In recent years, the phrase “skin lightening” has become a controversial phrase, as many products claiming to lighten and whiten skin have been revealed to often contain harmful chemicals, such as mercury, bleach and hydroquinone.
However, there’s a crucial distinction between skin whitening and skin brightening. While skin whitening often involves the use of dangerous chemicals that interfere with your skin’s natural balance, skin brightening is merely the act of targeting discoloration and improving the circulation of tired, dull skin.
In this article, we’ll review some common skin brightening techniques, the best ingredients, and which of our products are the best for skin brightening.
Causes of Skin Discoloration
No matter your skin type, it’s normal for the dermis layer to occasionally appear dull and perhaps a little dry. This is natural, as skin cells, connective tissues are continually replaced, although sometimes they become rooted to the skin.
Dullness of the skin is also caused by the buildup of melanin, which can cause hyperpigmentation and discoloration, as well as a possible lack of circulation, draining the skin of its vitality. This can especially be hastened by exposure to free radicals, which affect the skin like rust, potentially causing premature aging.
Luckily, there are skin-brightening methods that can safely and effectively slough off dead skin cells, reduce melanin buildup and fight free radicals.
What Does “Skin Brightening” Mean?
Skin brightening is the use of a product to target hyperpigmented, discolored or uneven areas of the skin. Ideally, skin-brightening products are also formulated with ingredients that soothe the skin and further encourage cell turnover.
Skin Brightening Vs. Skin Whitening
Skin lightening, on the other hand, is a far more controversial method: not only for the dangerous chemicals they often entail, but also because of the segregatory standards it poses about skin tone.
Also known as skin bleaching, skin lightening products often contain hydroquinone, which generally works by stopping all melanin production, which is a natural function of the body. Not to mention the potential liver and kidney damage it can cause in the long run. Plus, they can cause dermatitis, redness and inflammation.
Hydroquinone can be listed under several different brand names, including Melanex, Alphaquin, and Claripel, and should be avoided.
To learn more about the differences between skin brightening and skin whitening, check out our blog here.
Common Methods for Skin Brightening
The use of manual exfoliation is probably the most straightforward way to remove dead skin cells. manual exfoliants employ the use of a dry brush or granules, like sugar, rice flour and oatmeal.
Manual exfoliants are not so highly recommended for the skin on the face, as they are often too abrasive and can result in microtears. However, manual exfoliants can be beneficial to the skin on your body, which isn’t as delicate as facial skin.
We may feel a bit jumpy at the word “chemical,” but chemicals are really what all skin care ingredients are! The important thing is too avoid harsh or comedogenic chemicals.
Chemical exfoliants help slough of dead skin cells and promote cell turnover. This is one of the best ways to even out and brighten your skin tone.
Antioxidants are indiespensable in skin care, primarily because of their ability to eliminate and prevent free radical damage. Antioxidants exist in several plant-based substances, including some of the chemical exfoliants listed below, like vitamin C.
Recommended Ingredients for a Brighter Complexion
The following ingredients are chemical exfoliants that brighten your skin naturally, by sloughing off dead skin cells and revitalizing the new skin underneath.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Alpha hydroxy acids are part of a series of natural and synthetic ingredients that can effectively exfoliate and renew the skin. AHAs are a group which includes glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid.
Kojic acid is a natural, fermented ingredient that’s produced by rice during the production of sake. Kojic acid is especially useful for its ability to inhibit excessive melanin production, so those who experience a lot of hyperpigmentation may benefit especially from this nutrient.
Vitamin C is one of those antioxidants you want to see both on your plate and in your skin care regimen. This ingredient is a true powerhouse, not only for its exfoliating abilities but also its antioxidant properties which help to brighten dull skin.
Vitamin C may also prevent future skin dullness, as it prevents the buildup of free radicals that cause premature skin aging.
Much like vitamin C, niacinamide is a highly versatile skin care ingredient. Niacinamide can even out skin tone, as well as improve the strength of your skin barrier against free radical damage.
Aloe vera is known for its antibacterial, moisturizing properties, but it may also be effective against hyperpigmentation. You can either use fresh aloe vera, or plant-based products containing them.
Hyaluronic acid is a sugar-derived skin care ingredient with unparalleled permeation abilities. It can strengthen the skin barrier and promote cell turnover, while promoting enhanced skin hydration and moisture retention.
Skin Care That Can Safely Brighten Skin
Flower Water Toner
Our toner combines hyaluronic acid and floral minerals to balance your skin’s pH levels and prep it for moisturizing.
This toner is also alcohol-free, and contains witch hazel, which helps purify your pores and reduce redness.
Vine Therapy Serum
Our signature serum contains both hyaluronic acid and aloe, in addition to algae, shea butter, and a bouquet of botanical extracts, introducing an array of beneficial vitamins, antioxidants, and gently-exfoliating ingredients to dull, discolored skin.
Restorative Facial Oil
Besides a wealth of nourishing, replenishing oils, this rejuvenating product also contains high volumes of antioxidants, especially from rose hip and pomegranate seed oil. This facial oil will keep pores clear and refreshed, and is suitable for all skin types.
While critical opinions on skin whiteners which damage skin and perpetuate racial stigma is justified, it shouldn’t scare individuals from skin brightening, which is safe and beneficial when done right.
You can slough off dead skin cells and encourage cell rejuvenation through the use of manual or (preferably) chemical exfoliant, and it’s recommended to also include antioxidants like retinol and vitamin C.
The most important thing to remember is to treat your skin with respect and allow it to be healthy. Skin becomes glowing and even when it’s well taken care!