment contains tranexamic topical acid of 5%, which helps to reduce hyperpigmentation, including melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), and other dark spots.  The studies showed that this acid works by inhibiting the production and activity of melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing melanin, to help to even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of dark patches.

Besides licorice root extract this serum also contains niacinamide, kojic acid, and glycerin which are great ingredients for oily skin. The serum doesn’t contain fragrance, alcohol, and essential oils, but it does contain tocopherol, which has a comedogenic rating of 3, so if your skin is prone to pore clogging skip this serum.

This post is written and managed by Hannah West

Hannah West

Hello there, lovely readers! I’m Hannah West, and I’ve had the incredible journey of serving as a Skin Health Researcher for over a decade. My passion for skincare started early, and I’ve dedicated my life to research healthy, glowing skin. Through my years of reading about it, I’ve witnessed the transformative power of proper skincare routines. From addressing common concerns to tackling complex issues, I’m here to share my knowledge and experiences with all of you so you don’t have to research it yourself.

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