Whenever we catch a glimpse of celebrities strolling the red carpet at award shows and movie premieres, it’s not just their stunning gowns and skyscraper heels that catch our eyes. Under all those bright lights and barrage of flash bulbs, it’s their glowing skin that really inspires envy – especially if you find a dull, lackluster complexion staring back at you in the bathroom mirror.
Whether you’re getting older, worship the sun, or smoke, your skin can become dull for a variety of reasons. Having a bright, clear complexion isn’t impossible, though it does require the right products to bring a little life back to your skin.
Some of most common brightening ingredients are alpha hydroxy acids (AHA). These acids are naturally derived from the sugars in fruit and milk, and work as chemical exfoliators on the skin. AHAs can actually help your skin shed dead cells – if you have dull, dry or discolored skin, the acids get rid of the old layers so fresh, brighter skin beneath can be revealed. Two of the most commonly used AHAs are glycolic acid, derived from sugar cane, and lactic acid, derived from milk. They are widely used because they’re especially effective in penetrating the skin for more effective exfoliation and brightening.
But while they’re extremely effective in brightening the complexion, alpha hydroxy acids can cause irritation, including redness and itching, and leave your skin more sensitive to sun damage. To avoid irritation, use products with an AHA concentration of no more than 10%. It’s also important to wear sunscreen daily when you’re using AHAs to brighten your skin.
The gloTherapeutics Brightening Serum is one the best AHA-based brightening products. It contains both glycolic and lactic acids, as well as botanical brighteners like mulberry bark and bearberry extracts to really boost the serum’s effectiveness. You can use it up to twice a day depending on your needs and skin sensitivity. For the most powerful brightening regime, use in it in conjunction with gloTherpeutic’s Brightening Polish.
Like AHAs, vitamin C is one of the most common – and potent – brightening ingredients found in skin care products. As an antioxidant that fights free radical damage, vitamin C not only brightens your skin, but helps prevent future damage that can dull your complexion too. However, the key to brightening with vitamin C is to use products that contain a high enough concentration of the vitamin to work effectively and are stored in metal-lined containers so sunlight can’t cause oxidation. Polish.
Dermalogica’s MAP-15 Regenerator is a potent vitamin C-charged skin brightener. It contains an extremely high concentration of magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a highly effective form of vitamin C that penetrates the skin to help dramatically improve brightness and clarity. It is meant to be a spot treatment, so you can dab it on problem areas after cleansing. However, if you want to use it for all over brightening, mix a pea-sized amount in with your regular moisturizer to turn it into a brightening agent.
If you need a little extra brightening power, Dermalogica Extreme C may be a better option. Its unique powder to emulsion formula contains a high concentration of magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, along with other antioxidants like white tea, that help boost its brightening power and fight future dullness. You can dab the powder directly on problem areas for a targeted spot treatment, or mix a small amount in with your usual moisturizer to use it all over your face.