Acne scars, age spots, and dark patches of skin are part of the human experience. We can cover them up with concealer, but what if we could get rid of them at the source? That’s where the best skin whitening soaps come in handy. They brighten the complexion and diminish hyperpigmentation.
Do skin whitening soaps really work? Yes, if you don’t expect a miracle to happen overnight. They are likely to take weeks or even months to make a visible difference.
What is skin whitening soap? It’s a cleanser with benefits. For example, most whitening soaps exfoliate dead skin to gradually peel off the dark parts. Many contain skin-lightening ingredients like kojic acid or arbutin to prevent excess pigment from forming in the future. Check the top-rated skin lightening soaps below to see what we mean:
|The best skin whitening soaps||Why we love them|
|Koji White Kojic Acid & Papaya Skin Brightening Soap||
|Original Kojie San Facial Beauty Soap||
|Brilliant Skin Gluta - Arbutin Soap Bar||
|Aspen Kay Naturals Organic Turmeric Soap||
|Makari Naturalle Intense Extreme Skin Lightening Soap||
|Wonderfully Natural Organic African Black Soap||
|Palmer's Skin Success Anti-Dark Spot Complexion Bar||
- 1 What types of hyperpigmentation can skin whitening soaps treat?
- 2 Is it risky to using whitening soap?
- 3 Best Skin Whitening Soaps in 2023
- 3.1 Koji White Kojic Acid & Papaya Skin Brightening Soap
- 3.2 Original Kojie San Facial Beauty Soap
- 3.3 Brilliant Skin Gluta – Arbutin Soap Bar
- 3.4 Aspen Kay Naturals Organic Turmeric Soap
- 3.5 Makari Naturalle Intense Extreme Skin Lightening Soap
- 3.6 Wonderfully Natural Organic African Black Soap
- 3.7 Palmer’s Skin Success Anti-Dark Spot Complexion Bar
- 4 Conclusion
What types of hyperpigmentation can skin whitening soaps treat?
People use whitening soap to reduce discoloration caused by everything from age spots and acne scars to acanthosis nigricans. (That’s the dark velvety-textured skin on the back of the neck and in the armpits that many people with diabetes have. It can fade with a change in diet and medication, too) (1).
Any type of exfoliation can lighten hyperpigmentation in the top layers of the skin. But let’s be honest, using permanent skin whitening soap at home is not going to provide the same results as visiting a dermatologist for a chemical peel or a laser treatment. It’s going to take a lot longer and it’s only going to be able to treat the surface of the skin.
Still, there’s a mountain of anecdotal evidence from people who use whitening soap to clear up melasma (2), old scars, freckles, and even active acne. That’s because ingredients like kojic acid, azelaic acid, arbutin, and zinc sulfate lighten skin color by reducing melanin (3). Plus, exfoliators like salicylic and glycolic acid removes the dead, discolored skin.
Is it risky to using whitening soap?
If you have a naturally dark skin tone, be careful. Whitening soap may bleach the skin in undesirable ways.
Next, if you have sensitive or dry skin, the soap may be too harsh. It’s not a bad idea to test it on a small area out of sight and wait a day.
Lastly, whenever you exfoliate the skin or expose it to certain ingredients like kojic acid, it’s crucial to wear sunscreen. After all the work you’re doing to fix the dark spots, we are sure you don’t want to make them worse by getting sunburned.
Best Skin Whitening Soaps in 2023
With that said, here are the best soaps for treating hyperpigmentation.
Koji White Kojic Acid & Papaya Skin Brightening Soap
Kojic acid soap is popular in Japan and gaining a positive reputation stateside, too. The Japanese discovered kojic acid because it’s a byproduct of rice wine production (4). It’s used in both foods and cosmetics to maintain or change the color. Just like lemon juice, it keeps cut fruits from turning brown. As you might imagine, it’s also useful for treating melasma, the mask of pregnancy caused by hormonal surges. It also works on other types of skin discoloration.
How can you get the most from kojic acid soap? First, don’t rub the bar directly on your face. Wet it and massage the foam onto the skin instead. Count to thirty and rinse with cool water. Don’t leave it on for longer because this is potent stuff! Please remember the moisturizer when you’re done.
This brand of soap offers more than one version. We selected the bar with papaya as this fruit is a natural exfoliant. It also has a pleasant tropical citrus scent.
Surprisingly, for kojic acid soap, this one isn’t very drying. Although it has a pH of 8.5, it features glycerin, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid to keep the skin moisturized.
Better yet, the same bar contains arbutin which is related to hydroquinone, a clinically proven skin bleaching ingredient. Plus, there’s licorice root extract which soothes the skin and brightens the tone.
If you have oily skin, try the charcoal bar. Also, mature skin and dry skin can benefit from either the collagen or glutathione versions.
Users say to be patient as you may have to go through one or two bars of soap over the coming weeks and months in order to noticeably lighten the skin. They are generally pleased with how it softens the skin and brightens the complexion.
- Features proven skin lighteners like kojic acid, arbutin, and licorice root
- Moisturizes and softens the skin with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and vitamin E
- Available in different versions including collagen, glutathione, and charcoal
- Pleasant tropical citrus aroma
- Contains an artificial fragrance
Original Kojie San Facial Beauty Soap
The classic kojic acid soap is Kojie San. It’s often imitated, which is why it comes with a special scannable tag to prove its authenticity. Why is everyone so excited about this soap?
For one, it seems to work quickly in some cases. One reviewer saw dark marks clearing up after only one week of use. Another washes little scrapes with it so that they heal without becoming dark scars. Moreover, it doesn’t bleach body hair.
