I don’t know about you, but I love walking out of a spa with radiant skin. Sadly, bi-monthly facials fell by the wayside post-kids so it became that much more important to use good products at home. Skincare is a lot like diet and exercise—it is easier to maintain your skin’s health if you keep up with it. I am sharing the 9 best skincare products for brightening, aging and hyperpigmentation, what to look for in your skincare products and my favorite tip from the first esthetician I went to.
Give Skin What It Needs
Keep in mind that skin changes based on the season, temperature, sun exposure, and age, so what you did last month or last week may not work today. Sometimes skins needs a little shock to force change. When I asked the first esthetician that I ever saw for her best piece of skincare advice, she said, “I give my skin what it needs. I mix up my products.” A skincare routine is great, but ultimately you need to listen to your skin. When it’s dry, give it moisture, dull, give it some Vitamin C or use a glycolic acid wash and so forth. Make sure your “routine” it changes as your skin does.
Quality, Not Quantity Is What Makes an Effective Skincare Product
Products do not need to break your bank account to work, but you will pay for quality. Quality comes down to a few things: ingredients, purity of the ingredients, and is the product backed by science and tested. There are some products that may not be tested and that does not make them bad, but it is important that you start with quality ingredients that are the correct ones to treat your skin concerns.
The Right Ingredients Matter
For skincare products to be effective, the active ingredient needs to be in the product. For example, Vitamin C. Many products will claim to have Vitamin C in them, but in reality, they contain a doctored version of the ingredient. The purer the ingredients you use on your skin, the more effective they will be at doing their job. You may spend $35 on a product that you have heard is decent, and get more of it, but you will end spending more to repurchase it and you are also likely to end up having to use more of it.
How Much of the Actual Ingredient is In the Product?
There also needs to be enough of the active ingredient to be effective. Most OTC products contain a lower percentage of the active ingredient because they are not being sold by a doctor and therefore the products are limited in how much they can contain. Vitamin C products that contain 10% or higher of L-Asorbic Acid are going to the be more effective. However, it is also important to keep in mind that do not want 100% purity of certain products because they could harm your skin. Proper balance is important.
For more on active ingredients, the Cleveland Clinic shared a comprehensive list of skincare ingredients.
Purchasing products that have been clinically tested versus consumer tested, and are based in science, are typically going to be more effective at treating your skin concern. Companies that clinically test their products will generally be more expensive, but you are paying for the assurance that the products work. If you have never tried a product before, look for skincare brands that are doing clinical testing versus consumer testing. Most consumer testing is self-reported with consumers saying, “Yes, I saw a change.” If that is the case, there is no way to verify the results.
Pop Sugar shared some information on clinical testing. In a nutshell, clinical trials prove effectiveness and most doctors would recommend a product backed by science versus one that is only consumer tested.
The Best Skincare Products for Brightening and Radiance
Your skin will naturally start to look duller with age. It is sad, but true; especially, when seasons change and your skin re-adjusts. To brighten your skin and help skin look more radiant, Vitamin C is one of the key ingredients to use. There are other ingredients that will brighten, but Vitamin C, L-Asorbic Acid, more specifically, is a workhorse, and it helps protects skin and fight aging.
Skinceuticals C+ E Ferulic ($166)
When it comes to the mothership of skincare products, Skinceuticals definitely knows how to drive. The company hit the quality trifecta. It does a ton a clinical research to back claims, they use pure and effective ingredients and they use enough of the actual ingredients to ensure products will work. They use a mix of ingredients that compliment Vitamin C. It has 15% L-Asorbic Acid and it is one of the top products you can buy. Skinceuticals adds Vitamin E and Ferulic acid to help the Vitamin C work more effectively and to ensure the product The combination will minimize sun damage, protect skin from the environment, in addition to overall brightening. With regular use it will stimulate collagen production, which minimizes fine lines and wrinkles. Note: Make sure you buy from an authorized retailer (linked) because there are counterfeit products out there.
Epicuren CXC Vitamin C Complex ($41)
Epicuren is one of my favorite skincare brands of all-time. It is the first professional skincare product line I purchased. It’s all natural, they do a ton of product research and it safe for pregnant women. This product is formulated to protect from UV, pollution and helps to brighten the skin and fight aging. It is non-toxic, lightweight and moisturizing. It will give your skin a radiant glow. It does contain fragrance.
