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Dark Spots & Freckles, Our Summer Souvenirs!

dark spots & freckles

Summer in Cyprus is truly endless and beautiful! But it leaves us with annoying souvenirs we didn’t ask for like dark spots and freckles. So there is no better time to start acting on those pesky pigments with skincare ingredients proven to help minimize them if not eradicate them completely. There are a few miraculous ingredients that can help with skin hyper-pigmentation and Asian beauty brands are no strangers to whitening and brightening potions. In fact, their lab testing is far more rigorous than their Western counterparts! Let’s have a closer look at these star ingredients.

Vitamin C
Oh the legendary Vitamin C! Best used as a serum, Vitamin C actually works to reduce acne scars, even our skin tone, iron out fine lines and rough texture, and brighten skin tone. It is a potent anti-oxidant that works in many ways. It helps neutralize damage from environmental aggressors like pollution and UV exposure. Because Vitamin C is highly acidic, it gives our skin that extra push to start regenerating skin cells and produce collagen and elastin (hence its anti-aging properties). Finally, it inhibits melanin production so it prevents dark spots and hyper-pigmentation and fades out existing ones.

Despite its miraculous abilities, Vitamin C is an unstable ingredient affected by light and air. So choose your packaging carefully (no light-colored bottles or jars). The most stable and effective form of Vitamin C is called Ascorbic Acid. Look for serums that contain Ascorbic Acid and Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate), another anti-oxidant that strengthens the benefits on the skin. We recommend Rohto Mentholatum’s Melano CC Vitamin C essence which is a potent Vitamin C serum you can incorporate into your daily skincare. The thin dispenser at the end of the tube has technology that does not allow air to enter ensuring the stability of the ingredients. The addition of Vitamin E ensures that you get the full anti-oxidant and anti-aging benefits of the serum. Use it daily with a good sunscreen (SPF30+).

Rohto Mentholatum – Melano CC Vitamin C Essence, €20
Skin type: All

Niancinamide
Our second star ingredient Niancinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 and helps fight acne, rosacea, hyper-pigmentation and wrinkles. Its effects are similar to Vitamin C in that it helps the skin regenerate and fight free radicals. It also helps increase the production of ceramides (lipids that aid the skin’s protective barrier) therefore can have an effect on lines and wrinkles. If for whatever reason your skin is too sensitive for Vitamin C products, then Niancinamide might be your best bet. We carry a few serums containing Niancinamide, depending on your skin type.

Elizavecca – CF-Nest 97% B-Jo Serum, €17
Skin type: All, 20s
iUNIK – Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum, €25
Skin type: Dry, Sensitive, Aging
iUNIK – Rose Galactomyces Synergy Serum, €25
Skin type: Oily, Sensitive, Aging

Licorice
Licorice contains two ingredients that help with hyper-pigmentation, labridin and liquiritin that act to minimize the production of melanin and remove pigmentation from the skin. Licorice also helps even out skin tone. We carry an anti-aging gel cream which contains Licorice, suitable for mature and aging skin.

SANA – Soy Milk Brightening Wrinkle Gel, €31
Skin type: Mature/aging

Arbutin
This is a natural form of hydroquinone, a safer alternative, which is powerful in dealing with existing dark spots by reducing melanin production. You can find this ingredient in SANA’s gel cream (above) and Secret Key’s SYN-AKE Anti-Wrinkle & Whitening cream.

Secret Key – SYN-AKE Anti Wrinkle & Whitening Cream, €26
Skin type: Mature/aging

AHAs & BHAs
Suitable even for the most sensitive and acne-prone skin, alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids are great alternatives as they gently exfoliate and brighten the skin and suppress melanin. You may find this milder ingredient in the products below.

Isntree – Clear Skin 8% AHA Essence, €17
Skin type: All, including acne-prone & sensitive
CHICA Y CHICO – Beta-Salic 2.0 Cream, €19
Skin type: All, including acne-prone & sensitive
COSRX – AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner, €20
Skin type: All, including acne-prone & sensitive

Clearly, there are many safe & natural ingredients you can use to lighten those dark spots and prevent future ones from forming so it is a good idea to incorporate at least one of them in your daily skincare. The products above are great in helping with this. When using any of the ingredients mentioned in this article, make sure you always wear a sunscreen during the day of at least SPF30+ as they can increase sun sensitivity. Now go get spotless!

