Natural Skin Brighteners

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For those who know me well, know that I like to discuss and treat hyperpigmentation.  As a sufferer of previous sun-induced and hormone-induced hyperpigmentation, I am always researching and experimenting with the latest and greatest products to treat this very common condition.  Hydroquinone (HQ) is a highly effective topical bleaching agent (I use a 2% strength), however, there continues to be great debate over the safety of this FDA approved ingredient.  Many people are seeking more natural skin brightening ingredients.  Some of the more popular natural brighteners are discussed below.  Many of the PCA Skin products contain these ingredients and I use at least three different products containing natural brighteners, twice a day, to keep my hyperpigmentation under control.


Licorice, from the root of Glycyrrhiza, has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial components, which prevent UBV induced hyperpigmentation and hinder the production of melanin.


High in Vitamin C, lemons are packed with antioxidants that fight free radical damage and have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  Their acids work as exfoliators, thus resulting in brighter skin. Flavonoid nobiletin, found in citrus peels, help to hinder melanin production.


Found in red wine (from grape skin), resveratrol has ant-inflammatory properties and is loaded with antioxidants.  Studies have shown that it can slow down melanin production and UVB induced cell color saturation.

Green Tea

We all know green tea is good for us, but did you know studies show an improvement with sun damage with the regular use of green tea polyphenols (antioxidants).


Arbutin is mostly extracted from bearberry, but is sometimes controversial because it is essentially a glucose attached to a hydroquinone, the chemical associated with skin bleaching.  Arbutin has been found to be a strong melanin production inhibitor and is often used as an alternative to HQ.


Julie Vondrak, Master Esthetician



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