SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense Serum — The 2-Week Wonder Solution for Stubborn Dark Spots

Do you have persistent dark spots on your face that just refuse to go away or seem to get worse over time? For most of us, we do; either in the form of past blemish marks, sun spots (also known as age spots), or just general skin discolouration. It’s not a big deal to live with this pigmentation, but wouldn’t it be nicer to lighten them or better yet, remove them altogether? Since I hit 40, sun spots became more prominent on my cheekbones, and the only way I could get rid of them was to laser them off at the clinic. It’s not a painless procedure, nor was it cheap (it’s a few hundred each session), and there’s around one week of downtime. Personally, the downtime wasn’t the issue; it’s the cost of the procedure, and for many people, it’s the idea of taking a laser to the face. This is where topical serums come in.

One of the proven serums for pigmentation is the Discoloration Defense Multi-Phase Serum from SkinCeuticals; this one addresses dark spots (and stubborn ones too!), uneven skin tone, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (such as blemish marks). This is what the bottle looks like:

Above: Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense Multi-Phase Serum, $168

For me, when it comes to skincare, I always believe in the science behind the formulation. In this serum, the key ingredients aren’t just effective, but are optimised in their concentrations, and an optimised cocktail works in synergy to perform what it’s set out to do; in this case — even skin tone and reduce the appearance of discolouration in as early as two weeks. In this serum, the key ingredients include:

  • 3% Tranexamic Acid (TXA) — this controls the release of inflammatory mediators, which is the first step of dark spots forming. This ingredient is relatively new in the skincare industry and a game-changer as new studies showed that topical formulations with tranexamic acid have a documented effect on hyperpigmentation. By targeting and deactivating inflammatory mediators — which is the first step of the hyperpigmentation pathway — tranexamic acid can help prevent and correct hyperpigmentation, including difficult-to-treat forms such as melasma.
  • 1% Kojic Acid — this suppresses the production of melanin.
  • 5% Niacinamide — this one blocks the transfer of melanin. So even if melanin is produced in the deeper layers of skin, Niacinamide will stop it from surfacing.
  • 5% HEPES — this exfoliates the skin and promotes cell turnover.

Each of these target a different step of the formation of pigmentation, so collectively, they will correct and prevent pigments from reoccurring. It’s recommended to use this serum twice a day for 12 weeks to see very visible results; skin will get brighter and more importantly, even out, so there’s less discolouration and patchiness.

Here are the clinical results provided by SkinCeuticals after 12 weeks of use.

*These are a 12-week, single-centre, clinical study conducted on 50 females, aged between 25 to 60, with mild to moderate facial pigmentation, including melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and hyperpigmentation. Discoloration Defense was applied to the face twice a day in conjunction with sunscreen. Efficacy and tolerability evaluations were conducted at baseline and at weeks 2, 4, 8, and 12.

Above: an example of improved appearance of Discolouration after 12 weeks of usage.

Above: an example of Post-Blemish marks reduced after using the serum for 12 weeks.

Clinical trials after 12 weeks use of Discoloration Defense also show:
— 59% improvement in skin discoloration
— 81% improvement for post-blemish marks
— 60% improvement for the appearance of Melasma (brown patches)

But even in as quick as two weeks, if you consistently use the product, you’ll see an improvement in your complexion. You’ll notice dark spots start to lighten and new ones not forming.

Above: Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense Multi-Phase Serum, $168

If you have a multi-step skincare regime, it’s easy to incorporate this serum into it; in the morning, apply it after other serums and follow it with moisturiser and sunscreen. In the evening, use it along with your other serums in order of product texture — go from lighter to richer textures, then top off with your usual moisturiser.

Above: it’s a dropper style applicator. Just use 3-5 drops each time and apply it to the entire face and neck. the texture is light and not oily at all. It spreads easily over skin and absorbs easily, leaving behind a comfortable feel.

If you’re looking for complementary skincare to really get the best results out of this serum, do check out SkinCeuticals’ H.A. Intensifier; I’ve previously reviewed it and after two weeks of day and night usage, the skin on my forehead was smoother and the fine lines reduced. You can see the results here:

Editor’s Review: 2 weeks of SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier gave me visible, impressive results

SkinCeuticals is also most known for their C E Ferulic Antioxidant Treatment (it’s for fine lines, wrinkles, firmness and brightening), and those familiar with the product know that it’s been shamelessly knocked off by many other famous beauty brands, which also means that it’s a winning product in itself.

Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense, $168 (30ml). Available at TANGS at Tang Plaza, BHG Bugis, and SkinCeuticals flagship store on Lazada.