Want Holiday ready skin - here's what the pros say!
At any age, having a luminous, blemish-free glow is the ultimate beauty goal. This becomes more important, and can be harder to attain during the stresses of the holiday season. We have you covered this year with some helpful advice from skincare pros.
More than just a sign of health, it’s about the luxury of looking naturally polished and pampered—without relying on skin tone boosters like blush or illuminating powder. Imagine the possibilities, right? To explore the potential of today’s complexion-enhancing creams, we collected insights from the world’s leading dermatologists on how to get clear skin.
Many industry experts favor spot-fading creams (with bleaching agents) as the go-to remedy. Some formulas are gentler, containing natural antioxidants to lighten skin, while others may contain potent chemicals that work more aggressively. But therein lies the problem: the more powerful a cream for clear skin, the more dangerous its ingredients.
How do skin-clearing creams
Similar to bleach, creams for clear skin work by removing color. To treat discoloration, dermatologists recommend formulas with pigment-absorbing ingredients to lighten dark spots without causing irritation or hypersensitivity. Ni'Kita Wilson, a cosmetic chemist, recommends ingredients like vitamin C, licorice root, and kojic acid to inhibit the formation of skin-darkening melanin.
Why does our skin darken?
Acne scars, hyperpigmentation and dark spots are all caused by a polymer called melanin. It’s responsible for creating extra pigment in the skin.
“This extra melanin can be triggered by a lot of different things: “Hormones—both estrogen and progesterone—can increase the level of melanin. The sun can increase the level of melanin; and age can increase the size of the melanocytes—that’s why we see dark age spots in older patients,” explains plastic surgeon Melissa Doft, M.D.
Chemical-based creams for clear skin
If you’re looking for extreme color correction, you can find pigment-erasing creams that pack a heavy punch (but with a catch!). Japanese whitening creams, for example, contain high concentrations of hydroquinone— a powerful skin-lightening chemical. By absorbing higher levels of melanin, they have a higher chance of causing chemical burns and photosensitivity from the bleaching process. Due to these dangers, the use of hydroquinone in skin care is illegal in many countries.
Vitamin C for clear skin
Vitamin C is the most popular ingredient in creams for clear skin. It offers the perfect balance of safety and potency. The trick, however, is finding a version with a stable type of vitamin C—as opposed to the cheap forms of ascorbic acid.
Sea buckthorn is exploding as the “super fruit” of skin care because it contains radical amounts of stable vitamin C, explains board-certified dermatologist Corey L. Hartman, M.D.
Dr. Hartman recommends creams that are rich in sea buckthorn such as the EMK Optima Face Cream. It’s formulated with a generous amount of sea buckthorn in synergy with other skin-illuminating antioxidants from kelp, jojoba seed and sage oil.
Not only does it lighten dark spots, but it also tightens skin while boosting brightness and tone.
To safely meet the demand for visible results, the Optima Face Cream contains sage extract (Salvia officinalis) which is clinically proven to lighten acne scars and dark spots.
Lemon or citrus
A more commonly-known source of vitamin C is from citrus. Since it’s common and easy to produce in the lab, it’s a go-to ingredient among many cosmetic chemists who design cookie-cutter formulas.
So it’s no surprise that citrus-based products are popular in doctor-lead skincare lines. For instance, the Dr. Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum contains limonene, an extract from the peel of citrus fruit. However, according to the Journal of Food Science, “Sea buckthorn has ten times more vitamin C than lemon”.
That’s why formulas with sea buckthorn, like the EMK Optima Face Cream, are much better for clearing dark spots and hyperpigmentation, explains world-renowned dermatologist, Dr. Thiago Freire.
Extracted from the nut of the African shea tree, this buttery substance has 60% fat, and is loaded with vitamin E and A. Not your average moisturizing ingredient, shea butter is a key ingredient in the Optima Face cream because it outshines many other natural extracts, even coconut oil, because it’s more absorbent.
Vitamin E and A