Some of you will have experienced dull, lackluster, uneven skin tone at some point in your time. Well, I have been there, done it and even bout the t-shirt. I often write about my skin woes, and that’s because over the years I have been plagued by all manner of skin ailments, including dull and heavily hyper-pigmented skin/uneven skin tone. That’s what then led to my deep interest in the beauty world and beauty products in general; what products are best, how they work, why they work and so on and so forth.
Being prone to acne, skin that’s easily aggravated and scarred, uneven skin tone, I have over the years gone to work looking for effective yet safe skin care products in a bid to reverse years of damage and also to maintain the good results. One of the skin care products I refuse to be without is skin brighteners, not to be confused with skin whiteners.
So What Exactly Do Skin Brighteners Do?
Skin brighteners work to reverse damage to skin caused by UV rays, fade unsightly marks left behind by acne and also refresh and revitalize dull complexion. The popularity of skin brighteners over skin bleaching agents has gained paced over recent years for their safety and use of safer, often natural ingredients. These are products that will not give you overnight results and may not erase all your skin problems, but will work to substantially overhaul the quality of your skin in a safe manner.
Some exfoliate and slough away dead skin cells that give your skin that dull appearance. This also allows your other products to penetrate the skin and work better for you. Unlike some of the harsher, more aggressive products such as hydroquinone, skin brighteners may mean you have to also have some specialized facials or chemical peels to get your skin to exactly where you want it. I personally like skin brighteners because they are safer and kinder to my skin.
Ingredients Industry Experts Recommend
Alpha Hydroxy Acids such as glycolic acid slough off dead skin cells which collect on the skin’s surface, leading to dull, tired looking skin. They work to loosen dead skin cells, to give way to fresher, more glowing skin. Different types of glycolic acids occur naturally in fruits, milk and sugar cane. Glycolic acid although good, can be a little harsh for sensitive skin, for which lactic acid may be the better option. Some alpha hydroxy ingredients like papaya, which contains an enzyme that’s good at breaking down protein, are good for rapid cell turn over.
Azelaic Acid is another ingredient that is recommended for people whose skin is very sensitive. Often recommended to people of colour, the beauty of this ingredient is that it’s said to target only dark problem areas and will not lighten healthy skin. Azelaic acid is also unique in that respect, as it’s believed to be the only ingredient that behaves in that fashion. It’s been found to soothe rosacea, too.
Melanozyme, a mushroom derivative which is also unique in that it’s the only ingredient known to dissolve melanin on the skin’s surface. I personally don’t have any first hand experience with this ingredient, but I admit it kind of scares me a little. I’m also a little hesitant to try it, as it’s said to give the fastest results; while most brighteners typically take two months and over to show results, melanozyme is said to work in four weeks!
Vitamin C comes in different types; aside from Vitamin C, there’s also L-ascorbic acid and ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is a water-soluble, natural anti-oxidant that protects skin from free radicals and is believed to help collagen production. It’s been proven to be highly effective in brightening skin and ridding it of discolouration. It also works hand in hand with your sunscreen to increase its efficacy in protecting your skin against harmful UV rays. This is a personal favourite of mine.
Vitamin B3 or Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties, and as some of you may know, inflammation is the root of many unsightly skin problems. Once skin is traumatised, the inflammation resulting from that can leave it scarred or hyper-pigmented. This ingredient has been shown to be something of a wonder ingredient in that it tackles a whole catalogue of skin problems, among them uneven skin tone. Some of you will be happy to know that it doesn’t inhibit melanin production, but rather works over time to tackle dark marks and uneven skin tone, leaving skin substantially more even toned and brighter.
All in all, when looking to clear up your skin in order to even it out and give it a fresher, younger looking appearance, you need to look out for products that will exfoliate the dead skin cells, allowing your products to penetrate skin better and give you the best results. You also need to look out for ingredients that will target the problem areas. Combining those two aspects will ultimately give you the desired effects, leaving your skin glowing and more even. Lastly, always apply a generous amount of high factor sunscreen to guard against the reversal of all the hard work you’ve put into your skin!
Picture Credit: Krista Krushinski
Beautiful Skin, Model: Ceyonna Toler, https://flic.kr/p/93JDM4