Revision C+ Correcting Complex 30% ($160)
Revision Skincare uses the best ingredients, highest quality and their products are carried in many medspas. I first used their product while working with a medspa. This is a line I trust and have seen improvements from using. This product will help with aging, protection and will improve radiance.
BioBare Vitamin C, B, E & Ferulic Serum ($49)
Not only is this product reasonably priced, it contains 20% L-Asrobic Acid, which is the Vitamin C ingredient you really want to help brighten and fight aging, and it contains Vitamin, Ferulic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid (holds 1000xs its water weight to improve moisture).
Hyperpigmentation and Dark Spots
Aging is an uphill battle. Wrinkles, sun spots, age spots, sagging skin—it’s terrible. To help get rid of hyperpigmentation, dark spots and help to decrease melasma, using products that help to increase cell-turnover is key. Layman’s terms please. That means the products you use need to get rid of dead skin to force your skin to regenerate the outer layer. If the products do not do that, stop using them. The other option is a lightening cream.
Skinceuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight ($80)
This product product hydrates like a lotion, but promotes cell turnover. This will stimulate collagen. Since your body’s collagen production levels drop off in your 20s, it’s important to use products at home that will naturally help exfoliate, and gently, so you have a more continuous skin regeneration. This product will help to dramatically improve the appearance of sun spots and age spots. The biggest plus to this is that is does not dry your skin out, which happens with a lot of Glycolic products.
Skinceuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser ($58)
This is not sponsored by Skinceuticals or any brand, promise. I just happen to love this company. This cleanser is not something I use every night, but 3-4 times a week. Glycolic is one of the top products to help exfoliate, minimize wrinkles and improve the overall tone, texture and get rid of dark spots. If you use the Glycolic lotion in conjunction with this product, a retinol and a Vitamin C product, you will see significant improvement in your skin. The dark spot and pigmentation will start to face as your skin regenerates.
VI Derm Lightening 2% Hydroquinone ($90)
VI Derm is the maker of the Vi Peel. The Vi Peel is one of the best peels you can get. The doctor who designed it did so to help get rid of his daughter’s severe acne. It is an incredible to help with any skin problems, and it’s safe for all skin types. I trust any products they make because they use the quality ingredients, they test and they work. Hydroquinone is a product that some have issues with because it’s a chemical. It is your preference, but at the end of the day, this is one of the only ways to combat melasma, which does not ever really go away. This will lighten it and significantly improve skin tone. If you have hormonal melasma, this is the way to go. Because it’s 2%, not 4%, the results will not be as significant, but it is also not as tough on your body.
Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil ($29)
If you are not a fan of chemicals and want to have a more natural way to improve dark spots, rosehip oil is an option. This is a great product because it is healing, it helps with radiance and it will minimize dark spots due to sun exposure and age, not melasma. It is safe to use everyday. It does work, but the results will take much longer. It is clinically proven to work. This is a product that is great to use in addition to other products. This particular product also acts as a great moisturizer under makeup during winter months.
If you are looking for some of the best skincare products that are organic, here are some recommendations.
Epicuren Retinol Anti Wrinkle Complex ($58)
This Epicuren product has Retinol and Glycolic so you are getting a double does of products to fight aging. The Glycolic is helping with exfoliation and retinol targeting the dermis to help minimize wrinkles and fine lines, and it will also plump the skin.
Bio Serum Firm Rejuvenating Growth Factor and Peptide Treatment ($275)
In terms of the number one product on the market today to help aging skin, this is it. The price is expensive—that’s an understatement, but the difference between this product and others that are said to fight aging, in a similar price range, that are sold at high-end department stores by women that tell you at $500 price tag is reasonable, is that this actually works.
NeoCutis has done a ton of research and their products are all proven to work. The reason this is so expensive is that it is a one-stop proven shop to stimulate collagen, improve volume, helps fight hyperpigmentation, it improves firmness in the skin, and it is safe to use around the eyes. The actual molecular structure of this serum is so small that it can penetrate deeper into your skin than others out there. What you are paying for is a product that can get down into the dermal layer, the second layer of your skin where changes take place, and it will actually improve the skin at the cellular level. I am a such a skin nerd that when I heard this, it changed the way I thought skincare products. Most products cannot get that far below the surface so you are only working on the top layer of the skin and that is great, but not when you want to improve volume and target the wrinkles. This product also has Human Growth Factor which is naturally occuring in your body and will stimulate collagen production. It helps to repair the skin and fight aging.
Thank you for stopping by! Love to hear from you. Comment below if you have questions.