This Summer has been great for me from the perspective of minimal sun exposure…we have had so much rain that it has only been in the last month that the sun has really had a chance to make an impact. I do sun myself in the early morning and late afternoon – I need the vitamin D and the emotional “shine” that comes from sunshine. But really, I am mostly freckle and sun-damage free. Good news for me however, I have had so many people ask me about skin brightening and preventing pigmentation – what works, is there anything natural, how long it takes and what to do to prevent dark spots and sun damage next Summer?
I have written an article about the individual ingredients that assist with skin brightening before. You can read that here: My Skin Lightening Experiment
In this blog I am going to review 3 skin-brightening products and discuss how they are best used. I will just note that I use the terms “lightening” or “brightening” with reference to pigmentation only as opposed to lightening the natural skin tone.
Prevention/Sun Damage: La Mav Brightening Complex – this product is more effective for evening out skin tone rather than lightening specific pigmentation areas. It is effective for helping to prevent sun damage and inhibiting melanin formation. Use this to prevent damage or for evening skin tone.
Melasma/Sun Spots/Small Area Sun Damage: Devita Skin Brightening Serum – this product is specifically designed to help fight the appearance of Hyperpigmentation that is primarily caused by hormones, birth control pill use, chemical peels, waxes etc. SBS works using the natural skin lighteners Kojic acid and Arbutin which work synergistically to help break-up hyperpigmentation, along with Emblica fruit extract, a proven skin lightener, all which help give the look of a balanced skin tone. SBS is applied to small areas or for spot application. One bottle will last up to 6 months.
Chemical Peel Discolouration/Large Facial Area Sun Damage: Devita Complex KBA – this is from the Devita professional Rx range. It has been formulated to lighten the appearance of skin, which has been discoloured from chemical peels, age spots, sun-spots and freckles. A cream rather than a serum, it spreads over the entire face rather than being used for spot or area application.
Remember any skin lightening treatment takes up to 8-10 weeks to see significant effects.
This question from a customer is interesting because it details a number of skin issues at once and the question is then, what to do first? Can everything be managed at once? I have a method for improving pretty much any skin condition or issue that I am asked about and I have outlined it below. It starts at the foundation of good skin health and progresses from there. This questions illustrates the process:
Q: Firstly, thank you for all the excellent information you provide via your blog, newsletter and mini skin care course. It really is very good especially since there is so much (misleading) information out there. My email is regarding the following:
I have been using Akin products for some time now but I think it is time for change. I am 36 and I have noticed that my skin condition has changed significantly in the last 5 years. I think I need to change to skin care specifically for slowing the ageing process.
I have very dry skin (I often reapply moisturizer in the afternoon), my skin is losing elasticity, wrinkles are certainly visible, I have some sun damage and hormone spots from pregnancies. I am fair and my skin is delicate.
Can you help me with advice on:
A: Reading your e-mail I suggest we work with the skin issues you have outlined in the following way (in order of priority):
1. repair dehydration and correct nutrient status – at the very outset, this will help your skin to plump out and look younger. It is also the basis for healthy skin.
2. correct sun damage – this will take about 3 months but will really make a difference to your skin. Sun damage is a visible sign of skin ageing. It is at this stage that any other skin issues are addressed e.g. pigmentation, rosacea, irritation
3. support slow ageing – some of what we do above will be slow ageing but once your skin is hydrated and sun protected, we can look at longer term slow aging. The reason I put anti-aging 3rd is that by addressing the other issues (if they are present) you will achieve healthier, younger looking skin anyway. Then we can start with specific anti-aging skin care.
For dry skin, choose a lotion cleanser instead of a gel cleanser. The AUM Brightening Cream Cleanser is ideal as it also contains enzymes to help clear congestion and reduce sun damage but is gentle on dry skin at the same time. Use an oil serum at night to help improve the moisture holding capacity of the skin cells. You can apply the serum instead of a night cream. Any serum you use should sink into the skin completely within 5 minutes. Remedica Regenerate Visage will nourish the skin deeply and more than that, help improve the skin cell health due to the high antioxidant and essential fatty acid levels. Then address sun damage. I suggest a moisturiser with a natural sunscreen agent such as Devita Solar Protect (SPF 30). If it feels too light, use half a pump of Regenerate Visage and then apply the Solar Protect over the top.
