FAB BAG Magazine

Published on May 9th, 2015 | by Rima J Pundir

BEAUTY SCIENCE: The ABC to Z of brightening

To quote MJ, it don’t matter if you’re black or white – all women aspire to have fresh, young, luminous skin that glows and glistens in the pink (or brown, or yellow) of health…

A dusky beauty like Bipasha? A fair maiden like Katrina? Or something in between? If those fairness cream ads outrage you, rest assured, we aren’t talking about ‘whiter’ skin in the literal, racial sense of the term here. Rather, we’re thinking of ways to help you get brighter skin: one that isn’t marred by uneven blotchiness induced by tanning, sunspots, pigmentation and freckles – things that you struggle to hide under those concealers and foundations. So here are the basics of our skin-friendly alphabet!

‘A’ good start

Let’s start with Vitamin A, an absolute must for a clearer complexion. Tretinoin is a prescription derivative of this vitamin. This is highly effective in undoing the damage that the sun’s rays wreak on your skin. A miracle-worker that pretty much turns back time, it is effective in erasing fine lines and preventing patchiness. It stimulates circulation under the dermis, which encourages the production of collagen. This in turn yields fresh new skin, giving you that brightness and glow.

  • But a word of caution here: Tretinoin has side effects like itchiness and drying, so you must consult a dermatologist before slathering some on in the hope of everlasting fairness.
  • Doc says you can’t take Tretinoin? Do not despair: It’s milder, gentler cousin Retinol is a safer bet, with no obvious side effects. This too is a derivative of Vitamin A, and has the same effect as Tretinoin, though not to the same degree.
  • But beware, both forms of Vitamin A disintegrate on exposure to the sun, and may damage your skin if you apply before stepping out. Vitamin A is strictly to be applied indoors, at night, because the new skin that it helps form is photosensitive and delicate. Ergo, make sure this ingredient only finds its way into your night creams – not your sunscreens, concealer, summer lotion or compact.
  • From the kitchen: To boost your Retinol supply, don’t just rely on topical application. Make milk and a small wedge of cheese part of your daily diet. For carnivores, fish, meat and poultry will do the needful.

‘B’ beautiful

If A is a miracle worker, B can’t be far behind in the race. Vitamin B3, or Niacin/Niacinamide, is an antioxidant, which means that it counteracts the effect of free radicals – those unsociable molecules that rub up against skin, waging war against collagen and resulting in thin, patchy dermis of uneven hue. Not just that, it actively counters pigmentation.

  • This vitamin works well on topical application, so make sure of its presence in your sunscreen or day cream. Unlike Vitamin A, it is ideal for daytime use. What’s more, it keeps acne at bay, and helps maintain the fatty acid levels in your skin, thus making it softer, plumper and happier.
  • Break open a capsule and apply directly (after checking correct dosage with your dermo), or opt for a Niacin-rich cream, like Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum.
  • From the kitchen: Starving yourself of Vitamin B can actually cause dermatitis, so stock up the larder: brown rice, peanuts, chicken and sun-dried tomatoes take care of your needs.

‘C’ clear change

Now C here, this vitamin stimulates the production of a chemical called glutathione, which maintains the fine balance of pigments that give colour to our skin and determine complexion – the lighter pigments (pheomelanine) and darker pigments (eumelanin).

  • Vitamin C also helps produce collagen which adds to supple, firm skin and provides the framework for fairer skin. Being one of the chief anti-oxidants, it neutralises free radicals and heals wounds.
  • Watch out for the compound Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate in the ingredients list of your day cream, for this is the form in which it is added to most products.
  • From the kitchen: Citrus fruits, vegetables are rich sources of this super-vitamin. But if diet watch is not your forte, buy over-the-counter Vitamin C tablets. They keep colds at bay too!

Straight to ‘Z’

This mineral literally shields your skin from the dreaded ultraviolet rays. Make sure that your regular sunscreen contains zinc oxide, because it truly is your chief weapon against the sun. If this doesn’t convince you to worship zinc, here’s a fact that’s sure to send you running to the pharmacy: zinc deficiency causes acne.

From the Kitchen: All out of supplements? Chomp on pumpkin seeds, ginger, oats and peanuts, dark chocolate.

Other ubiquitous ingredients in your refrigerator that work wonders against pigmentation are potatoes, tomatoes cucumber, and milk. Add these to your home-made packs and masks and see the difference.


Kama Ayurveda Rejuvenating & Brightening Night Cream: This incredible Skin Brightening Ayurvedic Night cream is a special blend of precious & rare ingredients to help illuminate the skin colour and promote cell growth. CLICK HERE to view product.

 Clarins White Plus Intensive Brightening Serum: Lightweight serum is the ultimate in hyper pigmentation control and skin tone correction – with dramatic results in just 4 weeks. It is enriched with extracts of alchemilla, red sandspurry, gink-go biloba and white tea, this Serum does more than diliver powerful whitening effective-ness. CLICK HERE to view product.

Natio Ageless Brightening Eye Cream: A light, nurturing cream to help brighten skin around the eye area. Enriched with Organic Rosehip and Hazelnut Oils to firm and tighten. Hazelnut and Organic Rosehip Oil work to minimise the effects of environmental damage and encourage skin elasticity. Gently hydrates without causing irritation. CLICK HERE to view product.

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