Ingredient Series: Skin Brightening Ingredients to Target Hyperpigmentation & Sun Spots

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“Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by hyperpigmentation or dull skin.”

Me: ✋af

We’re back with another ingredient breakdown to talk skin brightening, because who doesn’t want a brighter and fresher complexion? If you’re with us, read until the very end to learn about the best ingredients to look out for and tips to follow to achieve skin bright enough to outshine the sun ☀️☀️☀️.

Before we get into the ingredients, introductions to some major players in our skin’s complexion are in order.


Say hello to our friend ‘melanocyte’, the cell responsible for managing the pigmentation in our skin, hair, and basically everything else on our body. Melanocyte’s regular duties include producing our bodies’ ‘melanin’, or the pigment that gives our skin, hair, and eyes their color, and then wrapping the new, baby melanin up in a blanket called 'melanosome' that stores and transports the melanin to where they need to go. So after the baby melanin are born and get nice and cozy inside their melanosome, they’re sent away to our skin cells and finally grow up to become our skin’s pigment. Pretty cool, right?





So what exactly makes our skin tones lighter or darker than others’? Well primarily it’s genetics, so what your mom and pop gave you is what you get. In darker skin tones, baby melanin are packed super tightly into tiny melanosome blankets and travel further and all over the skin. In lighter skin tones, however, they are wrapped loosely in larger, more spacious melanosome and don’t travel very far or very much at all; which attribute to different amounts of pigment in the skin and thus different skin tones.


Now you’re probably wondering– why does melanocyte produce baby melanin at all and what factors contribute to what it produces? So besides from the fact that melanocyte is genetically programmed to produce melanin in your skin, it is also largely influenced by the sun’s UV rays. These rays stimulate melanocyte to produce more baby melanin to do one very important thing: PROTECT our skin from harmful UV ray-induced damage from the sun!

On the flip side though, melanocyte is also triggered to product melanin by: (*DUN DUN DUNNN*) inflammation. So if you struggle with acne or some other skin inflammatory disease, chances are that you regularly deal with the discoloration and marks left behind – and nobody wants that.

So for those of you who’ve had a rough time either dealing with the aftermath of skin inflammation or a dull skin complexion, stay tuned. Here are the skincare ingredients that can help you control melanocyte’s baby melanin production (think of it as birth control, if you will 😉).


Ingredients you want to look for are:

  1. Hydroquinone
  2. Kojic acid
  3. Vitamin C
  4. Vitamin E (A powerful classic duo with Vitamin C)
  5. Azelaic Acid
  6. Arbutin
  7. Niacinamide
  8. Licorice Extract
  9. And many more!

All these ingredients work mainly to inhibit the 'tyrosinase enzyme' that’s responsible for the birth of baby melanin. With them on your side, you can finally gain some control of your skin!

Another step you can take to brighten your skin complexion is to help accelerate the skin regeneration process with regular exfoliation. Using AHA or retinol products are awesome for this, as they work by smoothing off the “discolored” skin cells (aka hyperpigmentation) on the surface and replacing them with a new skin cells. Begone old skin cells! And REMEMBER that this is NOT an overnight kind of thing, so be patient with whatever product you’re using to see results! Persistence and patience are key, and slowly but surely, good things will come *pinky promise*.

Last but certainly not least, we’ve got one more step for you: ALWAYS PUT ON YOUR SUNSCREEN! Because no matter what your skin type, color, or condition is, your skin is always in need of UV protection. This is especially important for achieving and maintaining bright skin as sunscreen acts to shield your skin and prevent UV-rays from provoking melanocyte into producing more melanin. Since when did applying sunscreen not help our skin, right?

We hope you enjoyed this rundown about how the pigment in our skin works (who to remember: melanocyte, baby melanin and blanket melanosome) and that you have the tools you need to achieve the complexion you’ve been looking for. And please, please, PLEASE remember to embrace the skin you have and give it the TLC it needs, because you are so worth it 💖.