Recently I’ve noticed some attention-grabbing headlines and articles about skin “lightening” or “brightening” that have left me with growing concern about how easy it is to get misinformation on treating dark spots and uneven skin tone. So what’s real and what’s fiction? To set the record straight, here are the top 4 skin brightening myths, and the truth behind them.
MYTH: “Pigment lightening” or “brightening” really just means “skin bleaching”.
FACT: The truth is there are some products on the market that claim to “whiten” the skin, and indiscriminately lighten any skin they come into contact with (and frankly, they use ingredients I have never worked with in my 20+ years formulating skin care products). I can’t vouch for these types of skin bleaching/whitening products.
But there is a separate category of skin care that works specifically on Hyperpigmentation – a real skin concern characterized by an uneven distribution of melanin that causes dark spots and discoloration – which can be caused by hormonal imbalance, injury, and UV exposure. They are completely safe brightening products formulated to specifically target only dark spots and uneven skin tone.
MYTH: You can’t brighten a dark spot without lightening the surrounding skin, too.
FACT: Some pigment-fading formulas try to eliminate hyperpigmentation by damaging melanin-producing cells, causing adverse effects like skin bleaching. However, using a dark spot corrector specifically formulated to target cells that are overproducing melanin by breaking the chain in production, you can gently fade even the most stubborn dark spots without effecting surrounding skin. Bioelements LightPlex GigaWatt Dark Spot Corrector is a hyperpigmentation treatment that’s safe for all skin types and tones. It contains a trio of key ingredients that fight signs of photo-aging, promote skin brightness, and inhibit tyrosinase – the enzyme that mediates the amount and rate at which pigment is released.
Ultimately, if you want to safely and effectively treat dark spots or an uneven skin tone, these three steps should be in your daily at-home skin routine:
1. Exfoliate dead skin cells prior to applying a brightening treatment to help the active ingredients penetrate the skin more effectively.
3. Protect current hyperpigmentation and prevent future discoloration by applying a broad spectrum sunscreen as the last step of your daily skin routine.
MYTH: Lightening products will help eliminate acne scars.
FACT: After the site of a skin condition or injury has healed (like acne) – oftentimes a scar or colored mark of hyperpigmentation may remain (called PIH, or Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation). But scarring and hyperpigmentation are two very different things. Scarring, like pits formed post-acne, are changes in the texture of the skin, and applying a brightening product to a scar will not improve its texture.
There are, however, specific brightening products that are specifically formulated to improve the appearance/color of PIH.
MYTH: Once a dark spot’s color is improved and tone is brighter after using a corrector, it will stay that way.
FACT: Maybe… that depends on you. UV rays are a catalyst for hyperpigmentation – no matter what it’s original cause may have been. So if you continue to skip SPF, your hyperpigmentation will continue to appear. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen every day to prevent new dark spots from forming.
Learn even more about hyperpimentation here. Have you heard of any skin care myths that need to be busted? Tell me in the comments!