Clearer, brighter-looking skin—who doesn’t want that? Brightening serums can do just that, if you know what to look for. Holistic dermatologist, natural cosmeceuticals expert and author of the book “Smart Medicine for Your Skin” Jeanette Jacknin, M.D. has several recommendations on which ingredients to look for based on your specific skin type.
“For those who prefer natural ingredients, citric acid is a natural skin-bleaching agent,” explains Dr. Jacknin. “And when combined with vitamin C (think orange and lemon extracts), it can help slow down the cells that produce melanin, which cause the skin to darken.” She also recommends trying creams with kojic acid, a fungus-derived ingredient and a natural alternative to hydroquinone, to reduce skin discoloration.
For those with sensitive, rosacea- or acne-prone skin, creams with licorice extract, specifically the glabridin derived from its roots, may be best. “Licorice extract helps treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (including dark spots) and can also be used to fade acne scars, soothe skin and reduce redness.”
Those with more mature skin can benefit from either bearberry or beargrape (or it’s derivative Alpha arbutin), as well as emblica (from Indian gooseberry), which is rich in antioxidants. “Emblica has been shown to protect the skin against oxidative stress, reduce wrinkles, regulate melanin production and help the skin retain its natural moisture,” says Dr. Jacknin. She also recommends white mulberry extract and vitamin B-3 (niacinamide) in brightening creams, which have been shown to reduce the production of melanin.
“Generally, it takes about two to four weeks to see effects,” says Dr. Jacknin. “I would use a brightening serum twice a day, in the morning before applying an SPF 30 sunscreen and at night. Just be consistent, and remember to back down if your skin gets irritated, red, too white or blotchy.”
Still don’t know which brightening serum to choose? Keep scrolling to see the top-selling brightening serums at Dermstore.