Just read this product description from Kiehls.com:
Our Photo-Age High-Potency Spot Treatment powerfully reverses UV Damage three ways: provides instant luminosity & radiance, reverses visible damage on skin surface, and inhibits invisible damage from rising to the surface.
Doesn't that sound great? Who doesn't want improved luminosity and radiance??
But, the real reason that I was excited about this product is on the box.
This intensive, targeted treatment is formulated with brightening actives to reduce irregularities such as brown age spots which can be caused by sun damage and darkness from scarring.
You had me at brightening.
So, I thought a picture would really tell you about my experience with this product. The January 6th pic is really my "before" for my melasma. Nice little brown spot, I had this on both sides of my face. It was visible through makeup, I can't tell you how many people told me I had dirt on my face. Yes, I felt awesome.
I started using this treatment about 2 weeks postpartum, so somewhere around February 10th-ish. It is a light lotion consistency, sinks in quickly, I can't tell that it is on my skin. Due to the nature of the ingredients (see below), this product really is decreasing melanocyte number and melanin production. It isn't "bleaching" your skin. So, results will take a little longer to see, but you're much less likely to get the dreaded rings of whiter skin around an area of treated hyperpigmentation.
At about ~4 weeks you don't see much change in my hyperpigmentation, but 6 weeks later (at ~10 weeks of treatment) you can barely see the area.
A few things about hyperpigmentation like mine:
• This was hormonally driven. Having my baby helps a lot, but won't necessarily take care of the issue 100%.
• Sunscreen is super important here. Yes, the hormones are ramped up and that makes me respond to the sun like crazy (I developed this despite wearing SPF 15 every day of my pregnancy). However, it is counterintuitive to be treating an area of hyperpigmentation and not be using sunscreen. Wear your sunscreen!
• Results will be slow to come, and you likely won't really notice them yourself as you are looking in the mirror every day. Snap a few pics to help keep you motivated and be prepared to wait 3-4 months before you really see a difference.
• Exfoliation should help with this as well. Cell turnover increases, some of that excess melanin goes bu-bye... it's a good thing. That doesn't mean you can scrub this off of your face (it's much too deep for that to work), but it does mean you should keep up with your exfoliation.
So, what exactly is in this stuff that made it work for me? Quite a few things that have some activity against melanin and melanocytes.
Ellagic Acid: A Polyphenol with anti-oxidant activity. This ingredient is found in Pomegranates and has a few really interesting studies about its use in fighting hyperpigmentation and loss of luminosity. Basically, it has been found to improve luminosity and decrease amount of hyperpigmentation gained in response to UV exposure. It is thought to decrease melanocyte proliferation and melanin production.
Vitamin E: More anti-oxidant activity, though both Vitamin C and E have been found to decrease the spread of hyperpigmentation in hairless mice. Yes, we are not hairless mice. But, interesting, isn't it?
Calcium Pantetheine Sulfonate: Also inhibits melanin
Salicylic Acid: Hydroxy acid to increase cell turnover
Licorice Root Extract: Inhibits tyrosinase activity and therefore melanin production. Also acts as an anti-inflammatory.
So, this stuff definitely helped me. I'm certain that it was not 100% responsible for getting rid of my hyperpigmentation (having the baby certainly helped), but I do think that it sped things up. I debated about using it on just one side of my face and letting the other side be left alone to see what happened. Then I decided that this wasn't a science experiment, it was a beauty blog. I didn't want strangers telling me I had dirt on my face any more! So, I used it on both spots.
I'm hoarding this in my skin care drawer for any future spots, just FYI.
Kiehl's Photo-Age High Potency Spot Treatment