How to Brighten Your Skin With Skincare Products

VI Derm Review, VI Derm Vitamin C Gel, VI Derm HQ Plus, VI Derm Clear HQ Free, VI Derm Intense Hydration Serum, Skin Brightening Skincare

Regardless of your skin type, uneven skin tone is one of the most common skin issues that people will experience. Hyperpigmentation can be caused by hormonal fluctuations and/or prolonged exposure to the sun during the summer months. Hyperpigmentation is an excess of brown pigment called melanin that can present on the skin as age spots, liver spots, freckles, melasma and dark spots from UV damage. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs when blemishes such as acne turn into dark spots after they have healed.

Exfoliation is one way to achieve a brighter complexion and combat dullness since it increases cell turnover on the topmost layers of the skin. Exfoliation can be done physically with topical exfoliants (scrubs or facial cleansing tools/devices) and microdermabrasion treatments or chemically with products containing glycolic acid, lactic acid or AHA's. Another way is to use brightening products with ingredients that target pigment production. Notable ingredients that are proven to work include vitamin C, arbutin, kojic acid and hydroquinone. It is ideal to combine these methods since exfoliating also helps make the products applied onto the skin penetrate better and thus more more effective.

VI Derm Review, VI Derm Vitamin C Gel, VI Derm HQ Plus, VI Derm Clear HQ Free, VI Derm Intense Hydration Serum, Skin Brightening Skincare

One of my most vexing skin issues is uneven skin tone due to freckles. In addition to a copious use of sun protection, I always have any number of brightening products in my skincare regimen. I've recently been using a  few products from VI Derm for this past month which have made an impressive and visible difference.

VI Derm is a clinical skincare line from VI Aesthetics which created the first painless chemical peel. The brand which is dedicated to scientific innovation focuses on high quality ingredients in developing skin care regimens that effectively address anti-aging, hyperpigmentation and acne concerns. Their product range is dermatologist approved and paraben and cruelty-free.

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VI Derm Vitamin C Gel

(1.0 oz // $80)

Ideal for all skin types, VI Derm Vitamin C Gel is a fast absorbing gel that works to diminish the appearance of dark spots and promote a visibly brighter and smoother skin and a more even skin tone. It also helps to protect against free radical damage as well as improve pigmentation and provide anti-aging benefits. The leading ingredient in this product is Vitamin C (Tetrahexldecyl), a next generation Vitamin C ester that is  stable and oil soluble. It acts as a photo protectant that shields and repairs UV damage, stimulates collagen production, brightens skin and suppresses melaogenesis (melanin production). It also contains Cyclopentasiloxane, a common form of silicone that allows for smoother product application while forming a protective barrier on the skin and filling in fine lines and wrinkles with a temporary plumping effect. Recommended usage is in the morning following cleansing.

Vitamin C products are best used in the AM to leverage their antioxidant benefits and boost the efficacy of your sunscreen. I've been using this as directed following my toner. The product is silky, lightweight and hydrating. The smooth finish makes it ideal under makeup. I've experienced irritation from vitamin C products before specifically those L-ascorbic acid and I've had no issues with this, not to mention it has delivered visible brightening results in a relatively short amount of time.

Special Note: There have been questions about whether vitamin C and niacinamide can be used together. The answer is yes and they're actually mutually beneficial since they're both effective at reducing hyperpigmentation.

VI Derm, VI Derm Review, VI Derm HQ Plus Review, Skin Brightening Skincare

VI Derm HQ Plus

(1.75 oz // $90)

VI Derm HQ Plus is a powerful treatment cream that works to reduce stubborn pigmentation and skin redness while inhibiting future pigmentation at the cellular level. It also reduces skin damage from sun exposure. The proven botanical formula combines nature and science to limit melanin production yielding results in as little to 2 - 4 weeks. 2% Hydroquinone fades hyperpigmentation and discoloration issues. Retinol strengthens collagen and fights the signs of aging. Arbutin inhibits pigmentation to brighten the complexion. Kojic Acid reduces pigmentation. Recommended usage in the evening. For best results, the HQ Plus should be alternated with the HQ Free. The HQ Plus can be used for up to four months at a time then switch over to two months on the HQ Free before going back to the HQ Plus.

I've been using this product following my nightly masks/treatments. It feels light and lovely on my skin and I follow it with the VI Derm Intense Hydration Serum. I haven't experienced any redness or irritation. When used in conjunction with the Vitamin C Gel, my skin has taken on a clearer and more radiant appearance overall.

Hydroquinone is the ingredient that has been established as the gold standard for skin brightening. When used consistently, it effectively fades dark spots and blocks the enzyme that creates new ones. However hydroquinone has a reputation for controversy since it has been been linked to increased skin cancer risks due to UV exposure though no carcinogenic properties have been associated with topical or oral hydroquinone use in humans. A skin disorder called exogenous ochronosis has been associated with the long term use of hydroquinone in high concentrations. When properly formulated, hydroquinone has been shown to be safe and extremely effective. Usage of products with hydroquinone is a personal choice.

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VI Derm Clear HQ Free

(1.75 oz // $60)

VI Derm Clear HQ Free is a hydroquinone-free and unscented product that works to minimize hyperpigmentation, reduce acne scars and brighten the complexion while helping to prevent future pigmentation. It does this with a roster of clinically proven ingredients that fight free radicals damage so your skin will continue to look better with regular use. Vitamin A evens out skin tone. Kojic Acid reduces pigmentation by fighting discoloration and brightens the complexion. Retinol strengthens collagen and fights the signs of aging. Licorice Root brightens and evens out skin tone by decreasing melanin production, Arbutin minimizes hyperpigmentation by keeping melanin from showing beneath the skin. Recommended usage in the evening.

