Your guide to a brightening skin care routine that tackles pigmentation
A+ ingredients and products
Lifestyle Editor, Woman's Day / July 16 2020
On a mission to even out your skin tone and have your face shining bright like a diamond?
Then let us introduce the brightening skin care ingredients you’ll need to help improve any hyperpigmentation – that’s the irregular darkening of the skin caused by the overproduction of melanin (the pigment behind skin and hair colour) which can cause dark patches and/or spots across the skin.
FYI: The overproduction of melanin can be caused by sun exposure, hormones, pollutants or scarring.
So, let's dive in...
According to the experts at Dermalogica, exposing your unprotected skin to the sun is the number one culprit behind hyperpigmentation.
When your skin is repeatedly exposed to the UV rays of the sun, damage occurs in the form of melanin over-production – resulting in brown spots and uneven skin tone.
Make sure each morning before makeup (or even when you’re going fresh-faced) you’re applying a face sunscreen or moisturiser with a Broad Spectrum SPF of 30 or above - like the Dermalogia Solar Defence SPF50 Booster - to prevent new hyperpigmentation spots.
Using an exfoliator containing salicylic acid once a week will help remove any dead skin cells and reveal a brighter, smoother complexion.
"If you have dry, bumpy skin, you may need something which contains both chemical and physical exfoliants," says Dr Sandra Lee aka ‘Dr Pimple Popper’ – celeb dermatologist and founder of SLMD Skincare tells Forbes. "While those who are prone to acne should avoid physical exfoliants as they tend to be more abrasive and could irritate inflamed skin.”
For a chemical exfoliant, try the Paula's Choice Paula's Choice, 25% AHA + 2% Exfoliant Peel
For a physical exfoliant, try the Alkira Pore Refining Facial Scrub
Work either into your routine as an extra step after cleansing every second or third day.
A pure form of vitamin A, retinol has many skin-loving qualities – it firms and reduces unclogs pores and help to even out any redness or hyperpigmentation on the face.
Dermatologists suggest using retinol as part of a wider skin care routine that suits your skin type, including your sunscreen (nope, we won’t let the importance of SPF go!). It's best applied at night as it can cause sun sensitivity.
This alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) helps to ramp up collagen production and breaks down dead skin cells to reveal even, bright skin underneath.
"It’s incredible for treating acne, fading dark spots and superficial scars, even early fine lines," Dr. Laura Scott, Miami-based dermatologist tells Forbes.
You can visit a dermatologist once a month for a higher-medical grade glycolic acid peel, or DIY using an at-home gentle peel, like the Alpha-H Liquid Gold, once a week.
The tried and true vitamin C!
You’ve probably already heard about this hero ingredient thanks to its epic brightening qualities. The antioxidant properties in vitamin C assist in the skin’s natural regeneration process and production of collagen and elastin – leaving the skin supple and hydrated.
Vitamin C can also help fight hyperpigmentation, as it contains a property that works with your melanin production to help prevent dark spots from forming.
"It's a superior brightening agent that works to fade brown spots without altering normal skin pigmentation," New York City-based dermatologist Howard Sobel tells Allure.
For best results, apply in the morning in the form of a moisturiser or serum, like the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, before following with (you guessed it) SPF.
Now you’re equipped with all the brightening and skin evening info – go forth and glow! Just be sure to consult a dermatologist before making changes to your skin care routine.
Main image credit: @shaninamshaik
Once your face is glowing, why not get the rest of your body looking hydrated and lush...
Gabriella is the Lifestyle Editor at Woman's Day magazine. When she's not scrolling through countless beauty websites, lusting over the latest releases and adding far too much to her cart, you'll find her binge watching makeup tutorials on YouTube.