What Do Brightening Products Really Do For Your Complexion?
With the multitude of skin care and brightening products on the market, it can be hard to find one that boasts your desired results and is right for your skin type. Hallie Gould at MIMI did the research and found the best brightening products available for every complexion.
One of the most prolific questions I'm asked as a beauty editor pertains to the idea of "brightening." I realized, after tons of explanation — each tailored to the specific person inquiring — that I wasn't completely clear on the definition myself. What exactly is a brightening product? And what does it do to your skin? I enlisted the help of both Rachel Nazarian of the Schweiger Dermatology Group and celebrity dermatologist and acne expert Whitney Bowe to get down to the bottom of it all.
The term "brightening" is used pretty loosely, and until you read the ingredients, you can't be sure what each product is doing. "'Brightening' might mean 'lightening', 'fading' or 'bleaching'," but not always, says Nazarian. Dr. Whitney Bowe adds, "Brightening products contain ingredients that act to block the production of pigment, or can actually help lift pigment out of the skin."
Let's start from the beginning. When someone has dark spots on their skin, it's most commonly due to two reasons. "One is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation — that's darkening caused by some sort of irritation or injury, such as acne or picking at your skin. It's a result of the cells releasing pigment and staining the skin." The second most common cause of dark spots on the skin is the sun — radiation causes darkening, leaving sun spots and freckles. Dark spots can also be caused by air pollution and even hormones because they can increase the product of melanin, leading to pigment in the skin. Depending on the type of skin you have, you may have a tendency to react more dramatically and release more pigment than others (for example, dark spots are more common among Latinas).