MELANIE MORRIS finds out just why even the palest of Irish complexions can benefit from the new genre of skin whitening products.
Once the preserve of the Asian markets, skin whitening (or brightening) is now gaining ground with women in the West. Why? The benefits cover a spectrum of conditions.
This strong skincare player involves using active compounds, acids and antioxidants to bring luminosity back to the complexion, smooth out skin texture, and reduce or fade age spots, freckles and uneven pigment.
It's an especially good treatment or regime to incorporate at this time of year, giving skin a good, transformative detox, and removing toxins and dull layers of dead cells, so that fresh, light, bright skin can shine through. The effect is instantly anti-ageing.
Skin whitening treatments work by reducing the content of melanin in the skin. Melanin is responsible for skin colour, and stored in melanocytes, chameleon-like skin cells that darken in response to light and UV exposure. These cells exist in large dormant numbers, at the bottom of the skin's epidermis (top layer), waiting to spring into action - hence why your skin tans and freckles. Age spots are a result of excess melanin production over a period of time.
Skin brightening is the process of clearing the skin's dull, dead layers to let new skin shine through. A skin cell takes, on average, 21 days to travel from the base of the dermis, when it is plump and healthy, to the surface of the epidermis, by which time it's flat, lifeless and dull. Aged skin cells prevent light from penetrating through human skin, and eliminates the illuminating glow we associate with youth.
So, while many Irish women might not be looking for fairer skin per se, a clear, even, high-beam complexion is surely on all our wish lists.
Check out these six hero products to help brighten complexions and even out skin tone here.
This article originally appeared in the February issue of IMAGE magazine, on shelves nationwide now.