This product can be alternated with the HQ Plus as instructed above or used instead of the HQ Plus if hydroquinone is an issue. And the formulation is suitable for year round use. This product has a light, emulsion like feel and it is unscented. I will be working it into regular use following instructions.

VI Derm, VI Derm Review, VI Derm Intense Hydration Serum Review, Skin Brightening Skincare

VI Derm Intense Hydration Serum

(1.0 oz // $80)

VI Derm Intense Hydration Serum delivers immediate hydration giving the complexion a plump and supple appearance. Long lasting benefits over time include environmental damage protection which reduces the appearance of aging. This product has an advanced formula that combines powerful peptides and humectants with plant stem cell technology. Hyaluronic Acid retains moisture to plump the skin. Glycerin helps bind water to skin, Citrus Limonum Cell Extract repairs and protects skin cells from environment damage and the natural aging process. Niacinamide increases ceramide levels to improve skin barrier function while boosting moisture retention. Recommended usage is in the morning and evenings following cleansing. The HQ Plus can be used for four months at a time and then you can do two months of the HQ Free before going back to the HQ Plus.

This serum delivers on it's promise of intense hydration but what I really like is the weightless feel and the lasting moisture boost it provides. It also works very well in conjunction with the other products here and also with any moisturizer I layer on top of it.

VI Derm, VI Derm Review, VI Derm Vitamin C Gel, VI Derm HQ Plus, VI Derm Clear HQ Free, VI Derm Intense Hydration Serum, Skin Brightening Skincare

Since incorporating these products into my regimen for a little over a month, I have definitely seen visible brightening results with zero sensitivity and irritation issues. I'm impressed and pleased at how my freckles have lightened and my skin looks more luminous overall. I had an errant hormonal breakout just before I started on these and I've never had an acne scar fade that quickly. Besides working well, I also need to note that they're all fragrance-free and feel super lightweight feel on the skin which is always lovely.  The opaque pump dispensers they're packaged in are ideal in terms of hygiene, ease of use and preserving the efficacy of the ingredients. My favorite is the Vitamin C Gel. I've tried a number of vitamin C products and this is one that my sensitive skin can actually tolerate and it has made a difference. I've read enough on the matter that I feel comfortable using the HQ Plus in the short term and I can appreciate the brand's recommendation to only use it for four months at a time.

I'm trying to be extra vigilant about sunscreen as well. Hats and umbrellas will be big for me this summer. Sun protection should always be an integral step in any skincare routine, but this is especially important if you’re using skin brightening products. Any results that are achieved can be too easily erased with careless sun exposure.

VI Derm products can be purchased from Dermstore and Amazon.  To learn more about the brand, visit their website.

Do you use any brightening products in your skincare routine?

Disclosure: This post features press samples received for editorial consideration and may contain affiliate or referral links. For more details about my product review policy, copyright, and information about affiliate links, please refer to the Policies page of this blog.


Doctor Anne said...

Hydroquinone is banned in Germany, so I have never tried it, but brightening products play a huge role in my skincare. No thanks to acne and careless sun exposure when I was younger I have a lot of hyper pigmentation to deal with.

Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

Coco said...

Dear Rowena, right now I'm at the seaside and although I keep my face shaded and apply tons of sunscreen, awful dark spots popped up. I feel so uncomfortable with my face like this! I need to try this treatment as soon as I go back home! Baci, Valeria - Coco et La vie en rose FASHION & BEAUTY

Jackie Harrison said...

These products sound amazing I will love to try the Vitamin C.

Emmylou said...

I must admit I don't have much brightening products in my routine. I tried an It's Skin serum before but it was just meh so I stopped using it. That Clear HQ Free sounds really good for someone like me with tons of acne scars. Thanks for the heads up as always about brands like this, Rowena:)
PS Hope this comment shows up. Having trouble with commenting lately.

Blackswan said...

Lovely products, Rowena! Prices look reasonable too. xoxo

Shireen L. Platt said...

These products sound great and I like the ingredient list too. I do use some brightening products but definitely could use more. My biggest problem is not hyper pigmentation or freckles but post-inflammatory spots that take forever to fade away.

R's Rue said...


Paola Lauretano said...

This treatment sounds really great!
Kisses, Paola.

A Very Sweet Blog said...

Rowena, I've suffered from hyperpigmentation as well over the years. I also have freckles. I don't see them going anywere :P But my skin is a lot more even using Vitamin C serums and now incorporating various acids. These products sound great! I hadn't heard of this brand, so thanks girl.

Hena Tayeb said...

These look great.. thanks for sharing.
My skin can definitely use a pick me up

Beauty Unearthly said...

Excellent post (as always)!Thank you very much :)

Unknown said...

You read my mind Rowena. I’m always looking for products to brighten my skin. I have to try this Vi Derm Intense hydration serum. No matter what I do I’m having a hard time getting my skin to glow and I think hydration is the key.

Margaret Dallospedale said...

This product looks wonderful.
Maggie Dallospedale

Elle Sees said...

Ok, you've got me convinced to check these out!!

Pilar said...

All these products sound amazing! I like to use skincare products containing vitamin C!

Ivana Split said...

hyper and uneven pigmentation is a source of stress for a lot of woman out there, so it is good there are products to combat this problem. Dark spots are especially hard to shake of (or so I'm told).

rikky said...

For dark skin Dermalmd really does work! I had major doubts. It does take months or at least it did for me, but my dark area is really starting to look lighter and areas that would look better as a light pink are becoming just that. I really saw the best results when I used it at night and again in the morning.