When I talk to my friends and family—men and women—about their skin concerns, dark spots are always top of mind. Even if we’ve been super diligent about sunscreen in recent years, some of the damage from 20-something sunburns (or even our teenage years) can still pop up when we least expect it, creating a mottled complexion in need of targeted brightening. SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense delivers just that, with the science to back up its claims.
Whether your dark spots are the result of UV exposure, prescription drugs (yes, that can happen), acne marks or something else, excess melanin production can be tough to treat without the right formulation and delivery system, which is why many dermatologists recommend this serum. For some, the discoloration isn’t a small spot either, but rather larger brownish patches known as melasma, which I personally endured for years (my skin actually looked like it had dirt on it).
Using a potent combination of actives, this daily-use serum targets all these types of discoloration without hydroquinone (a controversial brightening ingredient). Instead, it relies on 3-percent tranexamic acid (this one is trending big right now), 1-perent kojic acid and 5-percent niacinamide, which you could call the trifecta of skin brighteners. It works without causing irritation, which I appreciate of course, and I also love that it is fragrance-free.
In a 12-week clinical study, results showed a 60-percent average improvement in the appearance of stubborn brown patches, a 59-percent average improvement in the appearance of skin discoloration, an 81-percent average improvement in the appearance of post-acne marks, and a 59-percent average improvement in the appearance of even skin tone. The studies also proved that the serum works on all skin tones, and some users saw results in as little as two weeks!
Tranexamic acid, kojic acid, niacinamide and hepes (a synthetically derived acid activates natural enzymes in skin to help break the bonds that bind dead skin cells to the surface for even exfoliation)
How to Use It:
Apply three to five drops both morning and night. In the morning, apply it after a vitamin C serum (the combo with vitamin C will be even more powerful against dark spots) and then always follow with sunscreen. At night, I like to apply it on clean skin, waiting a couple minutes after I wash my face to allow the pH of my skin to readjust so that the acids can really work their magic. It looks a little oily/glowy when I first dispensed it onto my skin, but it absorbed fast with a matte finish and made my skin feel really smooth, but not in a silicone-slip kind of way—there aren’t any silicones in the formula. (If you use it on top of vitamin C serum, depending on that formula, it may affect the finish.)
Price/Where to Buy:
$102, skinceuticals.com (You can actually try it yourself if you’re one of the lucky ones to snag this week’s BeautyPass Free Gift Friday. Click here to sign up for BeautyPass if you haven’t already.)