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The Best Brightening Ingredients To Look For In Beauty Products

Read here to learn how you can get even-toned skin!

For most womenwhether their skin tone is fair, medium, or darktheir goal is to have a clear and radiant complexion. If you aim for your skin to be the same, too, you're probably wondering about the easiest way you can achieve that. Our answer: ~*Skincare products with active ingredients*~! 

Active ingredients, also known as acids, can do a lot of things for your skin—from getting rid of hyperpigmentation and brightening dark marks, to unclogging pores and flattening pimples, skin acids make the perfect addition to any skincare regimen. They're also able to moisturize, soothe, and clarify skin without any peeling, redness, or irritation happening.

If you want your complexion to look gorg all year round, we rounded up the best brightening ingredients that are locally available!

Skin Brightening Dos And Don'ts:

But wait, before we get into the ingredients, take note of these tips when using products with active ingredients! These will help you navigate the world of acids and teach you how to properly use and incorporate them into your beauty regimen:

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  1. Consult a dermatologist first.

    When you want to level up your skin's state, we advise you to consult a board-certified dermatologist first. He/she will be able to help you identify the brightening skincare products that can work best for you since active skin ingredients have different effects on various skin types.

  2. Use a lot of SPF.

    In case you didn't know, acids are potent ingredients that make skin more sensitive to the sun and prone to irritation! Because of this, it’s important you protect your complexion during the day with a sunscreen that at least has SPF30

  3. Avoid mixing or using two different active ingredients at the same time.

    This is because some acids don't mesh well together! Using two different types can either cancel each other out, or cause irritation and redness, which you don't want. Try to stick to just one brightening ingredient for a certain amount of time to maximize its effects.

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  4. Research the product well before using it.

    With beauty, as with anything in life, knowledge is power. Any beauty babe knows that skin brightening products are not created equally; each one has its own set of pros and cons. So before your go into a store and buy something, make sure you've done at least a quick search on the product. Knowing your skin brightening options will allow you to choose the best one for your specific skin type and condition. 

Common Skin Brightening Ingredients

When you want to max up your skin's radiance and brightness, it's important to look for ingredients that have a proven reputation for effectively brightening your skin tone. And these are the best ingredients to use: 

AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)

First on the list of skin brightening products are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). These are natural acids found in foods. Many skin brightening products pump up their products with AHAs, such as citric acid (found in citrus fruits), glycolic acid (found in sugar cane), and lactic acid (found in sour milk and yogurt), to lend their products effective brightening and pore-clearing potential.

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AHAs work by removing the top layers of dead skin cells. This skin-renewing quality helps reduce pigmentation, refresh the top layer of the skin, and improve the appearance of discolored scars. In addition, applying AHAs in a lotion, cream, or solution product can decrease wrinkles and fine lines, and reduce visible signs of sun damage. 

AHAs work on the skin's surface and are water soluble. Because AHAs can brighten while naturally moisturizing skin, they're generally suitable for normal to dry skin. 

  1. In Her Element Glow Job 5% Glycolic Gel Cream

    Price: P775
    Where to buy: Beauty Bar

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  2. Krave Beauty Kale-Lalu-yAHA

    Price: P1,850
    Where to buy: Go Bloom and Glow

  3. Human Nature Acne Defense Face Toner

    Price: P109.75
    Where to buy: Robinsons Supermarket

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  4. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

    Price: P5,305
    Where to buy: 

  5. Belo Prescriptives Glycolic Soap-10

    Price: Price available upon request
    Where to buy: Belo Medical Clinics

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BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids)

Coming in as another effective brightening alternative are beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Among skincare products, BHAs specifically refer to salicylic acid, a common ingredient in anti-aging creams and acne treatments. It works by breaking down the bonds that hold dull, dead skin on the surface. Once those bonds are broken—gently and evenly—skin naturally sheds, leading to an evened out look and a fresher-looking complexion. So, although you won't actually see your skin shedding and peeling, you'll soon notice the smoother and brighter cells hiding beneath. 

