Sources of Skin Discoloration:
Whether directly or indirectly, the sun is the major cause of skin discoloration. UV rays tend to induce an overproduction of melanin, the primary pigmentation in skin. While melanin is necessary for providing a natural protection against harmful UV rays, individuals with naturally pale skin tend to express production of melanin in spots (rather than an evenly distributed production); this uneven overproduction of melanin is technically known as hyperpigmentation. Because of hyperpigmentation, so-called “sun spots” speckle and splotch the faces of many women. Other circumstances can also increase the likelihood of hyperpigmentation; for example, melasma is hyperpigmentation caused by hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.
Skin brighteners help minimize the problem of unsightly skin discolorations by lightening coloration differences while enhancing natural luminosity. As a result, women no longer have to spend hours attempting to use foundations and concealers to hide their natural skin. However, as with all cosmetic products, it is crucial to carefully investigate the ingredients in a skin brightener before investing in one.
Skin Brighteners to Avoid:
As a general precaution, do not purchase any skin brightener that uses hydroquinone, mercury, or Kojic acid among its active ingredients. All of these compounds have been proven to present more problems than they solve; safe and effective skin brighteners do not need to contain any of these substances. Hydroquinone is currently listed as a suspected carcinogen; applying it to skin may increase the risk of skin cancer, and while Kojic acid may minimize skin discolorations, it also irritates skin and causes it to appear inflamed and red. Mercury has been known to irritate skin and possibly cause nervous system complications.
Safe and Effective Skin Brightener Options:
Instead of purchasing a skin brightener made with any of the previously mentioned compounds, consider investing in one that has been proven to be both safe and effective. Such skin brighteners typically act in one of two ways: They either minimize already present discolorations, or they inhibit the expression of more melanin. (This latter effect is beneficial because an overproduction of melanin is the cause of hyperpigmentation.) Ideally, a skin brightener should include compounds that perform both of these functions. Biowhite and Gigawhite are both effective at performing the first function (reducing the appearance of skin discolorations) while Sepiwhite and Alpha Arbutin are able to block melanin overproduction. Additionally, a skin brightener should include some source of moisturizing properties, since properly moisturized faces tend to appear brighter and more radiant than their dry counterparts.
For best results when using a skin brightening product, regularly use a facial exfoliant in order to further improve skin radiance. Additionally, use a sunscreen on a daily basis, and remember to stay well hydrated at all times. Products that include vitamin A and E have also been proven to improve the appearance of facial skin.