Sun damage can be personal. Brown spots, fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, tone and textural changes that occur from UV exposure can look a little different on everyone. How much (or how little) you have of these signs depends on not only how much unprotected sun exposure you’ve gotten over the years, but also how your natural skin tone looks (if you freckle or tan in the sun, etc). Some people may end up with a few sunspots and subtle changes in texture. Others get many dark spots, splotches and pronounced lines and wrinkles. Just as all sun damage is not created equally, neither are the products that address it. Especially when it comes to brightening serums. Here, find out which one is most suitable for your skin and the type of sun damage you’re experiencing.
Why do I need a skin brightener?
To answer that question, let’s talk about one of the major signs of sun-damage: brown spots (also known as age spots or sun spots). UV light, which comes from the sun, stimulates melanocytes in your skin, the cells that give skin its color. They’re also the reason that some people develop a tan after being outside in the sun. That extra pigment is supposed to protect your skin from the sun to some extent (research has shown that tan skin has the SPF equivalent of a four, so it’s not exactly a reliable source of sun protection). Fair skin tones have less melanin, so instead of an all-over bronze, you get little spots of color (a.k.a. freckles) after prolonged sun exposure. In some cases, your melanocytes get overstimulated by UV light and pump out too much melanin, causing larger splotches on the skin’s surface that don’t fade away as your cute summer freckles do. The dermatology term for this is hyperpigmentation.
Here’s where skin brightening comes into play. A skin brightening serum can help visibly reduce the appearance of those long-lasting brown spots. As their name suggests, these products brighten up a dull complexion and help even out skin tone. The right one may also contain ingredients that can help smooth rough texture and make skin feel firmer. Most skin brightening serums contain vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that plays a role in visibly evening out skin tone and promoting healthy collagen (the stuff that keeps skin smooth and supple). However, the best vitamin C serum for you may have a few extra bells and whistles to tackle your other signs of sun-damage, too.
How to pick the right brightening treatment for your skin
Treating the look of sun damage with a one-size-fits-all solution isn’t always the right approach. If you have very subtle splotches or discoloration, you can use a mild skin brightening serum. But if you have more severe sun-damage on your face, plus lines and wrinkles, you’re going to need to pull out all the stops with something stronger. Here, I.D. the appearance of your sun damage and find the best vitamin C serum that will work best for your complexion.
You have the very beginnings of sun damage
Your skin has a few spots that were never there before and a slightly uneven tone. Maybe you haven’t yet dabbled with anti-aging products, but you’re noticing that your regular moisturizer and sunscreen regimen are no longer working for you.
Your best vitamin C serum: Vitamin C Ester Brightening Serum
This formula contains Vitamin C Ester, a potent and highly stable form of vitamin C (a notoriously unstable ingredient). As we discussed, vitamin C serum benefits include visibly smoothing away the appearance of sun damage, such as discoloration and an uneven skin tone. The serum also contains squalane, which hydrates skin without feeling heavy or greasy. Apply it twice daily before your moisturizer or night cream.
You have dark spots along with other signs of sun damage, such as loss of elasticity and firmness.
You’re looking for a next-level treatment to address these multiple issues at once.
Your best vitamin C serum: Vitamin C Ester Brightening Amine Face Lift
This serum combines the skin brightening power of vitamin C and is paired with ingredients that are formulated to visibly lift and firm skin. Vitamin C Ester works to give you more even, smoother skin, and glycolic acid gently sloughs away dead, dull skin, making skin look brighter and refreshed. This serum also contains DMAE, a substance that’s produced in your brain and also found in fatty fish such as sardines and anchovies. When applied topically, DMAE visibly firms skin, giving it a taut, lifted appearance. The Vitamin C Ester Brightening Amine Face Lift also contains hyaluronic acid, a humectant that binds water, drawing it into your skin and giving it a hydrated and plump look. Use it twice a day after cleansing skin.
You have more severe signs of sun-damage: pronounced patchy areas of discoloration, dullness, lines, wrinkles, and loss of firmness.
You’ve tried other anti-aging products, but you just haven’t found one that works.
Your best vitamin C serum: Vitamin C Ester CCC + Ferulic Brightening Complex 20%
This is when you need the strongest skin brightening serum you can find. Wondering why there are three Cs in the product name? There are three different forms of vitamin C in one bottle, which gives it the highest potency of all the Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester products—20%. This trio works together to protect against free radicals, boost the look of collagen-rich skin and penetrate deep into the skin’s surface for maximum brightening benefits. Vitamin C is also joined with ferulic acid and vitamin E, both antioxidants that are even more powerful when paired with the citrus extract. They work together to help stabilize the formula, so it doesn’t degrade in the bottle before it even hits your skin, like some other vitamin C serum products out there. The trio takes the usual vitamin C serum benefits up a notch.
How powerful are we talking? In Perricone MD’s clinical tests, 92% showed an improvement of radiance. In consumer tests over 28 days, 85% of women saw improvement in skin firmness, 88% said their skin was brighter and 90% reported better skin texture and more smoothness.
Perricone MD’s new Vitamin C Ester CCC + Ferulic Brightening Complex 20% is a powerhouse on its own, but it’s meant to be used as part of a comprehensive anti-aging regimen. For best results, apply it to cleansed, toned skin in the morning, and layer with Cold Plasma Plus+ Advanced Serum Concentrate. At night, repeat the Cold Plasma Plus+ and follow with the High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum.
Bottom line: Sun-damage can look different on different skin. Skip the cookie-cutter approach and look for the skin brightening serum that solves your skin’s specific needs.