What Does Skin Brightening Do?
“Skin-brightening” is a term we see a lot in beauty products and their marketing. However, it seems to provide benefits like hydration, moisture, anti-aging… So what exactly do skin-brightening products do? Does it lighten the skin? Does it make the skin look more glowy? What does it mean for a product to brighten the skin? Actually, what does it even mean to have bright skin to start with? In this article, we’re going to take you through what exactly it means for skin to be bright and then go through what ingredients can help to brighten your skin!
What does it mean if a skincare product claims to be brightening?
The predicament of brightening skin products is sort of like a trend, it doesn’t really refer to someone specific like moisturizing or hydrating, but rather it is more of a look that people seem to like and find aesthetically pleasing in the beauty world. Brightening can mean a whole lot of different things, and here are some of the common functions that “brightening” products do or at least claim to:
Lighten the skin or pigmentation
This is the most extreme interpretation of the term brightening. Some brightening products do indeed claim to lighten the color of the skin, and some might even have bleaching properties. A more common application of this lightening effect in brightening products is to fade scars of hyperpigmentation. Brightening products aim to reduce the darkness of hyperpigmentation from acne scars, spots, age spots, and sun exposure. Products like this may work by lifting pigment out of the skin.
Formulated with 2% Hydroquinone and jojoba seed oil, this brightening cream works to reduce the look of hyperpigmentation and dark spots while moisturizing your skin.
Increase cell turnover rate
Some other brightening products have the main feature of increasing the rate of skin cell turnover. This is another common function of brightening products as having a faster cell turnover rate will help the topmost layer of damaged and dead skin cells to be removed. This top layer of dead skin cells often causes dullness of appearance. Speeding up the cell turnover refreshes and rejuvenates the skin to reveal fresh layers of skin underneath.
Gentle but thorough, the Salicylic Acid in this cleanser works to soften dead skin cells and absorb any excess sebum; leaving you with an even and balanced complexion.
Enhance luminosity and radiance with this face cream that has optimal diffusers to diminish the appearance of skin imperfections and give you a flawless glow.
Moisturize and hydrate the skin
Water and moisture are very crucial to our skin and having skin that is well-moisturized and hydrated can certainly look a lot brighter and fresher. When the skin is well-hydrated, the skin cells will swell and plump up with water which creates a “glass-skin” effect as light can reflect off these plump skin cells very nicely. Furthermore, moisturized skin means that the skin is soft, plump, and smooth which creates a bouncy and elastic appearance as opposed to dull, sallow, and dry skin which does not have the same light-reflective ability.
So as you can see, brightening products actually involve many functions. The trick is to find out what your particular skin concerns are and choose products that are tailored and targeted for addressing your skin concerns. Whether it be fading scars, improving your skin texture, or adding moisture, brightening products come in many different forms and there are the ideal ones for your skin type!
Hydrating and exfoliating, this exfoliant primes skin for optimal hydration with ingredients like Vitamin D and antioxidants. Plus, it strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier.
Enriched with Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, this lotion works to smooth and illuminate the texture of your skin while eliminating impurities.
How can brightening products help my skin?
If you are someone who suffers from some form of hyperpigmentation, some brightening products can be very helpful in reducing the look of it. There are many forms of hyperpigmentation. Some people have developed sun spots from overexposure to the sun in their younger days and now see dark spots on their face. Other people might have a lot of freckles that they do not like. Acne scars are another big cause of spots, as the inflammation from the acne will cause the skin to produce more melanin in the affected area while healing. And there are other conditions that cause hyperpigmentation such as melasma which occurs due to hormonal changes. If you suffer from a chronic condition like melasma (which often occurs during pregnancy), you will want brightening products in your arsenal of everyday skincare.
Improve the skin texture
Having dull-looking skin is often a result of our skin not being able to slough off the layers of dead skin cells quickly enough. When these layers of dry, dull, and damaged skin accumulate on the skin surface, it results in dull-looking skin. By using a brightening product that has the properties of stimulating skin cell turnover, you can aid the skin’s natural process and rejuvenate your skin at a faster rate!
Add moisture and hydration to the skin
As we noted above, beautiful, light-reflecting glass-skin is a result of having well-moisturized and hydrated skin. Manny brightening products often have potent moisturizing and hydrating ingredients to deliver that extra boost of hydration to the skin. Perhaps you have dry skin or a weak skin barrier due to sensitive skin, and your skin is often flaking and looking very sallow. Brightening products with moisturizing and hydrating abilities can be very useful in tackling this problem of skin that is not well moisturized or hydrated.
What Ingredients Should I Avoid and Look Out For?
There are certainly specific ingredients that you will want to use, and others that you should avoid.
Ingredients to Avoid
Hydroquinone is a very strong ingredient that is commonly used in skin-lightening or fading creams and treatments because it pretty much bleaches the skin. Very small percentages of it can be found in commercial products, while some prescription creams have higher doses of it. It is very strong and should only be used with the supervision of a dermatologist. You might lighten your skin too much and end up with lighter patches on the areas you used it on!
Ingredients to Use
Vitamin C is an excellent skincare product and essential vitamin for our health. It is also commonly associated with fading the scars of hyperpigmentation and having the ability to fight free radicals in the sun that damage our skin. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, so its benefits are very wide!
Glycolic or Lactic Acid
Glycolic acid is a superb exfoliant. It will remove the layers of dead and dull skin, allowing fresh layers of skin to come through and hence having a brightening effect. If you are someone with more sensitive skin, try using lactic acid instead as it is less intense and hence better suited.
Brightening the skin can have a multitude of functions and ingredients, but there are often a lot of misconceptions around what it really means to brighten the skin. Hopefully, this article has cleared your doubts and given you a better sense of what to look out for when shopping for products!
|1||Salameh Dark Spot Eraser 2.0|
Formulated with 2% Hydroquinone and jojoba seed oil, this brightening cream works to reduce the look of hyperpigmentation.
|2||Evidence Skincare Enlighten|
A tyrosinase inhibitor-based cream to lighten and brighten skin appearance and provide a more even skin tone.
|3||Dr. Barbara Sturm Darker Skin Tones Foam Cleanser|
Gentle but thorough, the Salicylic Acid in this cleanser works to soften dead skin cells and absorb any excess sebum.
|4||Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Prism Cream|
Enhance luminosity and radiance with this face cream that has optimal diffusers to diminish the appearance of skin imperfections.
|5||Dermalogica Hydro Masque Exfoliant|
Hydrating and exfoliating, this exfoliant primes skin for optimal hydration with ingredients like Vitamin D and antioxidants.
|6||Dior Diorsnow Brightening Light-Activating Micro-Infused Lotion|
Enriched with Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, this lotion works to smooth and illuminate the texture of your skin.