Skin Brightening Agents You May Not Have Heard Of

The Super Lift and Refresh Mint

When formulating a product, it's important to remember that higher percentages of active ingredients don't always equate to more effective products.  Using actives in high percentages can lead to irritation or damage to your skin barrier. Rather than upping the ante in percentages of active ingredients (which may cause more harm than good), we use complementary ingredients that work synergistically to create powerful multi-correctional products.

When it comes to skin smoothing and brightening serums, most of us are probably familiar with the benefits of incorporating Vitamin C in our routines. The advanced formulation of The Super Lift Vitamin C-More Treatment contains three types of the best performing, bio-available and shelf-stable Vitamin C topicals, including: (Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate and Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate). In tandem with our Vitamin C blend, we utilize lesser-known but equally important brightening agents for the highest efficacy possible.  Let’s examine some of these lesser-known powerhouse ingredients. 

Ferulic Acid Esters

Ferulic acid is a naturally occurring antioxidant derived from plant sources, such as grains and certain fruits.6 Ferulic Acid is a great aid in skincare formulations as it works to stabilize and boost the effectiveness of other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, E and A and is commonly used in anti-aging skincare due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic benefits.5,6

When left unprotected, free radicals can cause oxidative stress to the skin and lead to premature aging. The molecules in ferulic acid are large enough that they can intercept free radicals before they cause any damage.5,6 This means that when you apply ferulic acid topically, it can protect your skin while also preventing wrinkles and fine lines from developing over time.5 

Ferulic acid also helps to reduce photoaging (skin damage caused by sun exposure) by inhibiting the creation of enzymes that speed up the generation of free radicals and hyperpigmentation by suppressing tyrosinase activity (the first step of melanin production).5,6

Tranexamic Acid

This lesser-known acid appears to have benefits for treating melasma, hyperpigmentation, and other types of skin discoloration.3,8 Tranexamic acid is a synthetic molecule with a structure similar to lysine, a naturally occurring amino acid.8 Lysine plays a considerable role in promoting the growth of collagen, which provides the skin with strength and elasticity.8

Tranexamic Acid was formerly used by doctors to treat hemorrhaging and traumatic bleeding in surgeries, until it was discovered to have the potential to brighten the skin and reduce hyperpigmentation by reducing melanin - the pigment that gives your skin color.3 When applied topically, it may decrease the interaction between keratinocytes (skin cells) and melanocytes (melanin-forming cells).3,8 Keratinocytes are important because they provide structure and protection for your skin while melanocytes produce melanin — one of the main contributors to your skin's natural color.3,8 This can help reduce pigmentation, dark spots, and uneven skin tone caused by free radicals and UV exposure.8

Due to its anti-inflammatory qualities, Tranexamic Acid can also be an effective treatment for skin barrier recovery and assist in reducing acne, inflammation, and skin discoloration.3,8 The Refresh Mint – Exfoliating Moisture Mask is specially formulated with four different typed of acids – including Tranexamic Acid – as well as enzyme and hydrators to brighten, even and moisturize the complexion. 


Niacinamide, also known as Nicotinamide, is the water-soluble form of vitamin B3.2 It’s a popular ingredient in many skin care treatments because it can help fight the signs of aging while being gentle on all skin types.4 It has been shown to be effective in improving skin health and treating acne by reducing sebum production, minimizing the appearance of pores and fighting acne breakouts.2,4

Vitamin B3 (niacin) is essential for healthy cell growth, which means it can help promote new cell formation as well as protect existing ones from damage caused by UV rays or other environmental toxins2,4. Niacinamide has been shown to help your skin build keratin proteins and increases collagen production, which makes your skin firmer and more elastic.4 It also assists in retaining moisture in the skin and regulating oil production.2,4 The result is a stronger skin barrier with fewer blemishes and fine lines. 

Niacinamide can boost the efficacy of other ingredients such as retinol and glycolic acid by helping them penetrate deeper into the skin.4 This may result in a reduction in hyperpigmentation and redness, which are common side effects when using these ingredients alone.4

Tonka Bean Ferment

Tonka beans are the fruits of the Dipteryx odorata tree which originates in South America, most commonly in Brazil and Columbia.7 Tonka beans have been used in the perfumery industry since the 1700s and are known for their sweet, vanilla-like and slightly fruity aroma.1

Polyphenols from Tonka Beans are isolated using a fermentation process. These polyphenols create a brighter and more vibrant appearance in the skin by absorbing damaging UV light and converting it into light that can be emitted on the visible spectrum, increasing the skin’s luminescence while protecting the skin from future damage.1,7

Tonka Bean extract contains a potent antioxidant called Safranal.1 Accumulated oxidative damage is one of the principal causes of aging skin. Tonka Bean extract possess strong anti-oxidant capabilities, giving the ingredient an additional anti-aging boost.1

It also works as a highly effective skin conditioning agent that can improve hydration and elasticity of the skin.1 It offers anti-inflammatory benefits which can help reduce redness and irritation from acne breakouts and rosacea.1,7

Ferulic Acid Esters, Tranexamic Acid, Niacinamide, Tonka Bean Ferment are all less commonly known brightening agents used in the Super Lift Vitamin C-More Serum. The incorporation of these advanced ingredients, and our innovative Vitamin C blend, results in a powerhouse formulation that will keep the appearance of your skin smooth, bright, and tight! 


1.   Best, S. (2022, April 25). Tonka Bean: Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Dosage. Dr. Steve Best - Nutritional Health and Wellbeing.
2.   Boo, Y. C. (2021). Mechanistic Basis and Clinical Evidence for the Applications of Nicotinamide (Niacinamide) to Control Skin Aging and Pigmentation. Antioxidants, 10(8), 1315.
3.   Ebrahimi, B., & Naeini, F. F. (2014). Topical tranexamic acid as a promising treatment for melasma. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences : The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 19(8), 753–757.
4.   Levin, J., & Momin, S. B. (2010). How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients? The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 3(2), 22–41.
5.   Maeda, K. (2022). Mechanism of Action of Topical Tranexamic Acid in the Treatment of Melasma and Sun-Induced Skin Hyperpigmentation. Cosmetics, 9(5), 108.
6.   Srinivasan, M., Sudheer, A. R., & Menon, V. P. (2007). Ferulic Acid: Therapeutic Potential Through Its Antioxidant Property. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, 40(2), 92–100.
7.   Tonka Bean facts and health benefits. (2022, March 15). Health Benefits Times.
8.   Zduńska, K., Dana, A., Kolodziejczak, A., & Rotsztejn, H. (2018). Antioxidant Properties of Ferulic Acid and Its Possible Application. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 31(6), 332–336.