As if hitting the big 3-0 wasn’t scary enough, as all my friends and I hit that milestone, we started seeing changes in our skin, and not for the better! We began developing dark spots or melasma on our cheeks and forehead, leaving us wondering if it was years in the sun catching up to us, years on birth control, hormonal changes or something else…but we knew we wanted those spots gone. The good news is that in the past few years it seems that many women have complaints of dark spots, age spots and so on, prompting almost every brand under the sun to develop products to erase the spots.
So now, in addition to layering on the mineral sunscreen and wearing a hat when out in the sun, I also tested out some heavy hitters in the dark spot correction category. If you want to see spot run, here are my top picks:
I heard rumblings in the beauty world about elure for months, the hydroquinone-free, 3-step system. I couldn’t wait to try it out for myself. While not against hydroquinone, I figured a less harsh option for my somewhat sensitive skin would be great. I also liked the fact that it’s a system, so I didn’t have to figure out which other products to use with it…also great for travel (when checking bags), as three skincare products is pretty low-maintenance for me. .
elure contains a natural mushroom-derived enzyme, which breaks down discoloration without irritation. The elure line has been clinically researched and found to provide much faster appearance improvement when compared to other products on the market. The system includes a face wash, day lotion and night cream. I found the steps and products easy to use and saw noticeable improvement in my melasma and dark spots after about a month and I’ve seen more improvement with continued use. Not only did my dark spots (mostly on forehead and cheeks), look lighter but my skin looked more radiant and more even.
The system includes:
· elure Advanced Face Wash: A rich and creamy foam that removes dirt and dead skin cells. ($35)
· elure Advanced Brightening Lotion: Melanozyme™ brightens, softens, and retexturizes skin morning and night. (45 mL for $125)
· elure Advanced Brightening Night Cream: Has two parts: use the cream in container 1 first and then wait a minute and use the cream in container two – a little goes along way as its pretty thick for my combo skin but absorbs nicely. Also with Melanozyme™ to brighten and provide a dose of hydration. (50 mL for $125)
Available at dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and other aesthetic Elure providers along with http://www.elureskin.com, http://www.dermpoint.com and http://www.skinfo.com. The products range from $35-$125.
For those that are interested in a product that’s effective, low maintenance, contains Hydroquinone and is very cost effective, look no further than MD Complete Dark Spot Remover. This full-face treatment serum helps fade unwanted dark spots, freckles and sun damage while evening and brightening overall skin tone for a more youthful and healthy-looking complexion. The product combines a concentrated complex mix of vitamins B, C and E, antioxidants (Black raspberry and pomegranate), peptides and dark spot clearing ingredients for faster, better results with one simple product.
I loved this product because again, it was easy to use (one product!), great for travel and allowed me to test out hydroquinone without having to worry about harsh side effects. Apply the cream every other day in the evening only for the first two weeks and then on week three begin using it every evening. Then gradually increase to using the cream twice a day for best results…applying a PEA SIZE amount each time to cover entire face or dark spot areas. Always use sunscreen but especially when using this product in the AM. Give the product time to work and as you gradually increase how often you use it, you WILL see results.
Dr. David Bank, Board Certified Dermatologist, notes that “one of the ‘gold-standards’ for lightening and brightening the skin remains retinol (vitamin A). This works through a combination of exfoliating off the superficial more heavily pigmented cells, as well as by evening out the pigmentation. The other “gold-standard” is hydroquinone, which inhibits the formation of new pigment, thus allowing the old pigment to be dissolved. Whatever modality one chooses, it is important to block the cells from light, especially sunlight, as this is one of the major causes of increased pigmentation. So, be sure you wear a high SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen every day.”
MD Complete is available at Target stores, http://www.Target.com and MDCompleteSkincare.com for $40.
I first heard about LaNeige through some other beauty editors rave reviews. I thought the packaging was beautiful, the fact that the line is from Korea and based on water science sounded perfectly Pisces and right up my alley…but would it help lighten my dark spots in time for my upcoming weddings and special occasions?
The brand first launched in Korea in 1994 and has since expanded its global presence to 14 countries at 600 department and free-standing stores. Their motto is helping consumers achieve younger, more radiant skin through patented Advanced Water Science™ Technology to hydrate, protect and revitalize all skin types. While their products address a variety of skin concerns, the one I was most interested in was of course, brightening. The brightening skincare line restores skin’s glowing, natural radiance by replenishing moisture and providing powerful UVA/UVB protection.