It builds a rich lather that smells like oranges then rinses clean without a residue. It’s mild enough to use on both the face and body. The formula is based on kojic acid, coconut oil, and tea tree oil. That’s why it can remove makeup and soothe irritated skin, too.
- Classic kojic acid soap with coconut and tea tree oils
- Smells like oranges and leaves the skin soft and smooth
- Doesn’t bleach body hair but works quickly to reduce skin discoloration
- May reduce inflammation and irritation as well
- Since it’s often imitated, scan the tag with the app to ensure authenticity
Brilliant Skin Gluta – Arbutin Soap Bar
What is arbutin soap? It’s made with a type of hydroquinone from the bearberry plant (5). It prevents melanin, which is skin pigment, from forming. Therefore, it lightens skin color. Over time, it lessens dark spots, scarring, chloasma, and other types of hyperpigmentation.
The brand recommends using the soap morning and night in the place of other cleansers. Let the lather sit on the skin for three minutes before rinsing.
Fortunately, the soap also contains glutathione to moisturize the skin and balance out any drying effect.
- Uses arbutin derived from bearberry to stop melanin production and lighten the skin
- Has glutathione to keep the skin hydrated
- Caution if you have naturally dark skin as it may cause bleaching
Aspen Kay Naturals Organic Turmeric Soap
Can turmeric whiten the skin? Yes – it was proven to do so in a scientific study (6). What’s more, it’s safe for every skin tone. It may take as long as a month of daily use to fade dark spots, but users say that it works.
Happily, turmeric is anti-inflammatory and helps reduce acne as well. That’s not surprising as this soap is made with all sorts of organic goodness. It conditions the skin with sustainable palm oil and unrefined shea butter while kaolin clay and French pink clay exfoliate dead cells. Lastly, calendula and chamomile soothe irritation. Try it, and if you don’t love it, the brand offers a full refund.
- Safe for every skin tone, turmeric is scientifically proven to fade discoloration
- Moisturizing formula conditions with sustainable palm oil and unrefined shea butter
- Also exfoliates with kaolin and French pink clay
- Packed with organic ingredients and botanicals to nourish the skin
Makari Naturalle Intense Extreme Skin Lightening Soap
This brand offers a variety of different soaps. We selected the Intense Extreme bar as it’s the most potent pigment-fighter without hydroquinone. It uses mulberry extract instead. (Why is it important that it doesn’t have hydroquinone? That’s because that ingredient can bleach dark skin in an undesirable way. Mulberry is milder but still able to brighten skin tone).
Use this exfoliating soap every day to clear up acne scars and blemishes, melasma, and other forms of hyperpigmentation. It’s designed for both the face and body, plus it’s safe for almost all skin types including Black skin.
We found it interesting that the manufacturer advertises that the soap contains sunscreen. It looks to be in the form of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Don’t ask us how this is supposed to work when you have to rinse off the lather after washing.
At any rate, the reviews are full of fans who swear by it. They say it has luxurious lather and a pleasant fragrance. They say it’s a very good exfoliator.
- Exfoliating soap with mulberry extract to brighten and lighten skin
- Has shea butter and glycerin for soft skin
- Contains essential antioxidants like vitamins C and E
- May also provide mineral sunscreen
- Has an artificial fragrance and artificial colors
Wonderfully Natural Organic African Black Soap
Have you heard about African Black soap? It’s a healing product for all skin types, especially acne-prone complexions. Not only will it clear up pimples, but it also reduces scars and treats psoriasis. Try it for sixty days and if you aren’t impressed, they offer a 100% money-back guarantee.
This brand also happens to be an African-owned company that supports fair trade. They source ingredients from communities in Ghana.
What’s in it? The simple formula is based on palm kernel and coconut oils, unrefined shea butter, cocoa pod ash, and purified water. It has a bumpy texture, so we recommend massaging it in your hands to create lather instead of rubbing the bar directly on the skin.
- Works wonders on acne-prone skin
- Reduces acne and acne scars
- Simple formula with natural ingredients sourced from local communities
Palmer’s Skin Success Anti-Dark Spot Complexion Bar
We weren’t able to find all the ingredients for this soap, but we liked what we saw. It uses soy and licorice extract to fix discoloration. It also has vitamin C to brighten skin tone and vitamin E to encourage healing.
It’s designed to gradually correct blemishes without causing dryness. One user was thrilled at how it clears up acne and fades dark spots. They went six months without a breakout.
- Anti-acne soap fades dark spots
- Highlights include soy and licorice to correct discoloration
- Also vitamins C and E for brighter, healthier skin
- Difficult to find an official ingredients list
It may take time, but the best whitening soaps will help lighten hyperpigmentation. In the meantime, remember to protect your skin with sunscreen to prevent new damage.
If you’ve had success with one of the soaps reviewed here today, we’d love to hear about your experience. Please feel free to leave us a comment below.
1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acanthosis-nigricans/symptoms-causes/syc-20368983?p=1 by Mayo Clinic Staff, accessed August 5, 2021
2. https://www.aocd.org/page/Hyperpigmentation by The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, accessed August 5, 2021
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4142815/ Hyperpigmentation Therapy: A Review, by Seemal R. Desai, published August 2014 in the Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology, accessed August 5, 2021
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kojic_acid accessed August 5, 2021
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbutin accessed August 5, 2021
6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0944711316302549?via%3Dihub Curcuma aeruginosa Roxb. essential oil slows hair-growth and lightens skin in axillae; a randomised, double blinded trial, by Jukkarin Srivalai, et al., published February 15 , 2017 in PHYTO medicine, accessed August 5, 2021