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Brightening Agent Deep-dive: What’s the Difference?

by Haruka Jifuku 05 Jul 2024 0 Comments
Brightening Agent Deep-dive: What’s the Difference?

Brightening Agent Deep-dive: What’s the Difference?

Watching K-dramas and noticing that the stars have amazingly flawless, even-toned, and simply glowing skin? Yes, Korean skincare goes deep into brightening the complexion, getting rid of dark spots, and fading pigmentation with innovative formulas. There are many brightening ingredients in the skincare world, but they all work differently. Let's deep dive into this blog!

What’s “Brightening”? 

In Korean skincare, "brightening" refers to the process of making the skin appear more radiant, even-toned, and luminous. It often involves reducing hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and dullness, giving the skin a healthier and more vibrant appearance. It’s often confused with changing the skin colour, but it does not. Instead, it’s about improving the skin’s radiance and clarity for a natural glow, giving the skin a luminous appearance without altering its natural colour.

Types of Brightening Agents

Brightening ingredients are categorised by how they work on the skin to tackle dark spots and pigmentation. 

Inhibiting Melanin Production

Dark spots and hyperpigmentation occur when excess melanin (the pigment responsible for skin colour) is produced in specific areas of the skin. By inhibiting its production, skincare ingredients can fade pigmentation and promote a more even-toned complexion.

Intervening Melanocytes Activities

Melanocytes are specialised cells found in the deepest layer of the skin's epidermis, known as the basal layer. They produce melanin and transfer it to nearby skin cells (keratinocytes), which gives our skin its colour and shields it from UV radiation. By disrupting this transfer process, we can gradually diminish the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

Star Agents: Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Tranexamic Acid

ANUA Niacinamide 10% + TXA 4% Dark Spot Correcting Serum (30ml) - £21.00

ANUA Niacinamide 10% + TXA 4% Dark Spot Correcting Serum (30ml)

This serum combines 10% Niacinamide and 4% Tranexamic Acid to fade pigmentation and promote an even skin tone. The powerful formula also includes 2% Arbutin to inhibit melanin production and prevent new dark spots from forming, while a Vitamin C derivative protects the skin from free radicals and improves dullness.

Preventing Tyrosinase Activity

Tyrosinase is an enzyme involved in the biochemical pathway that produces melanin within melanocytes. It catalyses the conversion of the amino acid tyrosine into dopaquinone, which then undergoes further transformations to produce melanin pigments. Inhibiting tyrosinase activity can help reduce the production of melanin, thereby fading pigmentation.

Star Agents: Vitamin C, Arbutin, Glutathione

PURITO Pure Vitamin C Serum (60ml) - £16.99

PURITO Pure Vitamin C Serum (60ml)

Formulated with 5% Ascorbic Acid and Niacinamide, it diminishes dark spots and evens out skin tone. Sodium Hyaluronate deeply hydrates and improves elasticity, while Adenosine reduces wrinkles and fine lines.

More Ingredients for Fading Pigmentation

Apart from brightening agents, there are more skincare ingredients that promote the process of fading dark spots and pigmentation by different approaches.

Exfoliating Dead Skin Cells

Regular exfoliation is effective in reducing pigmentation because it helps remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. By exfoliating regularly, you encourage the turnover of skin cells, revealing fresher, newer cells underneath. Exfoliation also can enhance the penetration and effectiveness of other skincare products.

Star Agents: AHAs, PHAs

HARUHARU WONDER Black Rice Triple AHA Gentle Cleansing Gel (100ml) - £14.95

HARUHARU WONDER Black Rice Triple AHA Gentle Cleansing Gel (100ml)

This mild cleanser gently cleanses and exfoliates with a unique blend of 3 types of AHAs: Tartaric Acid, Mandelic Acid, and Citric Acid. These ingredients promote skin cell turnover and balance pH levels, leaving your skin softer and smoother without causing dryness. Enriched with nutrient-rich Black Rice Extract, it boosts moisture levels and nourishes your complexion.

Reducing Inflammation

Skin inflammation can indeed trigger melanocytes to overproduce melanin, resulting in more dark spots and an uneven skin tone. Incorporating soothing ingredients when the skin is red and sensitive can help minimise these risks. By calming inflammation with gentle, hydrating, and anti-inflammatory skincare products, you can support skin health and reduce the likelihood of developing hyperpigmentation.

Star Agents: Centella Asiatica, Heartleaf, Tea Tree Leaf

PURITO Wonder Releaf Centella Serum Unscented (60ml) - £19.95

PURITO Wonder Releaf Centella Serum Unscented (60ml)

The brand’s best-selling Centella Unscented Serum now comes in fresh new packaging with a more effective, concentrated formula! The new version has more Centella Asiatica Extract to relieve redness and irritation, plus Panthenol and Niacinamide to boost moisture and even skin tone for a brighter, healthier complexion.

Protecting the Skin From Sun Damage

For many people, hyperpigmentation is caused by sun exposure, which stimulates melanin production and can darken existing pigmentation issues. Sunscreen helps protect the skin from UV radiation, which not only prevents further darkening of spots but also safeguards against the development of new ones. 

SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Air-Fit Suncream Light SPF30 PA++++ (50ml) - £18.00

SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Air-Fit Suncream Light SPF30 PA++++ (50ml)

 Infused with Centella Asiatica Extract, it calms and reduces irritation while its non-nano physical sunscreen nourishes and hydrates the skin, strengthening its barrier. With brightening Niacinamide to target dark spots and Adenosine to improve wrinkles and fine lines, this sunscreen is a multitasking gem for your skincare routine.

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