Skin whitening is not for everyone – and that’s OK. For those of us that want to lighten the skin on our face and body however, this is the place to find out more, and get support and help.
First, what do we mean by skin lightening? To me this simply means any kind of approach or product that gradually leads to a whitening of the skin.
This is sometimes also referred to as bleaching but to me that’s a different kind of procedure altogether. It’s much more drastic, expensive and requires trained medical help.
Lightening your skin can be as easy as staying out of the sun. If you have ever wondered why your face looks darker than other areas of your body, then this is the reason. The sun triggers your skin to produce a substance called melanin. This is your bodies natural way of protecting the skin – the more sun your skin gets, the more melanin your body produces and the darker your skin becomes. This darker skin is then better able to resist the suns rays. Although we all have limits no matter how dark our skin is.
Other areas of the body can be just be darker naturally even though they don’t get any sun. I’m referring to the more intimate areas which some people do choose to whiten, as well as areas such as the armpits.
Staying out of the sun, or using UV blocking sun cream is a useful tip anyway. It will only get you so far though, and can take a long time for skin to lighten. You basically have to wait for new skin to grow and surface (which is happening slowly all the time). If you want faster and better results, then you will need to look at skin whitening creams.
Skin lightening creams come in many different forms, many of which are effective to at least some degree. These can be very effective for face lightening, intimate areas or even patches of hyperpigmentation.
Some however do contain ingredients which whilst effective may be something you want to avoid. Mercury is definitely one to avoid – this is pretty toxic and shouldn’t really be used in any product you put on your skin. Hydroquinone is nowhere near as bad, and is commonly used in prescription strength creams in some countries. In other countries however it has been banned as a cosmetic ingredient! That says a lot to me, so I would advise caution on using a lightening product with hydroquinone, and only use with medical advice.
More Natural Approaches?
There are lots of natural ingredients that are known for their whitening effect. Scientists keep discovering more all the time too. Some of these include kojic acid which comes from a fungus, arbutin which is extracted from the bearberry plant or even plain old vitamin C! There are lots more too all with varying degrees of effectiveness, but many do have some solid scientific research behind them to prove they work.
The best whitening products however are going to include many if not all of these known ingredients, because they do tend to work even better when used all together. That’s the skill of making cosmetic products though – knowing what to include, and how much for the best results.
What About Pills & Potions?
There are definitely some products that are far less effective, and some that probably don’t work at all. I’m very sceptical for example of lightening soaps. These are really popular products but I just don’t see how a soap can work? If you just immediately wash it off your body how can the active ingredients get into and make any difference to your skin? I think these soaps are a bit of a con and are best avoided. The same goes for the whitening pills that I’ve seen around – there is no real evidence that I’ve been able to find that proves eating these ingredients makes any difference to your skin. I may be wrong, but if anyone can point me to some real research I’ll gladly share what I find out!
It is possible to make some home whitening remedies that can help to lighten your skin. Typical ingredients include things like lemon juice, baking soda and salt. They can have some effect over time, but don’t tend to be anywhere near as effective as the commercial products that use effective ingredients it’s very difficult to get yourself.
I mentioned it above but it’s worth saying again. If you want lighter skin you do need to avoid the sun or wear sunscreens anyway. It’s also even more important if you are using whitening products. Once your skin is lighter it becomes more sensitive to the sun and UV light. Make sure you protect your skin when going outside. Avoid being in the sun at midday anyway, but also do use sunscreens particularly on your face.
Finally, Get Professional Advice
It is always wise to get professional medical advice when making any changes such as lightening your skin. You can talk to a doctor or a dermatologist about what products or procedures are available. They will be happy to give you advice. It’s up to you what you do with that advice of course, but it’s always better to be well informed.