The Brightening Renewal Emulsion hydrates and renews lost radiance from within while plant-derived brightener manassantin B reduces melanin production. Over time, dark spots, unevenness and discoloration fade away; skin is renewed, transparent. This is a great daytime moisturizer, very light and silky; you just need a sunscreen with it.
The Bright Renew Original Serum contains an active brightening complex Melacrusher that gently eliminates and blocks pigmentation while retexturing and reviving skin’s ideal tone. Luminosity is restored; skin appears radiant, glowing. Again, a great, super light serum! I used this alone a night too when my skin was feeling too greasy for two-steps.
The Water Sleeping Mask is a highly concentrated, ionized mineral water and ceramide mask that delivers an intensive dose of moisture to stressed, parched skin. Aromatic Sleepscent — orange flower, rose and sandalwood — rejuvenates while apricot and chestnut extracts brighten and purify fatigued skin. The result: skin looks and feels radiant, refreshed. Wake up to soft, glowing skin with Water Sleeping Mask. I used this mainly on my forehead and cheeks which tend to be the driest and woke up with moisturized, glowing skin, LOVE. Use once or twice a week after the above two steps.
To learn more visit Laneige.com; the brightening products are available at Target and http://www.Target.com for $23-$45.
boscia is a comprehensive line of skincare that contains willowherb, a unique anti-irritant, and jojoba leaf, a strong and effective antioxidant. The line combines the strength of cutting-edge botanicals and the latest scientific research to help its customers achieve healthy skin.
boscia Bright White Mask
A brightening peel-off mask that helps to visibly even skin tone and diminish the appearance of hyperpigmentation. The mask instantly plumps dull skin and helps dehydrated skin look taut. The mask has sea fern algae to reduce spots, stay C-50 to brighten, salcornia to increase skins natural moisture, along with gel White B to exfoliate and purify the skin. Apply a generous, even layer to clean, dry skin – avoiding hairline and eyebrows – and leave on for 20-30 minutes, then peel off and rinse off any residue. Use once or twice a week. What’s not to love? The peel-off factor reminds me of the masks I used to use at sleep away camp, except this one isn’t just easy and fun, it’s effective!
boscia B.B. Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 27 PA++
This one-step BB cream creates a flawless finish as it hydrates, firms, and soothes the skin, while helping to diminish the appearance of pores, fine lines, and uneven skin tone while providing long-wearing, natural coverage that conceals imperfections. The self-adjusting shade is good for all skin types and I was amazed how it effortlessly blended into my skin tone. It contains Arbutin, an antioxidant to help brighten hyperpigmentation and reduce fine lines, along with licorice roots to reduce dark spots. It has titanium dioxide, a physical sunscreen, which is also crucial to protecting skin from aging and dark spots. A perfect do-it-all and even though the tube looks small, I’ve had it for over a month and it’s still going strong…a little goes a long way.
boscia products are available at http://www.boscia.com and Sephora stores, Sephora.com; both products retail for $38.
Obagi is a specialty pharmaceutical company founded over 25 years ago with a range of products that are designed to minimize the appearance of premature skin aging, skin damage, hyperpigmentation, acne, and sun damage. I found the Professional-C Peptide Complex easy to incorporate into my routine. It’s gentle, yet effective, and can easily be used under moisturizers/sunscreen or just alone before makeup (that contains SPF of course). It goes on smoothly and leaves skin noticeably glowy. I saw a reduction in uneven skin tone in less than a month
Obagi Professional- C Peptide Complex ($110) contains a unique blend of ingredients that help minimize the signs of skin aging, promoting a healthy, youthful glow. It contains the following highly effective ingredients:
· Vitamin C – Brightens skin tone
· Kinetin – Minimizes fine lines and wrinkles
· Zeatin – Clinically proven to slow external, visible signs of aging
Obagi products are available only through physician’s offices; to find a physician near you visit obgi.com.
Editor’s note: I tested all of these items on different dark spots and/or at different times this for 2 months or more. The reviews are 100% my honest feedback and opinions.