The desire for perfect, flawlessly clear skin is mostly universal.  Every day, there are countless new threads on beauty forums espousing the virtues of products that promise to brighten complexions, questions on how to brighten skin, and how to banish blemishes for good. But really, how much of it is just hype, and why is there so much obsession surrounding the concept of skin whitening?


The key to bright and glowing skin is basically to focus on getting rid of any blemishes and uneven patches of hyperpigmentation that stands in the way of radiance. And in order to do just that, you need to make sure you use top quality products that will nourish your skin while taking spots and dullness away.

Usually, the best skin whitening products come in the form of serums and creams as they contain concentrated amounts of active ingredients, but how to know which products are the best to choose?

Instead of leeching pigment from your skin, a good skin brightening cream or serum works by repairing UV damage, inhibiting melanin production and improving clarity. When you’re shopping for products, look out for ingredients that can accomplish this, such as antioxidants, niacinamide, and vitamin C.


One great example is the beloved brightening serum GenOptics Aura Essence ($199 for 30ml, $299 for 50ml and $400 for 75ml), available at all SK-II counters islandwide. This serum is lightweight and quickly absorbed by the skin plus it doesn’t leave behind any sticky residue so you can safely wear it under makeup. Star ingredients in the formula include Pitera, D-Melano P3C – a whitening active that prevents melanin formation and mitigates sunburn damage –, Inositol, as well as Prunus and Ume extract.

The two botanical extracts function as antioxidants, which neutralise free radicals generated from pollution and UV exposure. Inositol is a carbocyclic sugar that can be found naturally in mammals and helps to improve skin clarity. Then, there’s Pitera, which contains over 50 micronutrients and is the brand’s hero ingredient. Derived through the process of sake fermentation, Pitera is particularly effective at moisturising and retaining hydration, thanks to the fact that it’s structurally similar to the natural moisturising factors (NMF) found in healthy skin.


On top of that, it also improves skin barrier functions, keeping dullness, dryness, wrinkles and surface damage at bay. The GenOptics Aura Essence also contains niacinamide, panthenol, skin-friendly fatty acids, and a stable water-soluble form of Vitamin C. Not bad for one product, huh?



Besides being chock-full of ingredients that make attaining clear, luminous skin easier than ever, the GenOptics Aura Essence is also incredibly easy to apply. You know how they say that your skin is like a sponge? Well, a damp sponge absorbs more than one that’s bone dry, so make sure to prep your skin with the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence for optimal results.  After using a toner or essence, smooth on a full dropper of the serum onto your skin.

Follow up with a good moisturiser to seal in all that goodness. Never rub your skin. Instead, gently pat products in for maximum absorption. A good way to make sure your products work in tandem is to get them from the same brand – we recommend getting the Cellumination Deep Surge EX moisturiser if you want to turn your skin whitening routine up to 11! Like the Aura Essence, this light moisturiser also contains Pitera and D-Melano P3C to boost your skin’s radiance.

Avène Physiolift Aqua Cream-in-gel

The Avène Physiolift Aqua Cream-in-gel ($89.90 for 50ml) is also a good moisturizer choice, especially if you are looking to eliminate steps from your skincare routine. The gel cream draws inspiration from all-in-one products popular in Japan and promises to hydrate, restore and protect skin in just one step. It contains Ascofiline, an algae extract that increases skin collagen content, hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate and pre-tocopheryl, a precursor of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.

That said, even the best skin whitening serum cannot do magic. Some prevention is necessary in the form of active suncare, especially if you want to keep dark spots at bay. Always use a broad spectrum sunscreen, apply an adequate amount and if you’re out in the full-on sun, and reapply every four hours to ensure skin is shielded from damaging UV rays that cause darkening and skin hyperpigmentation.

A great one to try is Orbis’ UV Cut Sunscreen On Face Light SPF 34 PA+++[TN(5]  ($18 for 28ml), a lightweight tinted sunblock that not only protects skin from UV damage but make it look great while doing so. It also dries down semi-matte, which means you get a good luminous finish without the tackiness that often comes with dewiness.

Now that you’ve got everything you need to know to achieve bright, glowing skin, you should get started on improving your skincare routine!