MYTH: Brightening products dry out the skin.
This is true to a certain extent, but the problem can be countered. Sabrina Cheng, beauty advisor at Sulwhasoo, explains: “A common side effect of long-term usage of brightening products is dry skin, as vitamin C is the main ingredient in most brightening products. To prevent this, use brightening skincare that also has moisturising benefits.”
MYTH: If I remove dark spots with aesthetic treatments, I won’t have to use brightening skincare anymore.
Cosmetic procedures such as laser treatments can improve the appearance of existing dark spots. However, according to Taro Yamaguchi, global scientific communications manager at SK-II, we may have dark spots that have not yet risen to the surface of the skin. Such treatments may not be effective against these spots, which may eventually surface and become visible. Tanacin Meswad, head beauty trainer at SK-II, says: “Effective brightening products not only reduce visible blemishes, but also reduce the severity of underlying spots. So it’s important to use brightening skincare with spot-fighting benefits.”
MYTH: All brightening products will damage the skin.
It depends which ones you use. Tina Oh, trainer at Laneige, says: “Some brightening products in the market may have harmful substances such as mercury and steroids. Always ensure that you buy skincare from a reputable brand so you know that the ingredients used are safe for you. Most importantly, follow through with the proper skincare routine and read the product instructions for correct usage.”
MYTH: If I keep using brightening products, my skin will keep getting fairer.
According to Glen Ek, training executive at Shiseido, brightening products can work on melanin spots and help bring your skin back to its natural shade (ie the skin tone you were born with), but they cannot alter your skin tone so that it becomes lighter than your natural one.
MYTH: Such products have or act as bleaching agents.
“No, they don’t,” says Irene Low, manager at the Lancome counter in Takashimaya D.S. Brightening products work not by bleaching the skin but by “regulating the production and distribution of melanin in the skin. They also target other factors that aff ect skin darkening and pigmentation, such as inflammation and freeradical damage.
Photo of model: Jeremy Rice/Corbis
This story was first published in HerWorld Magazine April 2015.