Even if you’re the most dedicated and careful skincare user, you might still find yourself with dulling skin and dark spots. (You have factors like incidental sun exposure, pollution, and your skin’s natural aging cycle to thank for that.) But you can make simple changes to your routine to address these concerns. Dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, shares her best tips for upping your glow and evening out your complexion so you can put your most radiant face forward.
Exfoliate With a Gentle Cleanser
Gently exfoliating is key to revealing brighter, more even-looking skin. “Exfoliating is important because it helps with cell regeneration and turnover, and without that, other ingredients can’t penetrate your skin,” Gohara explains. She suggests scrubbing down once or twice a week using a gentle, non-soap based cleanser with a neutral pH (like this creamy formula from Cetaphil.)
Be mindful of how much pressure you apply as you exfoliate. Gohara explains that scrubbing skin too hard can create microtraumas (a.k.a. small injuries—like tears—to the skin) and ultimately result in more hyperpigmented areas.
Use Vitamins C and E In Your Skin Routine
Adding skincare products with both vitamins C and E into your routine can help increase radiance, diminish dark spots, and prevent new ones from forming—all in just one step, according to Gohara. She says serums and creams containing these vitamins work together to help repair oxidative stress on your skin. “You always see vitamins C and E together because they work synergistically to combat oxidative damage caused by UV exposure, natural aging, pollution, and even sitting in front of your computer screen,” she says.
Our picks for products packed with these vitamins include the PCA SKIN C&E Advanced (a lightweight face and neck antioxidant treatment) and new C&E Advanced Hand Renewal (an anti-aging antioxidant hand corrective). You can use both products directly after cleansing.
Opt for a Tinted SPF
Wearing SPF daily can do more than protect your skin from the sun’s rays (which can cause changes to your skin including painful burns and areas of hyperpigmentation). Gohara suggests adding a mineral-based, tinted sunscreen that contains the active ingredient iron oxide (like the PCA SKIN Sheer Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 45) to your lineup to help visibly even out your complexion.
“[Sunscreens containing iron oxide] have been proven to not only defend your skin against UV light, but also the blue light from your tech devices and fluorescent lighting in your office,” she says. “For certain skin types, that blue light is a definite factor in uneven skin tone.”
Tap Into Your Skin’s Regenerative Cycle
Fun fact: Your skin’s regenerative cycle occurs at night and completely turns over every 28-days. Double-dosing antioxidants during your evening skincare routine can help reinvigorate your complexion. Bookend your day by using PCA SKIN’s Vitamin C&E Advanced. Then, incorporate a retinoid-based moisturizer into the lineup. “Retinoids are very effective at dealing with hyperpigmentation,” says Gohara. “Using one at night is a great way to chemically exfoliate your skin while its proverbial factory is open.”
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