If you told me in my teenage years that I would one day have naturally glowing skin and be free of major dark spots, I’d have laughed you off. The thing is, I have always struggled with hyperpigmentation, the darkening of skin due to an increased production of melanin, ever since a dreadful thing called puberty took over my life back in the early 2000s. This meant that every time I got a pimple or a breakout, a dark spot would be left in its place once it had healed. Sixteen year old me didn’t have a clue what a skin care routine was and I’d use any soap I could find in the shower on my face. My skin was crying for help and I had no idea.
To make matters worse, I battled extremely oily skin that was prone to breakouts. As I grew older and entered adulthood, my breakouts were few and far in between but the scars and marks that remained reminded me of my teenage struggle. It wasn’t until well into my 20s that I decided I wanted to take better care of my skin and invest in myself. With trial and error, many failed attempts and lots of money spent, I’ve finally found products and a routine that have worked extremely well to help me get glowing skin, fade dark spots and increase hydration.
If you’ve stumbled upon this post you’ve either suffered from your fair share of hyperpigmentation, dull skin or you’re wanting to say goodbye to daily makeup wearing (like me!). You want figure out how to get glowing skin and create a beauty routine that allows you to improve your complexion and feel confident rocking your bare face.
I stopped using physical exfoliants, which are products such cleansers and scrubs with grainy, exfoliating particles that essentially vigorously scrubbing away dead skin cells. I can almost guarantee that you remember the peach scrub from St. Ives that was all the rage back in the day. You have no idea how glad I am to have moved from that phase to a more “adult like” beauty routine.
Instead, I introduced glycolic acid, a chemical exfoliant, into my beauty routine and I saw a major difference in my skin. I quickly realized that one of the major contributors to glowing skin was acids. Glycolic acid’s claim to fame is effectively removing the outer layer of dead skin cells and revealing brighter skin, without the irritating factor of physically scraping the skin away. My two favourites that I’ve been alternating between are Pixi’s Glow Tonic and The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid Toning Solution.
If you haven’t started using Vitamin C in your skin care routine, you’re missing out on so many great benefits. It prevents melanin production which in turn helps to lighten dark spots, even out skin tone and provide the skin with an all around glow. Even if you don’t suffer from hyperpigmentation, it’s a great skin booster and gives you an overall brighter complexion.
I use a very inexpensive Vitamin C Suspension from The Ordinary, a long with their Alpha Arbutin, both formulated to help reduce the appearance of dark spots. The newest addition to the party is the Ascobic Acid + Alpha Arbutin which I use one a day in the morning, followed by moisturizer and a good sunscreen.
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Let me start off my saying that I’m not the only person that suffers from oily skin and used to believe that depriving your skin of moisture would help to dry it out and reduce oil production. If you’re under that impression today you’re sadly mistaken, believe me, I learned the hard way. By restricting your skin of adequate moisture, it responds by over compensating and producing access oil in an attempt to hydrate itself.
Many skin problems (other than chronic conditions) are caused by dehydration. It was crazy for me to think that, much less believe, that moisturizing my skin regularly and giving it water as a nutrient would drastically reduce its oil production. This isn’t to say that my skin isn’t oily anymore, you can’t change that genetic makeup, but it does mean that I don’t have to blot my face ten times a day and overload on the pressed powder.
My favourite hydrating serum has been hyaluronic acid, I use the one from The Ordinary which costs a little over $6 and works extremely well. Hyaluronic is a substance that is naturally produced by the body and aids in retaining water in the skin and drawing in moisture. Along with Hyaluronic acid, I recently had the chance to try the new Olay Serum Sticks and I’ve been really enjoying it.
Because it is a stick formula, I apply it right after my toner but before any other products to prevent it from “pilling”. I really love the cooling effect that the serum stick offers, that I haven’t seen any other serums do, and the fact that it compliments the rest of my skin care routine nicely. The formula allows for a hydrating and nourishing base without any access oils. This is an amazing summer staple.
Believe it or not, I didn’t start wearing sunscreen on my face until earlier this year. Yeah crazy, I know. Growing up, there wasn’t much hype about wearing sunscreen on your face daily, especially as a black woman, except when I was younger and would go to the beach or spend the day playing in the sun at overnight camp. Even at that, there was very little to no education about why we needed to use it and how important it was.
Wearing sunscreen on my face as an adult means so much more now. Our skin cells respond to the suns rays by producing more melanin as a defence mechanism. As someone who is actively working at reducing the appearance of dark spots and acne scarring, this is the last thing I want to do. If you are someone that uses chemical exfoliants that contain AHAs such as Glycolic Acid or Ascorbic Acid, you’ll want to ensure that you’re wearing sunscreen daily as the skin fresh skin becomes extra sensitive to sun exposure. You don’t want all your hard work and amazing products to have been for nothing.
Let me know in the comments below if you too suffer from hyper-pigmentation and what products have helped you on your journey to achieve healthier, glowing skin.