Fall Skincare Glow-Up Guide: Tips for Treating Hyperpigmentation

Top dermatologists share their four-step cheat code to maintain a sexy summer glow long after fun in the sun.

Whether your radiant summer glow came from sipping cocktails at a rooftop pool, hanging with your sorors at the Inkwell, or crowd surfing at Coachella, there’s no reason to let that sexy seasonal tint fade. As summer humidity dissipates and the temperature drops, your skin’s natural moisture barrier lessens, and your face and body may feel dry, irritated, itchy, and tight. And conditions like eczema can also become more pronounced.

To help brown beauties stay selfie sexy, rounded up expert insight and top product picks from the best Black dermatologists with A-list client rosters and thriving practices in New York and Atlanta. Stay radiant ready while addressing skin-dulling challenges like hyperpigmentation with our four-step guide to repair melanin-rich skin, avoid dark spots, and maintain glowing skin from head to toe.

  • STEP 1: Reassess your Skincare Routine

    Revamping your daily regimen based on the changing weather is the best way to maintain a radiant glow all year, and experts say minor tweaks can result in a major wow factor. According to New York based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rose Ingleton, who cares for the skin of supermodels like Iman and award-winning actresses, hydration is the key. “As the weather cools and the air starts getting dry, you want to focus on hydration,” explained Ingleton. “If you were using a gel moisturizer during the summer, you could switch to a thicker, cream-based option in the Fall and Winter. Hydrating serums with hyaluronic acid and glycerin can be a great addition to your routine as well.”

    Dr. Ingleton suggests starting with your morning shower routine. “I always recommend avoiding hot showers, as they can dry out and irritate your skin, exacerbating winter skin issues. Take warm, short showers instead and moisturize as soon as you get out of the shower while your skin is still a little damp.”

  • STEP 2: Be Gentle

    The biggest skincare mistake Dr. Ingleton sees is that people aren't gentle enough with their faces and bodies. "We often think that scrubbing our skin will solve everything!" she said. "Our tendency is to reach for abrasive exfoliants to eliminate issues like acne and dark spots, but manual exfoliation can potentially cause micro-injury and exacerbate skin issues. Instead, I recommend swapping your scrubs for a gentle chemical exfoliator with fruit acids like glycolic acid."

  • STEP 3: Treat Discoloration

    Hyperpigmentation, the excess pigment production resulting in dark spots or patches, can occur for various reasons that need to be factored into determining the best treatment. "The most common causes of discoloration are acne, sun damage, aging, melasma (a form of hyperpigmentation that can cause tan, brown, grayish brown, or bluish-gray patches), and hormones," said Dr. Chynna Steele, an Atlanta-based board-certified dermatologist.

    OTC treatments are available to deal with mild discoloration and dark spots, like her Steele Dermatology Brightening & Boosting Vitamin C Serum. "I still find hydroquinone to be a safe and effective brightening agent when used as needed— not a daily forever product. Over-the-counter strengths of two percent work for modest pigmentary alteration." She also recommends seeking professional help for persistent discoloration.

    "After three months, if you are not successful with over-the-counter treatments, then seek the help of a dermatologist to treat acne, melasma, or hormonal causes of pigmentation." To find a dermatologist with the expertise to address our unique skincare concerns, check out the Black Derm Directory, an online resource designed by Dr. Achiamah Osei-Tutu, a board-certified dermatologist in New York.

  • STEP 4: Always Use Sunscreen

    While it's common knowledge that wearing sunscreen outdoors is vital, that practice should last year round. "Misconceptions about melanin-rich skin providing natural sun protection may result in inadequate sunscreen use," said Dr. Michelle Henry, clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College and founder of Skin and Aesthetic Surgery of Manhattan. 

    "Maintain consistent sunscreen use to prevent further pigmentation. A reputable sunscreen like Black Girl Sunscreen or Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion SPF 30 is essential for safeguarding against UV damage and preventing hyperpigmentation." Adequate SPF use throughout the year can protect you from future hyperpigmentation and heal past discoloration.

  • The Dermatologist Will See You Now

    Rooted in her rich Caribbean culture, Dr. Ingleton launched her own skincare line in 2019 to address everyday concerns like anti-aging, blemishes, dullness, redness, and hydration. Each ROSE Ingleton MD Skincare line product is infused with a blend of fruit extracts native to her home island. "I came from Jamaica with a dream— determined, goal-driven, and inspired by my mother. I wanted to bring a piece of my heritage to the brand." Here, Dr. Ingleton shares her top picks from her line and two bonus picks to keep your face radiant and body glowing all year long.

    Price: $38

    Why She Loves It: "A non-drying cleanser is the cornerstone of any good skincare regimen, and this one leaves your skin soft, clean, and bright."

    Price: $48

    Why She Loves It: "A product with AHAs is a must in your routine if you're looking for glowing, even skin since it will help you get rid of darker, discolored skin cells to reveal brighter skin underneath. This exfoliating toner has fruit acids and licorice root extract to smooth, brighten, and even your skin tone."

    Price: $28

    Why She Loves It: "This moisturizer has time-released vitamin C and signal peptides to support healthy-looking skin. Melanin-rich skin tends to naturally lack ceramides, which leads to dryness, and this contains skin-identical ceramides and lipids to replenish your skin."

    Price: $16

    Why She Loves It: "I love a body wash with AHAs to help smooth texture and leave your skin glowing."

    Product Pick:  Hanahana Shea Butter

    Price: $32

    Why She Loves It: "After an exfoliating wash, you always want to replenish and moisturize your skin to keep your glow. This simple shea butter has fatty acids and vitamin E that replenish moisture."

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