Photography: Bruno Petrozza/C., iStockPhoto/E.
We’re all susceptible to increased skin pigmentation—especially on the face, décolletage, forearms and hands—and it usually shows up as we age. But no worries! We’ve got expert tips and product recommendations to help you target those unwanted spots.
Pigment spots (not to be mistaken for freckles, which are genetic) are also called solar lentigines, age spots or hyperpigmentation, and are caused by an overproduction of melanin. They appear over the years in places where the skin has been exposed to UV rays and blue light, causing melanin to become clumped or produced in high concentrations. The good news? It’s possible to prevent hyperpigmentation and reduce the appearance of spots that are already there.
“Because skin cells regenerate by themselves, it’s possible to encourage the production of new, healthy cells and stimulate cell renewal to remove excess melanin,” says McKenzie Bolt, director of global education for beauty brand Biossance. How? By using products that contain vitamin C. Present in serums in concentrated quantities, this natural antioxidant is known for its skin brightening benefits. Though using a product with vitamin C can take up to three or four months to show results, you may notice an improvement after the first month. Use the treatment on a regular basis, meaning at least three times a week, recommends Bolt. It’s important to note that vitamin C is a fragile active ingredient that requires proper storage in order to retain its efficacy, so be sure to faithfully follow the storage directions on the product’s label.
Since the sun’s rays are one of the main causes of hyperpigmentation,
it’s imperative to protect yourself against UV rays. “Just as we work to correct or even out our complexion, we must protect our skin: If we don’t put on sunblock, it’s like taking one step forward and 10 steps back,” says Bolt. Don’t skimp on the sunblock—use an SPF 50 on your face and an SPF 30 on the rest of the body. Other things you can do to protect your skin include wearing protective clothing and a hat, using products that protect skin from the blue light of screens, and applying creams and treatments that contain retinols, glycolic acid or any other exfoliant in the evening only, since exfoliation can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Our Product Picks
OLEHENRIKSEN Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner, $38, sephora.ca.
Want to reduce the appearance of pigment spots and fine lines? This toner kills two birds with one stone: Rich in glycolic and lactic acids (the famous AHAs, which exfoliate the skin by encouraging cell renewal), it also contains witch hazel and sandalwood extracts, licorice root and chamomile. Use it in the evening before applying your serum to take full advantage of its benefits.
ESTHEDERM Sun Expert Tinted Brightening Care Visible Dark Spots, $59, esthederm.ca
Thanks to Photo Reverse technology developed by Esthederm, this treatment visibly decreases the appearance of hyperpigmentation, while the tinted formula camouflages it.
BIOSSANCE Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum, $78, biossance.com.
Containing 10 percent vitamin C, this serum visibly reduces existing dark spots, while stimulating collagen production. It also contains squalane, and white shiitake mushroom and licorice root extracts, which help to prevent the onset of future hyperpigmentation.
JOUVIANCE Dream Cream Night Repair Cream-in-Mask, $65, jouviance.com.
This sphere-shaped jar holds a night cream that can also be used as a face mask. The cream’s formula reduces hyperpigmentation and brightens the complexion thanks to the extract of camu-camu, a small fruit rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Other ingredients, including exfoliating lime caviar extract and moisturizing moringa butter, make this treatment a must-have for your skin-care routine.
DRUNK ELEPHANT C-Firma Day Serum, $105, sephora.ca.
A high concentration of vitamin E, as well as the addition of ferulic and vitamin C to this cocktail of powerful antioxidants reduces the appearance of dark spots and fine lines, and also firms the skin. Extracts of pumpkin ferment and pomegranate work to remove dead skin cells, combat dullness and reduce pore size—and it shows!
SHISEIDO Power Brightening Mask, $85/pack of 6, shiseido.ca.
This single-use fabric mask—sold in packs of six—is made of flexible material to fit all face shapes. The goal? To saturate the skin with active ingredients that penetrate deeply and target dark spots. Ten minutes, et voilà, a soft, smooth, more even-toned complexion!