Hyperpigmentation Edition: If You Can Only Buy Three Products
When your budget, your time constraints, or just plain laziness (no judgment) limit you to three skincare products.
First and foremost, sunscreen. Beyond that, if you have hyperpigmentation, melasma, age spots, or uneven skin tone, you’re especially in need of ingredients that will promote cell turnover, brighten skin tone, and inhibit melanin production.
Your mission is made more difficult by the fact that some ingredients that are great for brightening or bleaching unwanted pigmentation can also cause irritation and inflammation, which, in an ironic and vicious cycle, can lead to more unwanted pigmentation. What you need is something that works without causing irritation.
Meet mandelic acid, a unique alpha hydroxy acid that has a larger molecular structure than other AHAs, which means it penetrates skin more slowly. Slower penetration equals less irritation.
Derived from bitter almonds, mandelic acid is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and melanin-inhibiting properties. It also stimulates cell turnover and promotes collagen production to help achieve a smoother, more even appearance.
Mandelic acid is an excellent alternative for skin too sensitive for hydroquinone or glycolic acid and is the safest AHA for darker skin tones.
Your Top Three Must-Haves For A More Consistent Skin Tone:
Pigmentation issues can be caused by hormones, inflammation, injury to the skin and UV exposure. Even if the underlying cause is something other than UV, the sun will make irregular pigmentation worse. Your first line of defense is always going to be sunscreen. Never go out without it. Vivant’s Day Treatment SPF 15 is the perfect daily foundational moisturizer. Light, non-comedogenic, fast-absorbing, and enriched with healing and rejuvenating ingredients—zinc peptides and whole leaf aloe—to counter inflammation and nourish skin.
Toners are often thought of as a secondary line of defense, nice but not entirely necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth. Toners are far more than a refresher. They’re essential for balancing pH, which helps keeps the skin barrier intact and healthy. And more importantly for someone trying to accelerate cell turnover, the proper toner ensures maximum penetration of serums and other corrective products.
You’re looking for one with the muscle of mandelic acid. Our favorite of these is the Daily Repair Pads. We like it for its mix of anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and rejuvenating ingredients, but also for its convenience factor. The single use pads make it a simple swipe and go product that you can toss in your gym bag or travel bag for top flight anywhere skin care.
This is the main stage player, your absolute must-have. This is where the real magic happens. Serums are formulated to be deeply penetrating and maximally potent with highly concentrated ingredients that target specific concerns like discoloration. This one incorporates gently exfoliating and hydrating lactic acid, anti-inflammatory niacinamide, and cell-supporting inositol along with mandelic acid to promote a smooth, consistent, even skin tone and healthy cell function.