Our Top 5 Best Brightening Serums
One of the most challenging skin issues to deal with is excess pigment. On a scale of one to WTF, this skin issue pings hard to the right. It’s stubborn. It’s deep-rooted. It goes away slowly and often gets worse before it gets better. To add to your frustration, there are all kinds of treatment choices out there, making all kinds of claims, making it hard to know where to turn for help. To simplify, we’ve compiled our list of top brightening serums along with tips for choosing which one is best for you.
Dr. Fulton pioneered the use of mandelic acid for combatting the hyperpigmentation that can be triggered by acne inflammation, especially in dark skin tones. Like other acids, mandelic works on the surface to lift excess pigment through micro-exfoliation. But unlike other acids, mandelic works on a deeper level to suppress melanin production and keep new pigment from forming. The larger molecular size of mandelic acid slows its absorption to minimize irritation, making it ideal for dark skin tones and skin too sensitive for hydroquinone or glycolic acid. Mandelic is also safe during pregnancy and lactation, making it the top choice for treating pregnancy-related melasma.
All of the above intensified in a higher concentration formula. Mandelic acid is a true game-changer for treating pigmentation issues. And did we mention it’s anti-bacterial? So it will also clear your acne and keep pimples from leaving dark marks behind. Gently exfoliating, anti-inflammatory, and natural brightening, mandelic acid is a high-performance multi-tasker. This higher percentage formula is just right for more stubborn pigmentation issues in dark or sensitive skin, or after acclimating to the 8% formula.
Every brightening regimen needs vitamin C. This antioxidant superstar has some serious benefits for targeting age spots, blotchiness, hyperpigmentation, and dark marks from acne. It’s a melanin-inhibitor that intercedes at all the critical moments in the melanin production chain to interrupt the process. Additionally, vitamin C boosts the body’s stores of glutathione, an antioxidant that regulates tyrosinase activity, to further help suppress melanin activity. Already a powerful foe of harmful free radicals, antioxidant vitamin C is strengthened when paired with vitamin E, as in Vivant’s Spin Trap Antioxidant serum. Oh, and it’s also essential to the production of collagen. So there’s that. This supreme glow-enhancer is good for all skin types and tones. Use it alone or as a booster for other targeted serums.
All of Vivant’s patented Vitamin A therapies help to reduce pigment by accelerating cell turnover and encouraging the growth of fresh, bright, youthful skin. This powerhouse formula is our most advanced, and therefore, our most brightening. If you’ve never used vitamin A, you’ll need to start with Derm-A-Gel and work your way up to let your skin acclimate. Once you get to Forté, you’ll never look back. This intensely transformative AHA cocktail pairs vitamin A with glycolic acid, salicylic acid, citric acid, kojic acid, lactic acid, and ceramide-boosting niacinamide. It’s a brightening bomb. If you have acne, this serum will clear your skin while it fades and prevents future scarring. If you have mature skin, this formula will reduce fine lines and firm up texture while lifting age spots. Total game changer.
In a recent conversation with Gwyneth Paltrow’s facialist in the trendy digital fashion and beauty publication Who, What, Wear, Bleaching Cream was named among the best at-home treatments for banishing acne scars. This advanced exfoliating and brightening serum targets more severe hyperpigmentation, age spots, melasma, and blotchy skin to illuminate brighter, more youthful-looking skin. It relies on hydroquinone, the longstanding champion of brightening, which works by inhibiting the melanin synthesizing enzyme tyrosinase and breaking down melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) to decrease pigmentation. Hydroquinone is known to be particularly effective when combined with vitamin A to boost collagen and speed cell renewal. Vivant’s Bleaching Cream pairs hydroquinone in a synergistic blend with kojic acid and vitamin A for targeting skin discoloration and revealing a brighter, more consistent tone and texture. Ideal for stubborn pigmentation issues. Not to be used while pregnant or lactating.
The benefits of any of these serums will be greatly enhanced by prepping skin with a toner to remove cellular debris clear the way for better absorption. Our favorites for supporting a brightening regimen? Any of the mandelic acid toners, especially Daily Repair Pads for its transformative cocktail of acids and ease of use.