August 23 2014

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Getting Even With Sun Spots


Summer might be a distant memory at this point, but the effects of those sun-drenched days often appear around now in the form of freckles, age spots, and dark patches. Getting rid of stubborn pigmentation requires diligence, as the slightest slip-up in your SPF application (even in the light-deprived days of winter) can trigger new blotches and bring back old ones. Luckily, there’s no shortage of brightening products at your disposal these days. The latest advances even out the complexion with super-charged molecules, micro-size antioxidants, and Rx-level extracts. While some go to work in record-setting time, most deliver more dramatic results in a month or so. With that in mind, we’ve been faithfully patting on five of the most promising recently released elixirs and scrutinizing our complexion. Here’s our early analysis of how each measures up.

The Product: La Roche-Posay Mela-D Pigment Control, $49.95,

The Claim: This night serum aims to fade existing dark patches in two weeks with a combo of three complementary active ingredients in clinical-strength form: kojic acid to inhibit spot-producing melanin, glycolic acid to slough dead skin at the surface, and lipo-hydroxy acid to boost cell turnover.

The First Impression: While our sun spots haven’t changed much yet, it exfoliated our skin without any tingling or redness, making it feel immediately softer—and making us optimistic about its continued efficacy.

The Product: Chanel Le Blanc Whitening Moisturizing Cream, $130,

The Claim: Designed specifically for Asian skin (and those of us who aspire to its milky perfection), this daily cream contains TXC, a star ingredient backed by nine years of research that reduces the skin inflammation that can cause pigmentation, along with rice protein extract to deliver eight-hour hydration.

The First Impression: The dewy salve glides right on and imparts a soft, candlelit glow. But its floral-y scent was a bit too intense for our liking, although we imagine some might appreciate its delicate aroma.

The Product: Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, $49.50,

The Claim: This clear tincture is the first to feature a tiny, photo-stable form of brightening vitamin C. It sinks deep into skin to slow the production of melanin with an “anti-cluster” effect that breaks up existing spots and imperfections before they form, while optical diffusers mask dark marks on the surface.

The First Impression: The serum felt a little sticky on our skin at first, but it wasn’t an issue after a topcoat of moisturizer. On a, um, brighter note, it left our complexion noticeably more even-toned.

The Product: Clé de Peau Brightening Serum Supreme, $160,

The Claim: This antiaging serum is spiked with wild ginger extract to block the enzyme that triggers melanin formation, vitamin C to fade existing spots, and an exclusive “brilliant color controller” composed of olive leaf extract and l-arginine to prevent the skin from looking dull.

The First Impressions: Luxurious! The serum left our complexion silky smooth with the right amount of moisture—making it perfect to apply under makeup—while muting the intensity of the brown speckles around our eyes and cheeks.

The Product: StriVectin-EV Get Even Brightening Serum, $89, and Get Even Spot Repair, $49,

The Claim: Formulated with a proprietary NIA-114 niacin molecule that helps regulate the transfer of pigment, plus vitamin C and willowbark extract to generate cell turnover and shed dull skin, the combination of this serum and spot treatment evens out the complexion with long-term results. In an independent clinical study, 85 percent of women saw a reduction in discoloration in eight weeks.

The First Impression: The ideal mix between a gel and cream, the lightweight serum melts into skin quickly (with a lovely subtle citrus scent) and did provide a luminous tone. Applying the spot treatment afterward seems slightly superfluous to us, though, so we’ll probably just stick with the serum.

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