I HAVE long preached the aging effects of sunspots. They add more years than fine lines and are harder to cover than those dreaded pimples. So when four years ago, after a visit to the beach with my family and a nasty case of the flu, I almost instantly developed hyperpigmentation on my cheekbones and what seemed to be a Teletubby-esque triangle between my eyebrows, I began to panic.
I had heard of this sort of thing happening to pregnant women usually of Native American, Russian, German or Jewish decent due to hormonal fluctuations, but I, dear friends, was none of these things. For weeks after I thought I was hallucinating when I looked in the mirror, obviously I, with my flawless skin and religious application of sunscreen, could not have developed the ugliest skin discolouration of them all.
My course of action was as follows: try over-the-counter remedies first, if that doesn’t work book into a medi-spa and let them work some laser magic, and failing that, make an appointment with a dermatologist and do what ever it takes.
My mania came in stages: denial (I’m too young), anger and resentment (I’m not pregnant or Native American!), bargaining (fine, I won’t go out in the sun anymore, but you must fade on your own), depression (now that I am paler, it’s even more obvious *sigh) and acceptance (at least I won’t have to wear an eye mask when I dress up as Batgirl at the next fancy dress party).
I don’t know if the flu combined with sun exposure had anything to do with the onset of this strange discolouration on my face, but I do know that I hated it. And while it did fade somewhat on it’s own, two months ago I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands. I was tired of having to disguise it every morning with makeup – and besides, my birthday was approaching and that will always drive one to make herself her most gorgeous.
My course of action was as follows: Try over-the-counter remedies first, if that doesn’t work book into a medi-spa and let them work some laser magic, and failing that, make an appointment with a dermatologist and do what ever it takes. The good news is I didn’t have to move past phase one. After many weeks of slathering on different kinds of lotions, serums and creams I finally found the right combination that works for me.
I have a disclaimer and I think it’s what some of you forget when reading these types of reviews: Everyone’s skin is different and we all have different issues, so what works for me may not work for you. I did, however, do my homework and so this is a great place to start.
Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, £39 for 30ml: I have always wanted to love Clinique with it’s clean, medical-looking packing and fragrance-free products, but they just do not agree with my skin. This serum has a lovely texture, no smell and I thought this time it will be different. It wasn’t. The serum left a film-like covering on my skin and I had spots within two days. Clearly this treatment was not sustainable. Moving on…
Visoanska High Light Solution, £95 for 15ml, available exclusively at Harrods: This product sold me on the marketing: ‘An intelligent fluid dedicated to women looking for luminosity and showing signs of brown spots. Helps durably restore an even, radiant complexion.’ With a promise like that who wouldn’t want to try this stuff? The lotion is lovely and spread on like a dream, but with a hectic morning routine I didn’t have time to let it settle on my skin before putting on my makeup. The result day after day was a sort of flaking action where I would have to brush little bits off. It got in my hair, on my shirt, and so I decided that if I couldn’t even get it to stay on my face how was it going to work?
Caudalíe Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, £44 for 30ml: After finding that I loved Caudalíe’s day cream I had high hopes for this product and I was not disappointed. I began to see an improvement after a week with the serum. The affected areas were definitely lighter and my skin was baby soft. I applied a very small amount only on the areas I was trying to fade both morning and night. I was also using the day and night cream so my skin was loving me.
Bliss Peeling Groovy Facial Serum, £49.10 for 30ml: After four weeks of trying new product after new product I was just about tired of being a guinea pig, but with my newfound excitement of having one that actually worked, I decided to give another a go – and I am thrilled that I did. After a week of using this peeling serum I saw an even greater improvement than the week before. I was applying morning and night, letting it set while I brushed my teeth and before applying a moisturiser/sunblock. Bliss recommends waiting five minutes before applying anything else, but again, in the morning time is never on my side.
After reading the labels very carefully, I made a not-so-educated medical decision to use both the Caudalíe and Bliss products together. After all, the labels said they worked in different ways. The Peeling Groovy worked to retexturise and exfoliate like a session of microdermabrasion while Vinoperfect promised to even skintone and promote radiance. See my logic?
I am thrilled to report that after eight weeks my skin is about 80 per cent clearer than it was when I started. Instead of the block of hyperpigmentation underneath my eyes and on my cheekbones there are just a few spots, but I am hoping with continued use even those will disappear. I no longer feel that I need to wear foundation to the supermarket on Saturday and with a renewed confidence I have upped my SPF from a 15 to a 30, just in case.
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