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Skincare essence is relatively new on the American skincare market. Technically a lightweight, somewhat more concentrated serum, essences are designed to be applied after toner but before serums as a type of serum boost. When more diluted, essences are also called an “emulsion”.
I haven’t seen many skincare essences on the American market that I’ve found to be worth talking about until I found Paula’s Choice RESIST Brightening Essence. Perfect for those people with sunspots, melasma, and other forms of uneven pigmentation, this is a lightweight, fast-absorbing product that packs a big punch against hyperpigmentation.
Licorice Helps Dry, Aging Skin + Treats Sunspots
Licorice is unique A recent study with 30 test subjects found that a cream with 2% licorice concentration helped reduce the appearance of eczema (NYU Langone Medical Center), meaning it may be helpful in reducing rashes and mild skin irritation.
Licorice also contains the chemical Licocachone A, which is believed to be an anti-inflammatory agent and to inhibit bacteria growth in foods.
Niacinamide has demonstrated a lightening effect on post-inflammatory pigmented skin by inhibiting melanin transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes. Furthermore, at 2% niacinamide was shown to reduce facial sebum production which can decrease the prevalence of acne in some individuals and in turn prevent formation of acne marks.
In a study done by Procter & Gamble, niacinamide (4%) combined with n-acetyl glucosamine (2%) was shown to have profound lightening effects on hyperpigmented skin with little to no adverse effects. Since Paula’s Choice RESIST Brightening Essence has a different form of glucosamine, I must say, impressivo.
That doesn’t mean that I’m not without my reservations about Paula’s Choice RESIST Brightening Essence. For one, it may be too strong for those with sensitive skin. For another, there are a few ingredients missing here: Hydroquinone, which is controversial and should not be used by anyone with darker skin tones; additional forms of vitamin C (like classic L-ascorbic acid), Linoleic acid (0.1% concentration shown to lighten UV induced hyperpigmentation), ellagic acid (natural occurring polyphenol that can lighten UV damaged skin at 0.5% concentration), and patented anti-pigmentation peptides like Lumixyl. Overall, however, there’s enough here to say I love it.
Ingredients in Paula’s Choice RESIST Brightening Essence
Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol (hydration/penetration enhancer), Glycerin (skin-replenishing), Arbutin (skin-brightening), Acetyl Glucosamine (skin-restoring), Ascorbyl Glucoside (vitamin C/antioxidant), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (soothing extract), Arcostaphylos Uva-Ursi Leaf Extract (brightening plant extract), Morus Alba Root Extract (brightening plant extract), Niacinamide (skin-restoring ingredient), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin-replenishing/antioxidant), Hyaluronic Acid (skin-replenishing/antioxidant), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 (skin-restoring ingredient), Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (skin-restoring ingredient), Allantoin (soothing agent), Adenosine (skin-restoring ingredient), Silanetriol (antioxidant), Carbomer, (texture enhancer) Polysorbate-20 (texture enhancer), Citric Acid (pH adjuster), Sodium Citrate (preservative), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).