BHAs also work inside pores by ridding them of pore-clogging bacteria and oil. This is why it's usually recommended for normal to oily skin and complexions prone to blemishes and enlarged pores. BHAs also have natural skin-calming properties, so this brightening ingredient of choice is gentle enough (and perfect) for sensitive skin! It's a well-rounded ingredient that works effectively as a mild option for skin brightening.

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  1. The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

    Price: P550
    Where to buy: Calyxta 

  2. Celeteque Acne Spot Corrector Gel

    Price: P169
    Where to buy: Lazada 

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  3. COSRX Natural BHA Skin Returning Emulsion

    Price: P850
    Where to buy: Watsons

  4. Kate Somerville Detox Daily Cleanser

    Price: P1,843
    Where to buy: 

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  5. St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub

    Price: P335
    Where to buy: Lazada 

PHAs (Polyhydroxy Acids)

Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) is a skin brightening ingredient that is just as effective, but less irritating than AHAs and BHAs. Its molecular structure is bigger than the previously mentioned acids, so PHAs cannot penetrate skin as deeply as traditional AHAs and BHAs. However, they can regenerate the top surface level of the skin, promoting brightening by gentle "peeling." Because they are milder, PHAs are especially beneficial for those who find other acids too strong, ensuring optimum skin renewal with minimal irritation. PHAs are also known for attracting moisture to prevent moisture loss while effectively brightening skin.  

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  1. Some By Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Serum

    Price: P1,600
    Where to buy: Go Bloom and Glow 

  2. COSRX PHA Moisture Renewal Power Cream

    Price: P1,200
    Where to buy: K Beauty Cafe 

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  3. Missha Near Skin Total Ceramide Cream

    Price: P1,300
    Where to buy: SM North EDSA

  4. Glossier Solution

    Price: P1,780
    Where to buy: CoolestMNL

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Retinol, also known as Vitamin A, can help increase skin firmness, diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles, significantly improve uneven skin tone, and refine the texture of skin. Retinol is definitely a powerful multi-tasker! More than the acidic counterparts, like glycolic acids (AHAs) or salicylic acids (BHAs), retinol not only reduce the appearance of blemishes, it enhances collagen production and aids in evening out skin pigmentation. 

  1. Pixi Retinol Tonic

    Price: P847
    Where to buy: 

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  2. The INKEY List Retinol

    Price: P895
    Where to buy: Beauty Bar

  3. Olay Pro Retinol Eye Treatment

    Price: P1,699
    Where to buy: Lazada 

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  4. Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum

    Price: P5,050
    Where to buy: Rustan's The Beauty Source

  5. Snoe Twinle Skin Star Night Cell Turnover Cream

    Price: P699
    Where to buy: Robinsons Forum

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Vitamin C

We all know vitamin C as something we need to drink to boost our immune systems. As a skincare ingredient, though, it works pretty much the same way. It amps up the skin's ability to retain moisture, while evening it out by lessening the appearance of dark marks and blemishes, and strengthens the skin barrier so it will be able to defend itself from environmental aggressors and lessen the effects of exposure to harmful elements

  1. The Body Shop Vitmain C Skin Boost

    Price: P1,495
    Where to buy: Robinsons Galleria

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  2. Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum

    Price: P3,150
    Where to buy: Rustan's The Beauty Source

  3. Wildleaf Vitamin C Serum

    Price: P1,190
    Where to buy: BeautyMNL 

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  4. Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum

    Price: P1,200
    Where to buy: Watsons

  5. Jumiso All Day Vitamin Brightening and Balancing Facial Serum

    Price: P1,200
    Where to buy: Go Bloom and Glow 

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Which skin brightening ingredient do you use or want to use? Sound off in the comments below, and don't forget to join our Cosmo Beauty Group for an exclusive CG chat!

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