ICYMI, spring is in full swing and summer is well on its way—aka, the perfect time to add ingredients to your routine that fade stubborn discoloration, even skin tone and brighten your complexion!
Hyperpigmentation, or discoloration and dark spots, can be caused for many issues. Think: sun damage, post-inflammatory reactions from breakouts or eczema, and hormonal changes such as melasma—a common pigmentation disorder that causes brown or gray patches to appear on the skin, primarily on the face. (Note: Melasma is one of the most difficult forms of hyperpigmentation to treat.) The truth is, everyone experiences at least one of these issues every once in a while. And even though it may feel impossible to treat, there *is* hope!
So, why now? Spring is the ideal season to address pigmentation issues because some of the ingredients used to treat it can cause sun sensitivity. Translation? It’s difficult to increase these actives in the summer (hello, sun damage!) and even more difficult in the winter (you can thank dryness for that).
If you’re anything like me, I take the lazy days of summer quite literally, so minimizing my approach to makeup in the summer is a must. My summer skincare routine usually consists of day serum, tinted moisturizer with SPF, lip gloss and mascara—easy-peasy! But, in order to be more minimal with makeup, your complexion has to be healthy and bright underneath.
So, let’s get to work!
Look for these five superstar ingredients in your skincare routine to incorporate now, so you can have a bright, even and balanced complexion by summer!
Vitamin C helps brighten your skin and fade pigmentation issues by inhibiting melanin production, which lightens discoloration and evens skin tone. The important thing to keep in mind with this amazing powerhouse active is that it has many forms. The gold standard is Ascorbic Acid, or L-ascorbic Acid, but it can become very unstable when exposed to light and oxygen. That’s exactly why this form of Vitamin C should always be stored in an airtight container that’s opaque—or even better, in the form of a powder that’s mixed into skincare or activated with water prior to each use.
Vitamin C derivatives, on the other hand, are much more stable and aren’t as sensitive to light or oxygen. Here at Otto, we believe these are much easier to use and offer very similar results! Our favorite Vitamin C derivatives are Glyceryl Ascorbate, which can be found in The Go-Getter Day Serum and Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, which is found in The Fresh Start Face Oil. Not only are these derivatives just as effective as traditional Vitamin C, they can be stored in clear glass without the risk of breaking down their effectiveness!
Alpha Hydroxy Acids, aka AHAs, are a group of natural or synthetic ingredients that help to exfoliate the uppermost layers of the skin. We love AHAs because turning over the top layer of the skin quickly helps fade hyperpigmentation, even skin tone and brighten the skin—so this ingredient is a must! Ready to get your hands on some? Both Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid are synthetic forms of AHA, while fruit acids are naturally occurring. We’re big fans of all three of these options, but we highly recommend fruit acids!
Niacinamide, or Vitamin B3, is a water-soluble vitamin that’s an incredible multitasker for improved skin health. It works to fade pigmentation issues, specifically by preventing the transfer of pigment within the skin, therefore reducing the appearance of brown spots. In addition, it helps banish redness, preserve hydration and improve the skin barrier.
Ready to get down and nerdy? Here’s a quick science lesson: Bearberry Extract is a natural form of arbutin. Arbutin is a popular skin-lightening ingredient that works by reducing melanin synthesis (psst...melanin synthesis inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, which creates pigment in the skin). Bottom line? We’re obsessed with Bearberry Extract, because it’s living proof that nature is full of amazing hardworking ingredients!
Besides preventing melanoma (and that’s kind-of a biggie!), sunscreen is a must if you want to reduce hyperpigmentation. While it’s not an ingredient that actually fades sun damage, it prevents further damage and allows your skin to tolerate many of the above ingredients, without causing more hyperpigmentation issues. Daily application of at least SPF 30 will help to shield your skin from UV light to control melanin production on a cellular level. If you don’t already use SPF, get on it ASAP! Us? We’re big fans of Supergoop!
Woah! We just covered a lot. Feeling overwhelmed? I totally get it. Scrambling to find all of these ingredients can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. I’ve got your back! If you’re looking for a simple nighttime routine that incorporates many of these ingredients, then look no further than The Multitasker Night Serum paired with The Fresh Start Face Oil. The Multitasker contains 15% Fruit Acids (AHAs), 7% Niacinamide and 1% Bearberry Extract, while The Fresh Start Face Oil contains 20% Vitamin C in the form of Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (a very stable Vitamin C derivative). These two products are lightweight and work for all skin types—even those with sensitive skin. Follow these two simple steps, and you’ll be well on your way to an even, bright and glowing complexion by summer. Just add SPF!