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Today we're talking hyperpigmentation! In the interests of not repeating myself, please check out my recent hyperpigmentation series for some background of types of hyperpigmentation, ingredients that help treat it and how they work. But - for now - let's dive into the low-cost products that will help you in your battle against discolouration, uneven skin tone and post-inflammatory marks...
The first product I wanted to mention is the Geek & Gorgeous C-Glow 15% Vitamin C Serum | £11.95. Vitamin C is a tyrosinase-inhibitor, meaning it interferes with the signals that cause the skin to go into melanin production overdrive after injury, so it can prevent those post-breakout dark spots. Whilst on its own it's not going to be a miracle ingredient, it's part of the puzzle and its other benefits make it well worth getting into your routine. Pure-form Vitamin C such as this is can help boost collagen production in the skin, it provides antioxidant benefits (protecting the skin against free radical damage and premature ageing) and it can give the skin an overall glow-boost. It's a great all-rounder and helping with discolouration is just one aspect of that! This water-light serum is the most stable, gentle and effective pure Vitamin C I've found at a reasonable price.
I also wanted to shout out the Good Molecules Discolouration Correcting Serum | $12. This slightly milky serum is formulated with a tranexamic acid derivative and niacinamide. Tranexamic acid has been used medically to treat blood loss for year but then began to be used to help melasma (a form of discolouration often triggered by pregnancy) and eventually made its way onto the cosmetic market in serums aimed at improving uneven skin tone. The 4% niacinamide is going to be both effective and skin-friendly, being right in the proven range of efficacy. Niacinamide is an ingredient almost anyone can reap rewards by using. It helps boost the skin barrier by increasing ceramide production, it regulates oil production the skin and - most relevant to this post - it helps with post-inflammatory marks by preventing the spread of hyperpigmentation through the skin. That mean you don't have to worry too much about getting a scar that's bigger than the original spot if this is a regular part of your routine. This serum combines two effective ingredients in a formula that feels gentle and is compatible with most other skincare ingredients, so should slot easily into your routine.
Next, we have the Bondi Sands Buff N' Polish Gentle Chemical Exfoliant* | £9.99. Over-exfoliation can paradoxically lead to more hyperpigmentation by causing irritation and inflammation, but light use of gentle exfoliants can increase skin cell turnover and reveal a more even skin tone. This gel exfoliant contains PHAs (a gentler, more hydrating alternative to harsher acids on the market) and also an AHA in lactic acid, which is known for its gentle brightening and resurfacing benefits. So long as you don't over-rely on exfoliants, they're a great tool in your arsenal to treat discolouration and this is a fantastic option for dry and / or mature skin types, used a couple of times a week.
My exfoliation pick for oilier skin types is the Ordinary's Mandelic Acid 10% + HA | £6.50. I recommend using this overnight a couple of times a week because although it's oil-free, it's formulated with propanediol which might feel a little oily on the skin for people already prone to shine. Mandelic acid is an AHA with a larger molecular structure so it's gentle on the skin and it's specifically great for treating hyperpigmentation. It also has antibacterial benefits, which makes it great for spot-prone skin types and obviously; fewer spots mean less opportunities for hyperpigmentation to form! This also has hyaluronic acid to draw moisture into the skin, although it's honestly a totally non-drying and non-irritating exfoliant.
Of course, you can't treat hyperpigmentation without sunscreen! Some people say only mineral formulas should be considered, but I think you should reach for whatever you're actually going to use every single day, but look out for visible light protection in the formula. I really like Hello Sunday's the Everyday One SPF 50 Moisturiser* | £16. This lightweight hybrid sunscreen lotion is moisturising, lightweight and doesn't leave a cast whilst providing a broad spectrum SPF 50. protection. This is crucial for preventing the darkening of discolouration and also for preventing an inflammatory response that can lead to hyperpigmentation.
The Facetheory Exaglow Serum S10 | £18.99 | is perfect if you just want a one-step product with multiple ingredients to tackle hyperpigmentation. For this reason, it's been one of the most effective individual products I've tried against discolouration. You have your niacinamide, your tranexamic acid, a Vitamin C derivative, licorice root extract (another tyrosinase-inhibitor) and lactic acid. It's a multi-pronged attack that works! And it's gentle on my skin when used around 3 times a week.
*I'm so sorry but in the time between me planning the post and checking back, I've noticed the price has been significantly increased and my discount code no longer works. If I can get a new code, I'll post it here to bring the price back down!*
Lastly, of course we have a retinoid: the Geek & Gorgeous A-Game 10 | £17.95. Retinoids are a kind of wonder-ingredient, in my books. They're proven to help improve the look of fine lines and sun damage and boost up collagen production, making them a well-ageing hero. However, they're also brilliant for helping with blemish scars, discolouration and uneven skin tone or texture. They're a must for me based on just their well-ageing benefits and the support they give in relation to evening out the skin tone is a great added extra. I love this gentle but effective retinaldehyde formula from Geek & Gorgeous. I noticed great results really quickly without any of the 'retinoid nasties' like irritation, dryness and peeling.
What are you top ingredients and affordable product for treating discolouration?