Wrinkles get all the bad press, even though brown spots are just as aging. Your skin has melanocytes, octopus-like cells that produce pigment. But inflammation, stress, hormones, and plain getting older can cause these cells to push out too much pigment, resulting in brown or reddish splotches.
Luckily, while not all brown spots are alike, their fix is: The right topical.
Peptides help slow the production of melanin. Niacinamide, licorice extract, and red and brown algae lighten existing spots. Try Dermalogica C-12 Pure Bright Serum ($90, dermalogica.com).
Smooth it on twice daily—underneath your makeup during the day and your moisturizer at night. Spot-treat if you have a few marks; apply it all over if your pigmentation is more profuse.
Be patient—and realistic. With daily use, it takes at least 45 days just to get rid of pigment residing in the epidermis (skin’s top layer), and melanin can extend into the deeper levels, which is much harder to treat.
For more info on all the different causes of dark spots—and how to combat them—check out the March 2015 issue of Women’s Health, on sale now.
Annet King is a skin therapist, massage therapist, electrologist, and aromatherapist with multiple certifications. She is the global education director for Dermalogica and the International Dermal Institute (IDI), a school for licensed skin-care professionals.
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3 Sensitive Skin Myths—Busted!
4 Reasons You’re Still Struggling with Acne
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