Should you brighten your skin with vitamin C or niacinamide? What about azelaic acid or arbutin? Discover the best brightening ingredient for you below, whether your main concern is acne scarring, a dull complexion, melasma or simply getting and even tone skin.
One of the most common skin goals is to have brighter skin. When you ask anyone how they wish their skin looked, the idea of a shinier, more radiant, and even complexion always comes up.
There are a few approaches you can take to achieve the luminous skin of your dreams. Here, we’ll break down some of the most common brightening ingredients to help you decide which ones are right for you.
Vitamin C is the best antioxidant for general brightening and preventing signs of ageing.
By far the most well-known brightening ingredient is vitamin C. Vitamin C is well-known for its ability to aid in the healing of the skin, making it an effective dark spot fighter.
Vitamin C, on the other hand, does more than just brighten skin. It’s high in antioxidants, which help fight free radical damage, and it boosts collagen production, making it a powerhouse for anti-aging. No wonder every dermatologist loves this ingredient. You can find collagen products to go with the Vitamin C for a boosted brightness and a firm skin.
Vitamin C comes in a variety of forms, some of which are more irritating than others. If you are more sensitive, look for products that are in the form of a powder rather than a serum, or that contain vitamin C in the form of ascorbyl glucoside or ethylated L-ascorbic acid. If you’re already used to Vitamin C, you can try a more direct form, such as L-ascorbic acid.
Whatever you choose, make sure to use sunscreen on top because the potent ingredient makes your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Niacinamide is most effective for acne, spots, scars and pores.
Niacinamide, a form of Vitamin B3 and a personal favourite of mine, is not only great for brightening the skin but also for keeping it clear! Notably, it is well-known for regulating sebum production and reducing oiliness without drying out the skin, making it an ideal ingredient to include for those who are oily and acne-prone, but also want to erase the scars of previous breakouts.
In the case of hyperpigmentation, niacinamide works by interfering with pigment transfer at the cellular level, effectively reducing the amount of melanin transferred to a concentrated area. When exposed to sunlight, it reduces melanin production, preventing existing dark marks from worsening and new ones from forming.
Alpha Arbutin is best for sensitive skin and when combined with other strong ingredients.
When it comes to lightening dark spots, alpha arbutin is a great ingredient to look for in your products. It not only works quickly on its own, but unlike niacinamide and vitamin C, alpha arbutin can be combined with other potent products without causing irritation. In fact, it is encouraged in order to see greater results in a shorter period of time. To top it all off, alpha arbutin has antioxidant properties that help to slow down the ageing process. It’s a fantastic ingredient for easing the primary ageing concerns. Not only that, but alpha arbutin is non-irritating and can be used both morning and night.
Azelaic Acid is excellent for increasing cell turnover and treating hyperpigmentation, melasma and redness.
Azelaic acid, like niacinamide, is an excellent multi-tasker for those who prefer a simpler routine. Azelaic acid, an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid – a chemical exfoliant), is derived from grains and wheat and works to gently exfoliate the skin, improving texture and overall clarity, not to mention its brightening benefits. Because it inhibits melanin production, azelaic is effective in the treatment of hyperpigmentation and melasma. It is also anti-inflammatory, so it can aid in the reduction of redness caused by conditions such as rosacea or acne.
Because it is a direct form of acid, it is best used at night to avoid further exposing vulnerable skin to the sun and causing further damage.
If you want to reduce the appearance of sun damage or acne scars, or simply make your skin look less dull, brightening ingredients are essential, but there are so many to choose from. Take this information into account as you search for the ideal product to add to your regimen. May your skin be free of blemishes and glowing!