I've been dealing with freckles my whole life, ever since I was a young child. With years passing by, my skin slowly reacted to all sorts of factors, which contributed to dark spots and freckles in general. From harmful sun rays, up to hormones and my very own genes. And while there's lots of talk about acne consciousness, there's not a lot of raised dust around hyperpigmentation and post-acne dark spots. And trust me, they equally leave an impact on your self confidence. I never really understood why I'm so different, referred to my classmates or friends. Super pale skin and freckles are definitely not ''the ideal skin'' everyone would want in this society. It affected my relationships and self-esteem as I wasn't considering myself love-worthy person transitioning to adolescence...just because of my skin. And it's wrong, totally wrong to judge yourself after your appearance or self-perceptive faults...but sadly, it's a common part of adolescence. With adulthood, I sort of started to accept my overly pigmented and ''different'' skin, yet I'm always on a hunt after ''radiance boosting'' or hyperpigmentation skincare. They are certainly not efficient enough to totally remove any sort of dark spots but with regular use, they help to minimise the appearance of melanin pigments. Meaning, your dark areas or freckles will be still visible but slightly less saturated. If not anything else, they raise radiance, mildly regulate melanin, slightly boosts up confidence and lower self-awareness.
What should you look after when buying products for hyperpigmentation?
- Hydroquinone & Kojic Acid are controversial ingredients since they are the most effective ingredients, yet they can leave negative side effects and burns
- Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic acid) (basically lemons) help to lighten dark spots. Try using lemon as a toner, you'll see effects in terms of weeks. On the market, there's also loads of different products with Vitamin C for easier application.
- Glycyrrhetinic acid works antibacterial and helps to renew cells
- AHA/BHA acids are known for renewing your upper skin layer, yet they're not too aggressive.
- Lactic, salicylic, glycolic & azelaic acids also help to minimise the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
- Retinoids & resorcinol are usually used in skincare for dark spots. They are safe for skin yet help to regulate melanin and it's development.
- Physical sun protection is a must. I don't trust only chemical sun protectors, preferably choose physical protection with white cast or a mix of physical/chemical protection.
On European market, there's not a lot of serious hyperpigmentation treatments. Of course, with trend, there are slowly popping out radiance products, which help to regain either glow or minimise the look of pigments with illuminating particles or mild ingredients. Asian market is on the opposite, totally flooded with brightening skincare. For years, I've been faithful to Eucerin. It's a German brand, targeting specific skin problems, tremendously recommended by dermatologists. It's not as highly marketed and ''chic looking'' as other pharmacy brands, but the products work. They are specialised for atopic skin, hypigmentation, ageing skin and other skin issues. I've using their Anti Pigment Serum for years but it was slowly replaced by Even Brighter range. Even Brighter Concentrate (30ml, 30,45€) offers highly concentrated formula to effect melanin creation and reduce the appearance of dark pigments, while Daily Cream (50ml, 26,17€) helps to protect and work on milder level along with SPF 30. Glycyrrhetinic acid and resorcinol B are the main ingredients which help to fade dark pigments with time. Results usually show up after 4 weeks. For now, I'm quite happy with slightly faded freckles and I find Eucerin the most effective skincare brand for hyperpigmentation on European market.
Paula's Choice is a totally new brand to me. It's like I was living under a big rock and suddenly I've experienced skincare enlightenment. I adore their Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment with 10% AHA acids (60ml, 38,91€). It's like a liquid gold. You know how it's like to have a perfect skincare routine but your skin is a step away from being perfect? I never had any major issues apart from pigmentation but this tremendously improved my skin to the point, that is almost perfect. It got rid of flaky areas, it tightened pores and re-construct my skin texture. Along with that, it also helps to remove upper dead skin layer since it chemically exfoliates your skin with fruit acids. Consequently, it faded out some of my dark spots. I use only a tiny amount 1-2 times a week. Skin Recovery Daily Moisturising Lotion (60ml, currently on offer 28,71€) with SPF 30 contains a combination of physical and chemical sun protection for sensitive, dry skin. It's perfect! Texture is silky smooth and lightweight, yet it leaves only the slightest white cast. I love it for every day and I'll slowly need another backup.
Along with hyperpigmentation treatment, sun protection and resurfacing acids, I also found two different alternatives. While all mentioned products work amazingly, they also have higher price tag. If you're on a budget, you can find European drugstore version in DM. Balea Dunkle Flecken Aufheller (30ml, around 4-6€) comes in night and day version. While it does have a slightly bitter lemony scent, it also works to some limited extent. It does helps to maintain lighter pigments while it doesn't whiten. Contains Vitamin C and E which also work as an extra protection. I would suggest picking up night version as it is slightly more effective. Although, results can't be comparable to higher-end treatments. Another organic and natural alternative is Melvita Nectar Bright range (36,60-48,80€), consisting of eye cream, essence, cream and concentrate. They are all made out of white flowers which help to reduce dark spots with time. Indeed, skin looks more radiant with first use, but I can't comment on effects with extended use. Also, I'm intrigued by their lily's oil which supposedly reduces melanin and helps with stubborn dark spots. You can always ask Melvita's team for mini testers before purchasing.
And while you can mildly treat pigmentation at home, we shouldn't forget about perception of your own skin. Hyperpigmentation happens and we shouldn't blame ourselves (still, we need to protect from the sun) neither should we feel ashamed. There are various reasons, from genetic up to environmental factors. After-pregnancy pigmentation and ageing hyperpigmentation are also common. Hyperpigmentation shouldn't interfere with our daily activities and on our self-esteem. Especially if you're an adolescent. Embrace your skin, while you can always cover certain areas with highly pigmented concealers or foundations. As for skincare, don't expect any miracles. They can lighten certain dark spots or areas but can't totally erase skin issues. I will review some of the mentioned products more indepth within next few months.