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Skin Brightening & How It Works

August 07, 2017


Skin brighteners are one of the latest beauty trends. Many women who are prone to dark spots or uneven skin tones swear by their ability to lighten dark areas and even out the color of the skin. But what are skin brighteners actually doing when you put them on? Products marketed as brighteners might be performing any of several distinct functions; however, the principal behind most skin brighteners is the same. They target dark spots on the skin and either lighten, fade, or bleach them. Here’s how they work.

The Cause of Dark Spots

Dark spots are usually caused by post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation, a natural response to damage or irritation of the skin. Spots may begin to appear after a blemish forms on the skin, the skin is sunburned, or an allergic reaction causes irritation of the skin. When the inflammation resolves, it sometimes triggers the skin to release extra pigment, which forms a dark spot or patch.

How Brighteners Work

Skin brighteners specifically target areas of hyper-pigmentation. Some do this by blocking the production of pigmentation, while others cause the top layers of skin to shed faster so the dark spots disappear. Many brighteners are also capable of bleaching normal skin, so they should be applied with caution.

Choosing a Skin Brightener

Some skin brighteners - especially older formulas - contain hydroquinone. While this is a very effective ingredient that bleaches the skin in addition to blocking pigment production, there is also some evidence to suggest it is associated with an elevated risk of skin cancer. Other skin brighteners contain less questionable alternatives, such as Vitamin C to decrease pigment production, Vitamin B3 to reduce the inflammation that leads to dark spots, and glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin and gently slough off dark spots.

Timeless Skin Care has a selection of skin brighteners to choose from. Browse your options to find one you like, or contact us with any product questions.

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