With existing sun damage you have a couple of options. You can cover it up (and I am going to suggest a make up below) and/or you can fade back the pigmentation using a natural skin brightening serum. I used the Devita Skin Brightening Serum with great effect myself this year. Pigmentation I thought would never fade has and I have skin quite similar to yours – fair & dry.
It will take about 3 weeks for you to really see a difference in your skin hydration and at about 3 months, the pigmentation should start to fade back significantly. After 4-6 months we can look at some more specific slow aging products such as vitamin C serums etc but until then, they won’t be as effective as they could be.
I would love to hear if you have a similar story and what you have done to manage either dry or pigmented skin.
I have been experimenting with products of late and one of the product groups I have tried over the last 4 months is skin lightening creams. Now don’t be alarmed, of course I used only natural products that contain herbal or vitamin skin whitening ingredients. There were no skin bleaches such as uric acid or hydroquinone in any product I put on or even near my skin. These ingredients are potentially damaging to the skin. Nor do I in any way promote the use of lightening agents for the purpose of making overall skin tone lighter. However to help manage pigmentation and age spots, they can be useful. So the results of my experiment: I just wish I had taken before and after photos of my skin. As I didn’t I will just have to explain…and so back to January.
Over summer, despite my best efforts I always get freckles. This year after two weeks at the beach I not only had freckles but also light brown pigmentation all over my cheeks and nose that almost joined the freckles together. From a distance it looked like I had applied brown blush all over my cheekbones. I have the type of skin that burns when I look at the sun, so I am careful to protect it using sunscreen, hats and often long sleeve shirts or an umbrella to cover up. Living in Queensland still makes it hard to avoid sun damage and so over the years I have developed some light sun spots on my forehead and the side of my face. My hands and arms are also covered in permanent freckles that don’t fade anymore. I have grown to accept this about my skin and so generally don’t get too worried about it. However, this January I decided that I was going to see if skin lighteners really worked (I don’t recommend things I can either prove on myself or find the appropriate research for). Over the next 3 months I applied a skin whitening cream to my face and the backs of my hands at night only. During the day I used a moisturizer with SPF 30.
The results were extraordinary. After about 6 weeks I noticed that the background pigmentation on my cheeks had faded dramatically. After 3 months, it was like it had never existed and all the normal freckles I have had gone as well. I have to stress, this pigmentation was not long term or hormonal pigmentation but nonetheless I hadn’t expected such a remarkable result. My hands started to look freakish because they were so much paler than my arms…so I stopped it and just used on my face. It is now May and some of the long term sun damage areas have faded. There is only one remaining that is on my nose near my eye and I think this is more about not applying the cream properly rather than the cream not working. In any case I am stoked with the results!
Naturally I wanted to know how lightening products worked so I researched the key ingredients:
The process of normal skin colouration is extensive and occurs in various stages. Usually most skin lightening treatment will target several stages of this process at once. The most crucial step is the first where tyrosinase converts to tyrosine and by blocking this step, it follows that you can block the entire melanin formation process. Then as skin cells die and turn over, new lighter skin cells come to the surface. This is why the process of lightening the skin takes up to 4 months. Skin cell turnover is approximately 90-120 days. If you choose to try a skin lightening cream or serum to manage pigmentation, be aware that it will take time so don’t expect overnight results.
I do want to make a note about hormonal pigmentation. While the ingredients I discuss above may help reduce pigmentation, unless the underlying driver of the pigmentation is addressed and any hormonal imbalance is normalised, it is likely to return.
The cream I used to get these results is Devita Rx Complex KBA Hyperpigmentation Formula. It is a moisturiser as well so I didn’t need to apply anything over the top. There is also a Devita Skin Brightening Serum that contains the same ingredients designed for use under moisturisers. I have ceased using the lightening cream over winter but continue to use an SPF 30 moisturiser. I am considering starting to use it again in the lead up to summer as a way of minimizing the effects of sun exposure.
I would love to hear if you have had any experiences with lightening creams that have work, or not.Twitter It!
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