A product that truly impacts the various discolorations on my skin as a result of lifeguarding and genetics is my holy grail. The Nutra-Lift Brite & Lite ($34 in the shop) comes closer than other products I've tried, particularly after adding patience to the mix and taking two months for a full review.
I started the process by targeting some specific and stubborn spots: one on the left side of my face under my eye and three on my left hand. I sense a trend here; perhaps driving cross-country multiple times in my 20s without enough sunscreen wasn't as much of an adventure as I thought. For reference, I'm now in my mid-40s.
I applied the Brite & Lite lotion nightly following the instructions to use a small amount only on each spot. I then let it dry for a few minutes before applying any additional products — typically only moisturizer, such as my current one, La Vie Celeste Day & Night Restorative Face Cream ($65 in the shop) — because the lotion would remain tacky for a bit. I didn't discern any major scent and did not experience any adverse reaction other than mild stinging when it first touched my skin. The label noted there may be a flushing reaction because of the acids that form the basis of the formulation, but that didn't happen to me at all — even when applying the product closer to my eye than the recommended 1.5 inch distance (that was where my spot was). I also made sure to use plenty of sunscreen — which, as a dedicated TIA enthusiast, was already part of my routine.
The ingredients list includes many familiar warriors in the fight against discoloration: Glycolic acid and salicylic acid are used together here (which can be irritating). There are no details on the concentration levels used in the Brite & Lite. Marta's article on acids from a few years ago notes it may not be good to use every day, after all.
Nutra-Lift uses terms like "revolutionary" and "miracle" to describe the rest of the substances here: primarily Alpha-Arbutin, which is "...a natural derived substance found in cranberries, pears & blueberries with knowm melanin-inhibiting properties. Recent clinical studies have found it to be far more effective than Hydroquinone or Kojic Acid." Apparently, this claim is true per this 2004 study on human melanoma cells.
A long list of other botanical ingredients along with tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, a stable form of vitamin C known for helping to lighten the skin and build collagen. TIA has reviewed several other products that also contain this ingredient. It's nice to see it included in an affordable product like this one from Nutra-Lift.
So, did it work? Were any of my spot suspects arrested? Yes. Not as much as a laser treatment (and that may be the only thing to completely rid myself of these pernicious particles), but I definitely saw lightening in all three areas. The discoloration on my hands saw less so because these areas are slightly raised with a thicker layer of skin to penetrate. I do believe with continued use I will see more improvement. But that is the trick: maintaining the discipline to keep using it most nights. Otherwise, it's back to the spotted drawing board.