Post-Summer Skin Brighteners to Revitalize your Glow

We’re all in need of a little post-season R&R

By the time September rolls around, my twice-a-week exfoliation routine starts to feel like a bit too rough. Even though L.A.’s recent heat wave tells us that we haven’t dropped into official fall territory, you might be tempted to drop the scrub. Don’t. Instead, consider adding a skin brightener to keep your radiant look—even without a smudge of makeup.

What’s underneath your makeup is what counts. Did you forgo the SPF on a few rushed summer mornings? Do you feel like, even after washing your face, the combination of makeup and oils leaves a persistent, filmy residue on your skin? I usually do.

It’s time to step up your game. Remember: no amount of makeup can hide damaged, dehydrated, or dull skin. Dr. Lask of the Vitality Institute says, “Now that summer is over, you’re probably wanting to address the sun damage that you may have incurred over the season. Exfoliating works off the outer layers of dead skin that have built up, so other products and serums can penetrate your skin more effectively.”

Current studies reveal that uneven skin tone (especially when blotchiness is present) is now considered to be the leading marker of “mature looking” skin. If you’re into state-of-the-art antioxidant protection, try Dermalogica C-12 Pure Bright Serum to combat hyperpigmentation before it begins. The thin, lotion-like serum uses a rice-derived acid, algae, and peptides to fight melanin deposits before they form. This treatment is a great complement to your sunscreen and can even replace your usual serum. It’s also ideal for those who prefer lighter formulas, and those with oily-to-combination (including acne prone) skin. The pump bottle packaging helps keep the delicate Vitamin C molecules stable.

To target dark spots, Dr. Lask says to look for skincare products that use ingredients like Licorice Root Extract, which works to erase dark spots by targeting the enzyme that makes pigment in the skin. Fresh Peony Brightening Night Treatment Mask is spiked with Licorice and Vitamin C to even out skin tone over time—not overnight. The citrus-scented cream is moisturizing enough to be worn as a nighttime treatment, but if your skin skews towards the dehydrated side, I’d suggest that you add a moisturizer on top.

For varsity level peeling, Rodial Super Acids X-Treme Acid Rush Peel isn’t as harsh as a bonafide chemical peel that you’d get at a dermatologist, but it’s close enough—and deeply rejuvenating. The gel uses azelaic, glycolic and lactic acids to exfoliate. It’s so astonishingly good, you may never need to see the inside of your dermatologist’s office again. After the initial tingling sensation, my skin was insanely glowy and felt immediately plumper. You’ll need to apply a hefty dose of moisturizer afterwards, but it’s a fantastic skin perfector that’s safe enough to use a few times a week.

Say goodbye to anxiety-ridden chemical peels, which require you to commit to some serious downtime. Who even has time for that in L.A.?