I love Aveda’s Enbrightenment line simply for the way it feels! Not only does this line of products leave your skin feeling great; it brightens the skin, helping to even out the tone and fade dark spots. The cleanser is amazing. It’s creamy and non-stripping, leaving skin feeling moisturized and hydrated. The toner is just as wonderful. It’s alcohol free and hydrating, prepping the skin for the correcting serum and moisturizing lotion or cream. Though both the lotion and cream moisturize the skin without being too oily, the cream is a bit heavier: best for those with drier skin.
As a budding esthetician, and a lover of this line, I had to investigate the ingredients to see what makes these products rich and creamy while brightening the skin. Aloe barbadensis leaf is known for its healing benefits, and it is the first ingredient in all of the products in the line. In addition to aloe, featured ingredients include caprylic triglycerides, shea butter, and rice bran oil, helping to make this line feel silky, while moisturizing and nourishing your skin. Because they are brightening products, I expected to see familiar lightening ingredients like kojic acid, licorice root or glycolic acid, but I didn’t. Instead, there were ingredients that I wasn’t familiar with such as genetian root extract, mulberry leaf, and aphyllum nodsum leaf extract. I decided to go to the Aveda website to see if they were the active skin brightening ingredients. This is what they had to say:
100% naturally derived Plant-Powered Brightening Blend including Ascorbyl Glucoside (a vitamin C derivative), mulberry root, and grape extracts to help diminish the appearance of discoloration and dark spots.
Salicylic Acid and Glucosamine help promote surface cell turnover.
A soothing aroma made predominantly with organic lavender, sustainably sourced sandalwood, organic rose geranium and organic rosemary essential oils also helps soothe and calm the skin.
Step 3 in the enbrightenment skin care system which is clinically proven to improve skin’s clarity by 52% and diminish the appearance of dark spots by 34%
Beta-Hydroxy Acid (Salicylic Acid)
Salicylic acid exfoliates skin and can improve its texture and color. It also helps with acne.
Sounds great right?! But do these ingredients alone help to lighten the skin? Are they effective in lightening all types of hyperpigmentation? And how do they compare to other types of lightening agents and methods?
Before beginning a skin lightening regime, it’s important to know the cause of discoloration, and the best way to treat it. There are many things to consider. Choosing natural versus synthetic ingredients may effect the amount of time you need to use the product before seeing results, or the type of results you should expect to see with prolonged use. You also need to consider the complimentary care you’ll need in order to maintain the results. Finally, you need to be aware of contraindications, or possible allergies to certain ingredients.
Being natural, the ingredients in the “brightening blend” gently help to even out skin tone, fading dark spots—hyperpigmentation—caused by sun damage. The Enbrightenment line may not be beneficial for other forms of hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation caused by sun damage can appear in a number of ways: lentigenes, chloasma, and melasma.
Solar lentigenes are small yellow-brown spots caused by exposure to the sun. Chloasma, also called liver spots, is increased pigmentation from sun exposure or from other causes. Melasma, a type of chloasma, is triggered by hormones often occurring during pregnancy or because of the use of birth control. It appears on the face during pregnancy. It usually fades over time, but is worsened with sun exposure. It is also said to be more prevalent in men and women of Native American descent (on the forearms) and in men and women of German or Russian Jewish descent (on the face).
Solar-caused hyperpigmentation usually effects the top layers of the epidermis and can be effectively treated with natural ingredients. However if the damage is deep and effects the dermis, more aggressive treatment may be necessary. Lasers, microdermabrasion, chemical peels and ingredients like hydroquinone may be used when seeking more aggressive treatments.
A Closer Look at Aveda’s Ingredients
Ascorbyl glucoside, a stable form of vitamin C, is made by combining vitamin C with glucose. It is an antioxidant and, when applied on the skin, it breaks down into L-ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C) which has powerful antioxidant properties and inhibits the synthesis of melanin.
Mulberry leaf extract is a tyrosinase inhibitor which aids in reducing melanin production. It’s non-irritating to the skin, and works best in combination with other skin lighteners.
Grape seed extract is effective in lightening skin pigmentation due to UV radiation. Taking grape seed extract internally is also effective in reducing hyper pigmentation due to melasma when taken for 6 months.
Salicylic acid exfoliates the skin, helping to promote greater skin clarity and luminosity.
Beta hydroxy acids are less irritating than alpha-hydroxy acids, yet have similar results in improving skin texture and color. However, people who are allergic to salycylates (found in aspirin) should not use products containing salicylic acid. Salicylic acid can be absorbed into the bloodstream and may cause an allergic reaction or contact dermatitis. Pregnant or nursing women should not use products containing salicylic acid.
Other great ingredients in the Enbrightenment line that help to reduce hyper pigmentation are ascophyllum nodsum extract and aloe vera. Ascophyllum nodosum extract, a seaweed, actively reduces melanin synthesis and pigmentation of synthesized melanins. It also eliminates the pigmented scales. It offers anti-radical protection against aging of skin.
Aleosin, is a C-glucosylated 5-methylchromone, a component of the aloe vera plant. It is a naturally mild tyrosinase inhibitor, with no cytotoxicity recorded. It is best combined with other ingredients, due to its hydrophilic (has an affinity for water) nature.
It may take up to eight weeks, or several months of regular use, before seeing results. However, your complexion will look dewy, hydrated and have a noticeable glow and brightness immediately after first use. For added results, using the Enbrightenment Intensive Massage Masque once every two weeks boost the effects of the line. To maintain results, use a moisturizer with SPF to protect your skin from the sun and reoccurring hyperpigmentation.
Like I said, this line is amazing! I highly recommend it.