Enlighten by Evidence Skin Care
Let me introduce you to a new product by E.S.K called Enlighten. This cream is designed to minimise the appearance of hyperpigmentation, evening out skin tone. Enlighten contains 4-n-Butylresorcinol (4nB), “considered one of the most exciting depigmenting ingredients to emerge in modern skincare. Operating similarly to hydroquinone, a skin lightening agent, 4nB inhibits tyrosinase activity; a copper-based skin enzyme involved in the creation of melanin”. It also contains Niacinamide (B3) which has great anti-inflammatory properties and is commonly used in the treatment of acne, dermatitis and rosacea.
Hyperpigmentation (the reason for this fantastic day and night use cream) – a generally harmless condition where areas of the skin become darker than your normal skin colour. This is caused by the over-production of melanin, the brown pigment in our skin. A few of the reason why this may happen are Sunspots (caused by excess sun exposure), Melasma (caused by hormonal changes, especially during pregnancy, and Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (the result of inflammation or injury to the skin i.e. acne). Another trigger can be medications or skincare products which increase your sensitivity to light. It’s also more commo in those with darker skin, as they already have a higher amount of melanin.
I am quite fair-skinned and have managed to avoid hyperpigmentation on my face, but being in sunny Queensland, I grew up at the beach. My arms, shoulders and chest have definitely got patches of darkness. I also suffer from hypopigmentation (too little melanin) in the same areas, so the darker spots are more obvious to me. I have personally been using Enlighten on a small patch of my arm, but also on a couple of marks left over from scratching at my rosacea. So far (3 weeks) I’ve only seen the smallest of changes, but 6 weeks is the recommended time to see noticeable results.
I sent a few questions through to Daniel Rubinstein, Evidence Skincare (ESK) Co-Founder and MD, to learn more about this exciting new product.
- What inspired ESK to use 4-n-Butylresorcinol in Enlighten compared to other proven actives such as Hydroquinone? Hydroquinone is increasingly being questioned about its safety and potential to irritate long term hypo and hyper pigmentary risks. It’s not the worst aggressor used in formulations, but when EWG (ewg.org) rates it an 8 out of 10 for safety (10 being the worst) that leaves us questioning whether an ingredient of this rating should really be used in modern skincare. After a thorough trawling of the National Library of Medicine and looking at all the available alternatives, including Arbutin, Kojic Acid, Acetyl Glucosamine to name a few, 4-n-Butylresorcinol (4nB) emerged as the obvious choice due to its strong evidence and safety profile. Although it is rare to see this ingredient used by other skincare brands, this wasn’t a deterrent. As with all our formulations, including our retinal-based Ultimate A and Ultimate A+, we formulate using the latest evidence and scientific insights. Enlighten was no different. 4nB had the science to back up its efficacy.
- How does Enlighten work to treat current and future pigmentation; and are these results permanent or long term? Enlighten uses 4nB which inhibits tyrosinase, a precursor to melanin. By reducing one of the key bits of fuel which fires the creation of melanin, it reduces excess melanin production and thus pigmentation. Enlighten also includes vitamin B3 (niacinamide) which interrupts the transport of melanin from the melanocyte (where it is produced) to the keratinocyte (where it is deposited as pigment). Those are 2 of the 4 pathways that can be targeted by skincare to reduce hyperpigmentation. Neither ingredient is immediate in reducing hyperpigmentation (which by the way can be one of the hardest skin conditions to manage, particularly when the pigmentation is deep in the dermis) but most of our customers report seeing results from the six week mark. Although there are no adverse effects of ceasing use of these ingredients, the skin will revert back to its prior state, particularly when factors such as UV exposure are involved. Thankfully, 4nB is safe for long-term daily use.
- In terms of hyperpigmentation, does this get worse before it gets better when using Enlighten? Hyperpigmentation doesn’t get worse, but it can sometimes feel like it is. Ingredients that target hyperpigmentation tend to return the skin to its untanned state. If the skin has some level of tan all over, this may lighten more quickly than the areas of hyperpigmentation which can sit deeper in the skin. Although it can look like the hyperpigmentation is getting worse, it is usually the contrast between the surrounding skin and pigmented area which gives this illusion.
- If you have small spots of pigmentation in areas other than the face, say the shoulder area or décolletage, would Enlighten be beneficial? Yes, absolutely! The product is formulated for use on the skin which extends to the shoulder and décolletage area.
- What’s the best way to incorporate Enlighten into a skincare routine, and what step should it occur? We recommend using Enlighten before sunscreen in the morning and for accelerated results, after a night cream in the evening.
While this product is on the pricy side at $95AUD for 50g, it’s important to remember that these ingredients are of a higher concentrate, Enlighten contains some fantastic ingredients. These include Shea Butter, Vitamin C and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and so many more. While treating hyperpigmentation, it also moisturises and softens the skin. The cream is very light once applied and soaks beautifully into the skin, not leaving any oily, sticky or shiny residue. I highly recommend! Click HERE for more E.S.K products!
*Please remember to always do a skin patch test on the wrist or behind the ear. While this product may work for most, everybody’s skin is different.
Thank you to Daniel Rubinstein for answering my questions.