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Mon, Jun 29, 2009
The Star/Asia News Network
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Bright complexion
by Majorie Chiew

Cosmetics that claim to brighten the skin on a broader spectrum.

SOME brightening skincare products claim to combat one or a few aspects of skin pigmentation. But there is a limit to what each product can do. Then again, brightening products that focus on individual or only a few ingredients are also limited in their effectiveness, said Robert Kwon, regional R&D director for Neutrogena, Johnson & Johnson.

Products that address one or a few aspects of hyper-pigmentation provide only temporary measures and could make matters worst.

“If one factor of melanin (which causes people not to have fair skin and hyperpigmentation) production is eliminated, other factors will work even harder to produce more melanin due to our bodies’ natural defence mechanism,” he said, adding that “melanin synthesis has a back-up system”.

“When we cut off signals for melanin production, some signals may still get through. However, we can interfere with the right products,” explained Kwon, who was in Kuala Lumpur recently to launch the Neutrogena Fine Fairness range of products.

“For instance, although melanin is produced, vitamin C can prevent its transfer by continuing to promote exfoliation of cells that contain melanin.”

However, for longer lasting brightening benefit: “You need a range of brightening products. It’s hard to deliver brightening benefits with a single product.”

Kwon reminds Asian women that whilst everybody wants fairer skin, it’s hard to achieve because it needs a lot of discipline. To women who subscribe to a brightening regime, he said that it is also important to have sun protection and “not be careless”.

“The very worst thing is to expose yourself to the sun with no protection,” Kwon said, adding that even one hour of sun can be damaging to the skin.

If you’re one of those who think that you can use your day moisturiser with sun protection as a night cream as well, Kwon said: “Don’t!” A day moisturiser with sunscreen should strictly be for day use while a night cream for night use.

This is because all moisturisers with sunscreens have a combination of physical (mica and titanium dioxide) and chemical (oxybenzone and avobenzone) sunscreens. It is not good to have sunscreen on for too long on your face. You should wash it off at night because it will degrade and irritate your skin. Over a period of time, your skin may age faster.

On whether eye creams work, he said that they are helpful to stimulate skin and promote blood circulation in the eye area, and result in “some improvement”. However, he contends that one should not be unrealistic and expect the skin to look the same as when one was a teenager.

The new Neutrogena Fine Fairness range is said to offer a holistic solution and address eight skin hyper-pigmentation problems for even-toned, fair skin with lasting radiance.

The range consists of a cleanser, toner, whitening serum, eye cream, moisturising lotion SPF 30, moisturising cream SPF 22, non-SPF moisturising (night) cream, deep whitening mask and a brightening UV waterlight lotion SPF 50+ PA+++ or brightening UV moisture SPF 50++ PA+++ .

The key ingredients include Neutrogena Healthy White Complex (with essential soy, stabilised vitamins C and B3, and portulaca). Soy extract is said to limit the transfer of melanin to the outermost layer of the skin while portulaca lightens skin by soothing inflammation in the upper epidermis to reduce the production of excessive melanin.

The products also have melazyme (derived naturally from mushrooms) which is touted to stimulate skin cell renewal to remove melanin build-up to brighten skin.

The whitening serum, an intensive treatment to lighten skin tone, is said to help inhibit melanin production and has retinol to enhance cell regeneration, stimulate collagen and refine skin. -The Star/ANN

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