My skin is very sensitive. Unfortunately, for me, that means that the occasional adult acne situation turns into an additional 6+ week battle with the resulting dark mark. Oh yeah and if I have tried to manually rid myself of said acne (AKA squeezing it), I can count on adding another 2 weeks to the dark mark resolution process – at a minimum. I say all that to say that I have more than my fair share of experience with skin brighteners and dark spot removers.
Years ago, the gold standard was hydroquinone at the highest strength you could find. Hydroquinone is still used in many products, but you have to be cautious in using it since long-term use can result in skin irritation and a blue-black darkening of the skin. Back then, there were few viable options other than a prescription hydroquinone product prescribed by a physician. Now, there are good, effective over-the-counter products, cosmeceuticals, in-office treatments, as well as prescription products that help rid your skin of dark marks, faster than ever.
Over the counter – No longer are dark spot sufferers relegated to waiting for an office visit with their dermatologist. There are several, cult beauty store products that deliver results with minimal out-of-pocket pain. Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector ($49.50) was one of the first prestige cosmetic brands to offer clinically proven prescription strength results. The product delivers improved skin tone clarity and evenness within 12 weeks. Philosophy’s Miracle Worker ($62) works to improve the appearance of skin discoloration caused by aging, sun damage and post-acne scarring. As with the Clinique product, it doesn’t include hydroquinone and promises results within 12 weeks.
Prescription/In-office Treatments – Since these types of treatments need to be prescribed by a doctor or administered by an aesthetician they are often more expensive, but also offer results much more quickly. One of my favorite treatments in the Melanage miniPeel. At a pretty reasonable $150 (may vary depending on your area), it offers seriously miraculous results that quickly and painlessly rid you of minor acne dark spots and other skin discolorations. A comprehensive post-peel kit is included with the treatment to help your skin heel and also maintain the glowing results for the weeks and months to come. For those with more significant acne scarring, they also offer the Melanage Peel, a stronger version of the miniPeel.
Cosmeceuticals – One of the most exciting recent developments is products like Elure that don’t contain hydroquinone and promise results in less than a month. Instead of using hydroquinone, one of the key ingredients in Elure’s formula is Melanozyme™, an enzyme derived from a mushroom, which effectively reduces the melanin in skin. The difference between Elure and some other products is that it not only slows the production of melanin, but also treats existing melanin to help improve the skin’s tone within 28 days.
Sun damage and dark marks are now recognized as an anti-aging issue. Thereby, impacting a far greater audience than what was once thought to be target audience of these treatments – young people impacted by post-acne stress or recently pregnant women suffering from melasma. As such, 2012 is promising a new influx of skin brightening and dark spot treatments.
This is a re-post of blog post that Ageist Beauty did for Your Beauty Advisor.