It is not easy to find a fairness cream for oily / acne prone skin despite the Indian market being flooded with them. Almost every brand is making a fairness cream and slapping an “all skin types” label on it.
The goal of this post is to compile a list of possibly non-comedogenic fairness creams for men and women with oily / combination / acne prone skin achieve an even tone and reduce hyper pigmentation.
This post is not about judging fairness creams or those who use them or despise them. The idea is to see how those with oily / acne prone skin can take advantage of these creams to get rid of dark spots caused by acne or sun damage. An even, clearer, brighter skin will only be a bonus.
It is shocking to see that most of the fairness creams have caused breakouts in people. If whitening / de-pigmentation treatments break you out, read on.
If you are intrigued by the Fair & Lovely offerings, read reviews of all Fair & Lovely creams here.
Skin lightening ingredients
These are some of the effective skin whitening ingredients in no particular order.
Hydroquinone, banned in some countries, is best used under medical supervision. Others, such as papaya enzymes work wonderfully without harmful side-effects.
Kojic acid and alpha arbutin are some of the most effective ones. Products containing lactic acid work well too and are contained in many over-the-counter creams now. Vitamin B3 is part of many of Pond’s fairness creams, but their formula is comedogenic.
- Lactic acid
- Glycolic acid
- Beta Arbutin (bearberry)
- Alpha Arbutin
- Kojic Acid
- Vitamin C
- Licorice / Liquorice
- Vitamin B3 (Niancinamide)
- Papaya enzymes
- Azelaic acid
Fairness creams for oily skin in India
This is a list of possibly non-comedogenic fairness creams / skin lighteners. An important part of a fairness regimen is the use of a broad spectrum sunscreen. Any skin lightening effects of a fairness cream will be lost unless it is accompanied by daily use of a sunscreen. This is one of the reasons people report “looking darker” from using a fairness cream.
It is not fair to expect skin colour to change to white or even more than a shade or two lighter even if they are called “whitening creams”.
- Kaya Skin Clinic Nourishing Day Cream with SPF 15 & Lightening Agents Fairness (Rs. 990 for 50 ml)
- Kaya Skin Clinic Nourishing Night Cream with Anti-Oxidants Fairness (Rs. 990 for 50ml)
- Kaya Skin Clinic Pigmentation Reducer with Spot Reducing Agents (lactic acid, niacinamaide, Rs. 500 for 25 gm)
Revlon Touch & Glow Advanced Fairness Instant Mattifying Cream Oil-free (Rs. 210 for 40 gm)
- Living Proof Dermaceuticals Whitening Cell Action Complex (available in online stores, Rs. 590 for 30 ml)
Clean & Clear Clear Fairness Cream Oil-free (Rs. 65 for 20 gm)
- Garnier Skin Naturals Light Overnight Cream Night Peeling Fairness Cream (Rs. 99 for 18 ml)
Iffy ones – the following fairness creams contain all the right ingredients, but either because of incomplete ingredient list or conflicting information, we are unable to tell for sure if they can cause acne. These products will likely work but do a patch test on part of the face first.
- Himalaya Herbals Fairness Cream
- Jovees Saffron & Bearberry Fairness Cream
- Lotus Herbals Fairgel with Liquorice and Green Tea Fairness Gel
- Banjara’s Skin Lightening Gel (alpha arbutin)
- Pond’s White Beauty Naturals Spot-less Lightening Cream
- Fair & Lovely Anti-Marks for Blemish-less Fair Skin
Fairness creams for men in India
- Nivea Men Advanced Whitening Oil Control Moisturizer 10X
- Nivea Men Advanced Whitening Dark Spot Reduction Moisturizer 10X
- Emami Fair and Handsome (comedogenic)
- Fair & Lovely Menx Active (comedogenic)
- Fair & Lovely Max Fairness (we don’t have ingredient list)
Acne causing fairness creams in India
This is the list of fairness creams known to cause acne or in general be unsuitable for oily skin. Some of these cause outright pimples, others make the skin too oily which may result in breakouts in the long term. Many of these fairness creams contain really effective fairness agents, but the resulting products are not non-comedogenic, making them practically useless for acne prone skin.
Some of them may still work for you if you are undergoing acne treatments or if your skin is tolerant of mildly comedogenic products.
- Biotique Bio Coconut Whitening & Brightening Cream (all skin types)
- Dabur Gulabari Pearl Fairness Moisturizer with Saffron & Turmeric (shea butter)
- Emami Naturally Fair Intensive Herbal Fairness Cream (wheatgerm)
- Fabindia De-pigmentation Cream
- Fair and Lovely Advanced Multivitamin Daily Fairness Expert
- Fair and Lovely Ayurvedic Natural Fairness Cream
- Lakme Perfect Radiance Fairness Day Cream
- Lakme Perfect Radiance 4-Week Whitening Treatment Capsules
- Lakme Perfect Radiance Intense Whitening Night Repair Creme
- Lakme Sun Expert Fairness + UV Lotion SPF 30 PA+ (Oily Skin)
- Lotus Herbals Cocofair Coconut Ginseng Fairness Creme
- Lotus Herbals Whiteglow Skin Whitening & Brightening Micro-emulsion
- Lotus Herbals Whiteglow Intensive Whitening & Brightening Serum
- Lotus Herbals White Glow Skin Whitening & Brightening Gel Creme SPF 25 / PA+++
- Neutrogena Fine Fairness Cream SPF 20 / PA+
- Neutrogena Fine Fairness Lotion SPF 30 / PA ++
- Olay Natural White All in One Fairness Day Cream
- Olay Natural White All in One Fairness Night Cream
- Pond’s Flawless White Visible Lightening Daily Cream
- Pond’s White Beauty Spot-less Daily Whitening Cream SPF 20 PA++
- Pond’s Flawless White Visible Lightening Daily Cream (VAO-B3 complex)
- Pond’s White Beauty All-in-One BB+ Fairness Cream SPF 30 PA+++
- Revlon Touch & Glow Advanced Fairness Daily Moisturizing Cream (different from Mattifying version)
- VLCC Fair Skin Snigdha Face Cream
Pharmaceutical de-pigmentation creams
These are not fairness creams per se, but de-pigmentation ointments for melasma and dark spots caused by sun damage and acne. They are supposed to be used under medical supervision because of risk of unwanted side effects. Talk to your dermatologist before using any of them.
- Aziderm cream: (10% and 20% azelaic acid)
- Ban-a-Tan cream: alpha arbutin 1%, liquorice exract 0.5%
- Biolite cream: kojic acid 1%, vitamin C 3%, vitamin E 0.5%
- Brite cream: hydroquinone 4%
- Carofit cream: arbutin 1%, lactic acid 10%, kojic acid 2%
- Clearz cream: kojic acid 0.75%, vitamin C 2.5%
- Clearz Plus cream: kojic acid 2%, vitamin C 2.5%
- Depiwhite cream: hydroquinone 2%, kojic acid 2%, vitamin C 0.5%, lactic acid 0.2%
- Demelan cream: kojic acid 2%, glycolic acid 10%, arbutin 5%
- Glyaha-HQ lotion: glycolic acid 10%, hydroquinone 2%
- Glyaha-Koj lotion: glycolic acid 10%, hydroquinone 2%, kojic acid 2%
- Kojivit topical gel: kojic acid dipalmitate 2% w/w, arbutin 1.5%, morus alba extract 1.5%
- Melalite: (multiple versions with hydroquinone)
- Niltan cream: liquorice extract 0.1%, arbutin 0.5 %