Out, dark spot! Beauty products that promise to help with discolouration
Mostly new, and some tried-and-true, tone-evening heroes
It's so frustrating! You're finally making some headway getting rid of acne and blemishes, only to find you have lingering scars, dark spots or discolouration as a result. Sun damage, pregnancy and other hormonal changes can also leave you with uneven skin tone. Most of these fall under the umbrella of hyperpigmentation, which, simply put, is the result of an excess amount of melanin production in the lower levels of your skin. The darker the skin the more difficult it is for the discolouration to fade.
Here are some new, and some tried-and-true, products in a range of price points that promise to help you get a handle on your issues with uneven skin tone.
Slough away dead cells that cause discolouration and scars with Summer Friday's latest offering, which happens to be pretty swoon-worthy. It's wrapped up in stunning dusty rose gold packaging, smells so heavenly you may be tempted to leave the mask on for longer than 20 minutes. But don't — as it might be tricky to get off the crushed rose particles. It brings together physical and chemical exfoliants with antioxidant rich oils and anti-inflammatory healing ingredients.You can use this clear gel up to three times a week.
Summer Fridays R + R Mask, $68, sephora.ca
The Brigeo tea tree oil comes in the cutest baby teal bottle, but the stuff inside is pretty potent. Tea tree oil has been known to have antimicrobial properties that make it ideal for treating acne breakouts, healing blemishes and generally soothing dry irritated skin. You can use this on your skin or on your scalp. For skin use, to avoid potential irritation, definitely dilute it with water or coconut oil, then apply it to clean skin with a cotton pad or swab.
Briogeo B. Well Organic Australian 100% Tea Tree Oil, $44.73, nordstrom.com
This toner has a 10% concentration of glycolic acid, an OG in the skincare world, known for its epic exfoliation and cell turnover properties. Dry dead skin cells tend to pile up on skin which can lead to dull skin, hyperpigmentation and other types of skin discolouration, which is why that turnover is key. Follow up with your usual serums and/or moisturizer. Some AHAs can increase sun sensitivity so be sure to apply sunscreen after use (and always!).
The InKey List Glycolic Acid, $12.99, shoppersdrugmart.ca
This is a recently updated 4-step skin care system, now with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, designed to help clear blemishes and redness and also address visible signs of aging. The offering includes a delightfully purple, gentle exfoliating wash, an alcohol-free toner — that in my opinion is the MVP product — plus a dual action treatment that has benzoyl peroxide on one side and a nourishing gel with chamomile and pomegranate on the other. Plus, of course, a broad spectrum SPF 20; if you have darker skin, I'll warn you that the latter leaves a significant white caste. It is on the pricey side, but in my experience it's possible to see some major results in as little as three weeks.
Unblemish Regimen for Adult Acne and Visible Signs of Aging, $216, rodanandfields.com
Sometimes thought of as Shea butter's sibling, baobab oil is an excellent skin moisturizer. Baobab oil is particularly good for acne scars and hyperpigmentation because it aids in the restoration of skin cells and promotes wound healing. It's a lightweight oil that absorbs quickly into the skin and the brand, R and R luxury, is a Nigerian-based natural skin care brand. This oil is great on its own, but it's also lesser known 'carrier oil', so it can be used to dilute tea tree oil (like the one mentioned above!).
R and R Baobab Oil, $17, beautella.ca
The clear bottle with dropper contains a serum that includes vitamin C, white birch and peony extracts, and is silicone-, paraben- and fragrance-free. Good to use day and night, it's best to follow up with a moisturizer. The serum works well at diminishing sun damage and less complicated existing skin discolouration.The bottle lasts on average 2-3 months.
Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, $65, kiehls.ca
This has been such an effective product for so many people (just read some of the thousands of reviews) that we had to include it. This is straight up 100% natural calcium bentonite clay from Death Valley, California. Don't expect any fancy packaging or any bells and whistles, it arrives in a plastic tub within a zip-top plastic bag. But what it lacks in presentation it makes up in efficacy. Bentonite clay has been proven to deep clean pores, heal acne and by extension fade acne scars. Just mix the clay with equal parts apple cider vinegar or water. It will look like pea green soup when you first put it on your face. It will quickly dry and harden, but it will wash off with warm water. Expect it to tingle and tighten as it dries; if you have very sensitive skin avoid leaving the mask on for more than 5 minutes.
Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, $12.50, amazon.ca
This popular K-beauty cleanser that was constantly out of stock got a packaging makeover. It's a gentle gel-to-foam cleanser that promises to leave your skin fresh and squeaky clean. It also acts as a hydrating toner, and if you let it sit, a clarifying mask. Fans of this Glow Recipe cleanser say it shrinks pores, while clearing blemishes and staving off future breakouts. It's also loaded with exfoliating glycolic and lactic acid, and as the name suggests, blueberry antioxidants, but also sodium hyaluronate in there that moisturizes the skin.
Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser, $45, sephora.com
This DermaE facial peel is all about resurfacing and smoothing skin. The vitamin C helps with skin brightening and age defense. There is also glycolic acid in there that helps to gently get rid of dehydrated skin cells and improve discoloured skin surfaces. Plus you'll love the fresh scent. All you need is a thin layer once a week. Feel free it take it down to your neck, and you can even use it on your hands. Also it's 100% vegan, cruelty-free and free from parabens, sulfates, mineral oils and more undesirables.
Derma E Vitamin C Instant Radiance Citrus Facial Peel, $33.49, well.ca
This alcohol-free toner has a soothing lemon and sugar scent, and contains sandalwood, chamomile and licorice extracts. The ahas increase the rate of skin exfoliation. As with all products that contain a high percentage of aha's, it's a good idea to use this product at night due to the fact that it can increase sun sensitivity. In my experience, you'll notice a healthy glow to your skin after using it for Bonus: it also targets fine lines and wrinkles.That electric blue matte-like bottle adds to the appeal.
Ole Henriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner, $34, sephora.ca
This fan fave 10 minute mask is back with a new look but still promises to turn up the glow on your skin. If you're trying to proactively prevent dark spots and discolouration, this is a great place to start. Ingredients like zinc oxide, sulfur and calming camphor help control shine and unclog pores to reveal clearer skin. You'll love that this mask feels comfortable when it dries and doesn't feel tight or pull on your skin. Also feel free to use it as a spot treatment for new acne and blemishes.
Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask to Rescue Problem Skin, $33, origins.ca
Clinique's new iD system allows you to create a custom blend for your skin. This duo keeps skin hydrated as the active ingredients work to even complexion. It has yeast extract, glucosamine, salicylic acid and vitamin C to help fade the appearance of dark spots. If you have particularly acne prone skin, try the Oil Control Gel base instead of the Dramatically Different moisturizer.
Clinique iD Moisturizer + Concentrate for Uneven Skin Tone, $54.42, nordstrom.com
Nneka Elliott (@nnekaelliott) is a lifestyle blogger, host and actor. She shares her adventures with fashion and beauty in her pursuit of a gutsy life. nnekaelliott.com