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    How to Brighten Dark Spots

    How to Brighten Dark Spots
    One of the most common questions I hear is, "How do I lighten dark spots?" Unlike freckles (I have thousands!), dark spots are irregular patches of darker skin. No matter how light or dark your general complexion is, years of sun damage or hormonal changes, like those during pregnancy, can cause the melanin in our skin to express itself irregularly. They seem to appear suddenly and can linger for months or years.

    Brightening and lightening these dark spots and patches takes patience, but it certainly can be done and is honestly pretty easy - it just takes some consistency. After treating my own sun spots and listening to decades of feedback from customers as they brighten their own, I've come up with some basic steps that work.

    Exfoliate 1-2 times a week. Double Exfoliation is Best

    Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells. Is this really necessary? Absolutely. Brightening products can only do their work if they can be absorbed by our skin and dead skin creates a barrier to any products being absorbed. As we age, our cellular turnover slows down and that, combined with sun exposure leads to an excess of dead skin cells building up.

    Besides increasing product absorption, removing the layer of dead skin sends a signal down into your dermis, telling your skin to start making healthy new cells. When you exfoliate, your skin literally gets younger! And besides the desire to have a smooth complexion, we want our skin cells to be as young and healthy as possible so they aren't as subject to the ravages of aging and skin cancers.

    Start with a chemical exfoliant.

    Acids like AHAs, Glycolic and Lactic acid all help to dissolve dead skin and soften the "glue" that holds dead skin cells on. Applying a mask like our Coconut Lactic Peel once or twice a week for just 10-15 minutes will safely remove most of the dead skin. If you enjoy taking the time to create a self-care ritual as you mask, make a cup of tea, cleanse your face, apply the mask and relax as it works its magic.

    If you'd rather not add yet another step into your busy routine, or you frequently forget to use a mask, consider keeping it on a shelf in your shower (tightly closed, of course). Make a habit of applying the mask 1-2 times a week at the very beginning of your shower, leaving it on until the end and then rinsing it off.

    Follow with a manual scrub

    After rinsing off your acid mask, there will still be some dead skin cells clinging on. Estheticians always do a "double exfoliation" during a facial for this reason. Use a gentle scrub like our Seaweed & Mint Exfoliating Scrub (for thicker - oilier skin) or our Cucumber Face Polish (for more sensitive, delicate skin). Scrub your face gently and thoroughly. Don't exceed 3 days a week with a facial scrub. Once the dead skin cells are removed, you don't need to scrub any further and it takes a few days for your body to build up more dead skin. Save yourself some time and scrub in the shower, right after rinsing off your acid mask.

    Treat Your Dark Spots Twice a Day

    IMPORTANT: If your brightening/ lightening products are sun-sensitizing (retinols and vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid fall into this category), use them only at night. Their photo-sensitizing effects wear off after several hours and you'll be safe to go into the sun in the morning. If you use retinols or ascorbic acid and then expose your skin to UV rays right away, you'll risk sunburn and the dark spots getting even darker, so be sure to read the usage instructions.

    Evening Treatment

    This is the time to use your more powerful brightening and reparative products. Our metabolism changes while we sleep and our cells go into "healing and repair mode". The skin is more receptive, so besides applying products with brightening ingredients, this is also the time to nourish our skin, giving it the resources to repair itself from years of sun damage.

    Retinols help brighten and smooth the skin overnight and frankincense essential oil is said to help prevent cellular damage from UV rays. I recommend using products rich in antioxidants that protect our skin cells from free radicals caused by environmental stressors. Nighttime is also a good time to use anti-inflammatory ingredients like blue tansy and chamomile, hydrating ceramides and lipids (plant oils). The Blue Sapphire Concentrated Brightening Oil and Beauty Sleep Overnight Brightening Mask both contain a blend of skin repairing and brightening ingredients to do some powerful work on those dark spots while you sleep.

    Can I Treat My Dark Spots During the Day?

    You definitely can and you should!

    Use a non-sun sensitizing brightening serum every morning. I've formulated our Ultra-C Serum for exactly this purpose and I recommend it as your first leave-on product each morning. While it contains a whopping 15% vitamin C, it's in the form of stable citrus extracts that have had the photo-sensitizing components removed. With the addition of ferulic acid to boost the effectiveness and loads of antioxidants, the Ultra-C Serum works all day to brighten sun spots.

    Wear sunscreen and a hat every day! This is vital to lightening those darker spots and patches. The melanin in our skin is triggered by UV rays, so applying a moisturizer with mineral SPF every morning is key to preventing those posts from getting darker. You don't want the sun to undo all the hard work you've done to lighten them, so wear your sunscreen. All of our "day" and "daily" facial moisturizers have mineral spf 15 and our Broad Spectrum Sunshade Lotion has spf 30+ for those longer days in the sun. Take your sun protection farther and wear a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves.

    Morning Brightening Ritual:

    Apply a brightening serum like the Ultra C Serum, massaging it in with your fingertips and allowing it to sink in for a minute or two.

    Follow with an spf moisturizer. Always wear mineral sunscreen during the day.

    Evening Brightening Ritual:

    4 nights a week: Add 3-4 drops Blue Sapphire Concentrated Brightening Oil to your nighttime moisturizer. Massage into your skin.

    Alternate your nighttime moisturizer every other night with the Beauty Sleep Overnight Brightening Mask. I like to add a few drops of the Blue Sapphire Concentrated Brightening Oil to this as well.

    Weekly Brightening Ritual:

    Double Exfoliation - Use a gentle acid peel for 15 minutes, rinse off and then scrub.

     

    RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS:

    DOUBLE EXFOLIATION 1-2 TIMES A WEEK:

    COCONUT LACTIC PEEL

    COCONUT LACTIC PEEL

    CUCUMBER FACE POLISH

    CUCUMBER FACE POLISH

     

    NIGHTLY BRIGHTENING TREATMENT:

    BLUE SAPPHIRE CONCENTRATED BRIGHTENING OIL

    BLUE SAPPHIRE CONCENTRATED BRIGHTENING OIL

    BEAUTY SLEEP OVERNIGHT BRIGHTENING MASK

    BEAUTY SLEEP OVERNIGHT BRIGHTENING MASK

     

    MORNING BRIGHTENING RITUAL:

    ULTRA C SERUM

    ULTRA C SERUM

     

    CHOOSE YOUR SPF MOISTURIZER:

    BROAD SPECTRUM SUNSHADE LOTION SPF 30+

    BROAD SPECTRUM SUNSHADE LOTION SPF 30+

    GOJI MATE ULTRALIGHT MOISTURIZER SPF 15

    GOJI MATE ULTRALIGHT MOISTURIZER SPF 15

     YOUTH IN BLOOM PHYTOACTIVE FIRIMING DAY CREAM SPF 15

    YOUTH IN BLOOM PHYTOACTIVE FIRMING DAY CREAM SPF 15

     Herbal Day Cream spf 15

    HERBAL DAY CREAM SPF 15

     Apple Stem Cell Daily Radiance Cream

    APPLE STEM CELL DAILY RADIANCE CREAM SPF 15

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