Now that I’ve been writing beauty articles for eHow, I’ve learned a lot about what is and isn’t effective, especially for hyperpigmentation (ie, freckles and age spots) and aging.
I’ve blogged about beauty products before. I LOVE beauty products, especially skincare. At its height, my utilization consisted of:
- Wash with Philosophy’ Purity face wash
- Moisturize with with anything with at least SPF 15
- Wash with whitening wash (Shiseido, Pola, or Kose Sekisho)
- Use serum with hydroquinone
- Use whitening moisturizer
Once a week or so:
- Use exfoliating mask
- Use whitening mask
Did the whitening products actually do anything? Maybe at first, but I think I soon built up a tolerance.
Now I’ve streamlined my routine. I use the same face wash morning or night, a moisturizer with SPF during the day, and a heavier cream at night. I still do the exfoliating mask and occasionally a “brightening” mask. I’m not sure what the brightening mask does except that it feels and smells nice.
(Please note that this is the right routine for me, someone with oily/dry combination skin. If you have very dry, sensitive, or extra oily skin, you’d want a different routine.)
There have been some claims that using hydroquinone is bad for you, thought it’s still FDA-approved. Whether or not the claims are true, I’ve decided to stop using it since it doesn’t seem to do anything for me anymore.
Supposedly some botanical treatments have a similar effect, but you have to be careful about which ones you choose. Just because something contains “anti-oxidants” doesn’t mean it’ll do shit for your skin.
You have to look out for clinically proven effective ingredients, such as “retinoids (also known as retinol, retiny, or retinoic acid), alpha hydroxy acids, azelaic acid, growth factors, hydroquinone, kojic acid, peptides and salicylic acid” (quoting my own article, by the way).
Yesterday I was tempted to get this “all natural” serum to combat the freckles. While it boasted vitamin C and green tea, I wondered if those ingredients have actually been proven effective. I couldn’t remember so I decided against plopping down $50 for something I wasn’t even sure would work.
I’m quite proud of myself. In the past, I’d have been suckered in by the packaging and wording.
Another thing I read was that you really don’t need so many products. All you need is a gentle cleanser, a moisturizer with at least 15 SPF (some say at least 30), a good moisturizer for evenings, and a gentle exfoliating mask. (It’s good to regularly get rid of dead skin cells to avoid pimples.)
Anything else is pretty much snake oil.