I’m sure many of you have struggled with stubborn acne marks and dark spots. If you notice a dark spot that won’t seem to fade, it’s because of the melanocytes in our skin that produce more melanin particles, which causes localised skin darkening in a particular spot.
These spots may appear due to external factors such as sunlight exposure and bacteria, or internal factors such as hormonal fluctuations or poor diet. Although dark spots aren’t as painful as active acne, they can still be annoying to deal with.
Fret not, there are some ways to interrupt the formation of these melanin particles or to reduce them. Perhaps you may even be familiar with some of these popular ingredients in the world of skincare.
Common spot reducing ingredients
A classic ingredient in spot-reducing skincare, vitamin C helps lighten dark spots by restricting the enzymes responsible for the production of melanin, which are the pigments that create dark spots.
According to clinical studies, niacinamide significantly reduces hyperpigmentation and lightens skin by inhibiting melanosome transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes. It interrupts a process in the melanin production, resulting in reduced dark spots. The essence of niacinamide is vitamin B3, and even skincare products containing 4% niacinamide is enough to achieve visible results.
Arbutin suppresses the formation of melanocytes to achieve a lightening effect and decreases unwanted pigments that occur due to sun exposure. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is the star ingredient of many products that lighten acne marks.
Also known as Thiamidol, it effectively reduces melanin production by blocking an enzyme required to produce melanin. As a result, less melanin is transported from the basal layer of the skin towards the upper layers, which leads to pigment spots gradually fading and preventing them from reemerging.
Tranexamic acid is a synthetic amino acid, commonly known as hemostatic acid which can suppress the activity of melanocytes.
Derivatives of cinnamic acid, often extracted from plants such as grains, spinach, parsley, grapes, oats etc. As a powerful antioxidant molecule, ferulic acid can not only lower the production of melanin, but also lessen the build-up of melanocytes. It also has the effect of removing free radicals in cells caused by UV damage.
Spot-reduction ingredients are popular in Japanese skincare!
These spot-reducing ingredients are commonly found in Japanese skincare, and they are experts in this area. Here are some of the top spot-reducing products at Osakakuma!
For students looking for something affordable yet effective
The first product is the ROHTO MELANO CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence, known as the "Affordable Whitening King". It has also been nominated many times on @cosme, and has won a reputation for its affordable price and remarkable effect.
The active vitamin C ingredient quickly penetrates skin and inhibits the production of melanin, giving you that transparent skin-like appearance.
It comes in a tube packaging with a small tip that limits product wastage. The light transparent liquid has a light citrus fragrance that is non-greasy and easily absorbable.
For those with dry skin
SHISEIDO-HAKU series specialises in lightening and the whole series uses Shiseido's exclusive top patent 4MSK technology and 3D whitening technology. Known as a top-notch product in the Japanese cosmetics industry, SHISEIDO-HAKU Melanofocus Z Brightening Serum has won awards since its emergence in 2005, and can sell 60 bottles every minute.
The texture is thicker than an average essence, but the absorption and penetration rate is very strong, which makes it suitable for people with dry skin. After using it in the morning and evening for a week, the acne marks will slowly fade. After using one bottle, the spots on the face will be significantly reduced, but results may vary!
For those with sensitive skin
ETVOS is also a treasured brand, with safe ingredients, no added preservatives, surfactants, artificial flavours, artificial colours, mineral oil, silicon, and can be used by pregnant women with sensitive skin.
This serum uses tranexamic acid, as well as 3 kinds of natural ceramides, as well as fruit essences. It has a refreshing texture that can be easily spread and applied to the entire face. It adopts a low-irritant formula, so even people with sensitive skin can use this with ease. With continued use, this serum improves clarity of the skin.
For those who often wear makeup
Transino has developed a core patented formula of tranexamic acid and a KP composite ingredient, which not only blocks the damage of ultraviolet rays, but also suppresses the formation of melanin internally.
The core ingredient tranexamic acid can play a role in interfering with the "spot formation signal" in the skin, preventing dark spots from forming quickly. Meanwhile, the KP compound is a complementary ingredient which greatly enhances the effect of the tranexamic acid.
It has a dry and non-sticky lotion texture, allowing it to be absorbed quickly after application. It’s also great for wearing before makeup as it doesn’t cause your foundation to peel.
For those looking for anti-aging properties
SK-II Genoptics Spot Essence is one of SK-II's easy-to-use items. The main effect is to lighten spots, but it also eliminates free radicals and it has anti-aging effects.
This serum contains Spot Resist Complex, the latest spot-reducing formula that prevents the formation of spots, which is key for spot prevention. It also contains Lumina Kelp Extract, which can inhibit the production of melanin and reduce pigmentation inside and outside the skin.
The SK-II Genoptics Spot Essence has a milky white lotion-like texture. It is very light, easy to pump out, non-sticky, and absorbs quickly into skin.
Consistency is key!
Dark spots and hyperpigmentation won’t fade overnight and will definitely take some time to fade. Your skin cells regenerate and renew itself every month and as new skin cells rise up to the surface, the older pigmented skin cells will be replaced. As long as you are consistent with applying these spot-reducing products, you should be able to see some results after a while!