By Ashonti Phillips
Picture this: It’s finally Saturday and you’ve never been more eager for a girl's night out. After a long week of anticipation and outfit gazing, you’re elated to find yourself only a short makeup routine away from the most fun night of the week. As you dry your face of cleanser and listen to the bustling sounds of the city through your bathroom window, you can’t help but smile at the thought of half-priced margaritas dancing through your system. Heck, you even dance along for a while!
That is until you see… it. Plopped right in the middle of your forehead, front and center is the hugest acne scar you’ve ever seen! When did it even get there? How many people have already seen it? Can your shade of foundation even cover it up?
Hello darkness my old friend, literally.
Unfortunately, this is just a random page from the story that is “My Life”: An ongoing journey to clear skin. Run-ins with skin discoloration can be scary and if you’re as helpless as me with makeup, even Saturday-night-ruining. This is just a needle in a haystack of moments my skin discoloration left me feeling ambushed, insecure, and confused. Can you relate?
If so, allow me to dispel some of your confusion.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Surprisingly, uneven skin pigmentation is not the spawn of Satan. It is instead the product of excess melanin, the pigment responsible for determining skin, eyes, and hair color. Though infamously triggered by the sun, melanin production can actually be related to multiple factors including hormonal imbalances, aging, and the inflammation process. For this reason, hyperpigmentation is extremely common across all skin tones and skin types, however, darker more melanated skin tones tend to be distinctly prone, especially if undergoing more sun exposure.
Nonetheless, to make a long story short: it’s practically inevitable
It doesn’t matter how generous you are with amounts of sunscreen, we all experience skin discoloration at some point in our lives: dark spots, brown marks, age spots, etc. (The list of nicknames in infinite). Just turn on your television, and you’re bound to find a commercial promising you a cream or serum to rid you of your horrid pigmented lesions. If you’re anything like me, this will surely trap you and your beloved wallet into a vicious cycle of empty promises and crappy skincare products.
But fear not! The answer to your problems is much simpler than you’d think. The secret is vitamin C!
The Tea on Vitamin C
Prior to becoming mortal enemies with my acne, vitamin C was just something I took when trying to get over a cold. Now, I practically live by it. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and works to neutralize free radical molecules while also increasing glutathione - another antioxidant known to stimulate the creation of lighter pigmentation. In addition to this, vitamin C reduces dark patches by exfoliation, allowing for dead skin cells to be removed and for newer, brighter skin cells to shine through.
Vitamin C is also famous for its ability to boost collagen production. While low and depleting collagen levels result in sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles, higher production rates can lead to tighter, and younger-looking skin. This, in combination with its super hydrating qualities (derived from its magnesium ascorbic phosphate), gives your skin firmness and elasticity.
In other words, vitamin C is the holy grail of skincare and my new best friend. I’ve specifically grown to love serums. When it comes to attacking hyperpigmentation head-on, a serum should be your weapon of choice. While creams and moisturizers aim to hydrate, serums hone in on the real issues at hand. This is due to their thin texture and high concentration of ingredients.
But before you put your loafers on and head to target, I’m going to let you in on a not-so-little secret: all serums were NOT created equally. In fact, if certain factors like color and smell aren’t taken into consideration, it could be a huge waste of your money, time, and energy.
When on the prowl for a good serum, it’s important that you choose one stored in a dark, opaque glass or bottle. Since vitamin C is an antioxidant, exposure to air, light, and heat can intensely reduce the value of your serum. When subjected to these conditions, vitamin C becomes unstable - meaning it can actually darken your skin rather than lighten it. Scary, right?
Luckily this change can easily be spotted based on any noticeable change in color. If initially clear, a serum may turn yellow if oxidizing. If initially yellow, this change can be identified if a brown or dark orange color appears.
What Do I Use?
As someone who needs extra moisture and extra firming, I always rely on Lyna Beauty’s Saw-C serum to keep my skin in tip-top shape. Maintaining moisture in my skin has always been an uphill battle, especially when picking a serum, considering the acidic nature of vitamin C. The Saw-C serum in specific uses both citrus stem cells and hyaluronic acid to not only smoothen and firm the texture of my skin but also to penetrate the skin and provide moisture on the cellular level.
The bottom line is this: hyperpigmentation can be annoying, but it can also be manageable! Vitamin C has proven itself to be essential in skincare as a whole, but particularly when it comes to fixing skin discoloration and lesions. Alongside this are advantages including skin tightening, elasticity, and further protection from the sun. Regardless of skin type, we could all use a little vitamin C. But if you’re batting hyperpigmentation? Honey, it’s a necessity.