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Summer Skincare: Tips for Dealing with Oily Skin

summer skincare

There are many enemies to oily skin in the Summer. The sun’s UV rays, sweat, heavy skincare, and makeup can all clog pores and lead to pimples and excess sebum on the face and body. It is important to adapt your skincare routine in the Summer to help manage the skin’s needs.

Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse!
Probably the most essential skincare step to healthy skin whatever the weather is cleansing properly day and night. In the morning, we cleanse to get rid of the remnants of the night’s skincare products. At night, we may be sleeping but our skin keeps working overtime to drink up whatever skincare product we put on before bedtime and releases oils and sweat. In the morning, we need to cleanse the skin so we can have a clean canvas for the day’s products. To do that use a mild cleanser that will not strip the skin completely and will keep it well hydrated and prepped for your day skincare routine. We suggest Shiseido’s Senka Perfect Whip Cleansing Foam that does just that!

Sisheido – Senka Perfect Whip Cleansing Foam, €16

At night, you will probably need to bring in the big guns in terms of cleansing, especially if you used sunscreens and make up during the day. Sunscreens are amazing at protecting our skin from harmful UV rays but their function is to sit on the top layers of the skin like a protective film. Add to that all the make up products that go on top and you’ve got yourself suffocated skin! Going to bed with make up and sunscreen on will undoubtedly lead to oil, sebum, and pimples forming underneath. So at night it is important to double cleanse using a balm or oil cleanser as a first step and a milder soap or cream cleanser as a second step. BANILA CO’s Clean it Zero Cleansing Balm and Kose’s Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil are two great options that help get rid of stubborn sunscreen and make up and all skin impurities while hydrating. Your skin will thank you for providing the moisture it needs by not over-producing oils that may be stripped if you are using a harsher cleanser.

BANILA CO cleansing balm
BANILA CO – Clean it Zero Cleansing Balm Original, €25
Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil
Kose – Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil, €16

Ditch heavy products for lighter, balancing skincare products
Just because it is Summer, it doesn’t mean that your skin does not crave for hydration. Why would it be producing so much oil if it didn’t!? However, it is important to use the appropriate products. So forget about heavy moisturizers. Use lightweight, gel-like, and potent serums and moisturizers to help balance your skin’s hydration needs and help regulate oil production. A balancing toner would be your first step. Secret Key’s Fresh Nature Toner Rose will help do that and prep the skin for other products. Plus, it is packed full of botanical extracts!

Rose toner
Secret Key – Fresh Nature Toner Rose, €15

Follow up with a lightweight serum and moisturizer that will help train the skin to retain moisture so that it doesn’t over-produce oil to compensate for the lack of hydration. We suggest Elizavecca’s CF-Nest 97% B-Jo Serum and Secret Key’s Rose Water Base Gel Cream which are lightweight and contain ingredients that are perfect for balancing oily skin.

Elizavecca bird's nest serum
Elizavecca – CF-Nest 97% B-Jo Serum, €17
Secret Key – Rose Water Base Gel Cream, €23

Use a mask twice a week
A pore-cleaning, clay-based, hydrating mask is a must during the Summer months. Clay is a natural ingredient that is thought to help clean pores of dirt and oils. Think of it as nature’s hoover! innisfree’s Jeju Volcanic Color Clay Hydrating Mask is perfect for sebum control. It contains volcanic clusters and hyaluronic acid sourced from Jeju island in South Korea. This blue mask balances the oils of the skin leaving it non-greasy and moisturized. Use twice a week to deeply cleanse and balance skin. 

innisfree volcanic clay mask hydrating blue
innisfree – Jeju Volcanic Color Clay Hydrating Mask, €13

Multi-purpose make up
In the Summer, we want to keep heavy foundations and make up that clog pores on the side and choose products which are light and airy and have many functions. Asian women turn to BB creams to cover their needs. BB creams are lightweight moisturizers with added color to subtly correct uneven skin tone and help the skin balance its production of oil while also minimizing pores. Most BB creams also have the added benefit of sun protection! So that easily cuts another step in our skincare routine. If oily skin is troubling you especially in the Summer heat, then turn to Holika Holika’s Holi Pop BB Cream SPF30 PA++ Matte which contains silky-finish powder and sebum adsorbing powder, prevents oily skin, provides a matte finish and protects from the sun’s UV rays all in one!

Holika Holika – Holi Pop BB Cream Matte, €11

It is very easy to ignore our skin’s needs during the Summer months. But it is important to use the right skincare in order to help our skin balance out the oil production and minimize the unnecessary acne and pimples that come with using the wrong products or not using anything at all! Enjoy the Summer responsibly and don’t forget sun protection and lots of water!