In my previous review of all of the skincare from Derma MD that I had the chance to try, I said that the Diminish Lighten & Brighten Creme was one of the standouts of the bunch. This is a moisturizing cream formulated to treat hyperpigmentation, or dark spots on the skin, and includes some bearberry leaf extract, mulberry extract, licorice root, kojic acid, vitamin C, and glycolic acid to help alleviate darkened spots. I’ve had a chance to use this cream for a longer period of time and wanted to take a moment and write about it with a bit more depth.
In terms of how it functions as a moisturizing cream, I find this to be very flexible. It has a thick consistency but it doesn’t feel heavy, greasy, or sticky on the skin, and so this always seems to work fine for me regardless of whether my combination skin is feeling oily or dry at the time. It just leaves my skin feel plumped and hydrated. It has sesame seed oil, shea butter, and allantoin in it, plus some other soothing botanical ingredients like aloe (2nd ingredient) and chamomile. This is ideally suited for nighttime use as it’s SPF-free and is really built as a treatment product.
When I first opened the jar, I found my cream to have a strong and off-putting medicinal sort of smell. I’d describe it as menthol-like, but honestly I don’t know how to identify it (there’s no menthol in the cream, and that’s only an approximation of the smell). After about a week I noticed the smell die down significantly, and now that I’m like 8 months in the smell is barely noticeable and I actually find it oddly pleasant. Though that may be because I have good associations with it, more than anything else. Just wanted to give a heads up on that. It’s seemed fairly clear to me that Derma MD formulates their products for effectiveness rather than for a sensory experience and their products don’t include dyes, fragrances, or other things like that.
Now, this cream isn’t actually intended to be used daily. Derma MD’s website says, “Apply 3-4 times weekly in p.m. until skin lightening has reached desired color, thereafter apply weekly to maintain.” If $63 sounds a little steep for a moisturizer, the fact that it’s meant to be used as a treatment on an as-needed basis might help since the jar well last you a good long while. It’s predominantly marketed as a facial cream, but the company also says that it’s safe to use on sensitive or intimate areas such as the areola, as well. I haven’t personally tried this but it’s nice to be reminded that we can pay attention to areas beyond our face, if we want.
I’m not someone who really struggles a whole lot with dark spots on my skin. I’m still under 30 and I don’t think I’m particularly predisposed to sun spots, genetically speaking. However, I was really impressed with this cream shortly after beginning to fool around with it because I really could see a difference in my skin tone, even after just a few weeks of use. Just based on the results I’ve seen, I think this is an impressive product.
It also has an ingredients list that isn’t too long, and really focuses on natural stuff – the brand as a whole kind of combines high tech and natural ingredients, but this ingredients list seems particularly simple and natural.
Ingredients: water (aqua), aloe vera gel, caprylic/capric triglycerides, sesame seed oil, uva-ursi (bearberry) leaf extract, morus alba (mulberry extract), glycrrhiza glabra (licorice root), chamomile extract, stearic acid, dimethicone, shea butter, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, wheat amino acids, allantoin, kojic powder, glycolic acid (neutralized) phenoxyethanol and grape seed extract.
I’ll run through the ingredients that should be playing a part in the lightening of hyperpigmentation. Paula’s Choice has one of the best ingredient encyclopedias online and cites studies to back up statements, so I’m mostly referencing their information here.
Bearberry leaf extract: Bearberry has antibacterial and antioxidant properties, and can have skin-lightening properties, as well. It’s active components include hydroquinone and arbutin – hydroquinone in particular is well-known for being an effective inhibitor of melanin production.
Mulberry extract: Mulberry can help prevent excess melanin production, though no dosage protocols exist so it’s best to use it in conjunction with other effective ingredients.
Licorice root: Similar to mulberry, licorice is best used in conjunction with other potent ingredients but has a long history of being used for brightening and evening out skin tone. It’s a very commonly used herb in Ayurvedic practices.
Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate: This is a form of vitamin C, which is a great ingredient to incorporate in a skincare routine regardless of your concerns. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts skin’s hydration, collagen production, and elasticity, and lightens hyperpigmentation when used in high enough quantities.
Kojic powder: Kojic acid comes from several species of Japanese fungi, and there’s actually quite a bit of information about it online. FutureDerm has a long article discussing it and comparing it to other ingredients for hyperpigmentation. In general, it’s an effective one, particularly if used in combination with hydroquinone and glycolic acid.
Glycolic acid: Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates skin, encouraging cell renewal and a radiant complexion. The aforementioned FutureDerm article notes that using kojic acid in combination with glycolic acid is more effective than 10% glycolic acid or 4% hydroquinone treatments. It’s sitting near the bottom of the cream’s ingredients list and I really don’t notice the normal effects that I might with a product explicitly formulated with glycolic to exfoliate skin, and I assume it’s mostly there as a booster ingredient, if that makes sense.
I just wanted to go through some of that to explain why I have such trust in this cream. I really like it, and it continues to be one of my favorite products that I’ve tried from Derma MD. If you’re curious, the brand also offers a few other related products which I have not personally tried, including a Lightening & Brightening body treatment, Lightening & Brightening Serum, and Organic Illuminating Serum. Remember that dark spots are most often brought on by sun exposure, so wear SPF 30+ daily.
You can find the Diminish Lightening & Brightening Creme at Derma MD, and it costs $62.95 for 2 oz. Derma MD has kindly offered readers 40% off of an entire purchase using the code “dermamd40”.
Are dark spots a concern of yours? Do you have any favorite products you use to brighten ’em up? I’d love to hear about your experiences.
This product was provided to me by Derma MD. All opinions are my own.