A new facial spa just opened in my neighborhood (heaven!) and one of their top treatments is skin brightening. No surprise there since beauty editors and bloggers are touting brighteners as the answer to world peace. I’m not convinced global bickering will abruptly end if we all have perfect skin. But I can say we’ll at least feel better about ourselves. Can I get a fist bump?
If you’re frustrated by uneven skin tone caused by hyperpigmentation, sun spots, aging, acne scarring, or pregnancy hormones here are seven natural ingredients that actually work to lighten dark spots and give you back the glowing complexion you once had.
Vitamin C - beauty companies and spas love vitamin C because it has been shown to slow down hyperactive melanocytes. In regular English, that means the cells that produce melanin in the base layers of the skin. Melanin is what causes skin to darken. However, getting an effective vitamin C solution in beauty products can be tricky because it’s a bit unstable and may cause irritation to the skin if it has degraded. Unfortunately most beauty products don’t contain enough vitamin C to be of any use, anyway. Look for products with highly concentrated (10% or more), stabilized vitamin C. Note: These are usually very expensive!
Licorice root extract - Licorice isn’t just the black swizzled candy you remember from childhood. It’s actually a root with many medicinal properties that have been put to use for hundreds of years. The most recent discovery about licorice root is its ability to absorb UVA and UVB rays and lighten dark spots. It contains a compound called, glabridin, which decreases the production of melanin and balances skin cells. As a bonus, licorice root also controls oil production, making it great for oily or acne-prone skin.
Kojic Acid - this white powder comes from a fungus found in Asia. In Japan, many women use it as an alternative to the controversial skin whitener, hydroquinine. Kojic acid inhibits the protein responsible for producing melanin and it works its magic in as little as two weeks in some users.
Skin brighteners work best on clean, exfoliated skin. As with all skin brighteners, be sure to apply a broad spectrum sunblock with an SPF of 35 or higher when going out, rain or shine.
Want a really natural, effective skin brightener that contains kojic acid and licorice root? Try our Embrace Brightening Complex.