Whether you’re in your 20s or your 60s, your skin’s overall brightness and evenness can vary depending on certain skin conditions as well as unprotected sun exposure. Some people use the term liver spots or age spots to describe patches of skin darkening, but hyperpigmentation (i.e. excess pigmentation) can also be caused by scarring, acne, and melasma.
To put it simply, our skin responds to different conditions by producing melanin, a type of pigment that can result in freckles, spots, or patches that are noticeably darker than the surrounding skin. No matter the cause of the increased melanin production, most of are looking for products that eliminate it entirely or at least make it less obvious. The goal: healthy looking skin without dark discoloration.
Over the years, dermatologists and DIYers have experimented with various treatments to restore that flawless even skin tone. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way and have a multitude of options to choose from that lighten and brighten darkness while supporting overall skin health.
- One of the original skin lighteners, hydroquinone, came under fire by the FDA in 2006 and resulted in only certain concentrations being available without a prescription. Although it has been successfully utilized for years, some research suggests a link between hydroquinone and cancer, which is why Epibright does not contain this ingredient. For this reason, its usage is becoming less common, and it has even been banned in several countries. General recommendations suggest that you use it for only a short period of time (2–3 months). It’s often found in creams that are used to treat skin darkening due to pregnancy or birth control pill usage, but most cosmetics companies no longer include it in their formulations.
- Kojic acid, which is not an acid in the traditional sense, has excellent skin lightening properties. It is naturally derived from koji mushrooms (also known as Aspergillus oryzae in Asia) and contains antioxidants that work well in tandem with other skin lightening ingredients. Most products contain .1 percent to 2 percent concentrations and are generally well tolerated without causing skin irritation.
- Alpha arbutin has also become increasingly popular as a stand-alone treatment, but it works synergistically with other ingredients to inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme that causes skin darkening. While alpha arbutin is a synthetic compound, bearberry extract is a naturally derived tyrosinase disrupter that also offers a limited amount of UV protection. Just be sure to continue using sunscreen because existing skin damage can be made worse by further sun exposure.
- Another popular natural skin lightening ingredient is licorice root. In addition to blocking melanin production, it soothes irritated skin, calms redness due to acne breakouts, and offers mild UV protection.
- Last, but not least, kojic dipalmitate is a key ingredient in many lightening creams, including Epibright. Kojic dipalmitate penetrates skin at a deeper level, resulting in more dramatic longer-lasting results.
While science continues to make breakthroughs in skin care, it’s important to stay current on ingredients that can make a real difference in your skin. By knowing what’s in your serums or creams, you’ll be better able to choose products to suit your needs. If you have questions about Epibright, please let us know. We’re happy to help.