Skin whitening, also commonly referred to as skin bleaching or skin lightening, describes a handful of different cosmetic procedures that one can undergo to help lighten or “whiten” the skin. Read more about it in the article.
Some women choose to whiten their skin to try and conceal blemishes on their skin, or to try and lighten skin that they feel is culturally “too dark”. Some other specific reasons why women use skin whitening products include:
- Trying to conceal moles
- Trying to conceal birth marks
- Trying to lighten the effects of rosacea (not recommended as the chemicals in a whitening product may make the problem worse)
- Trying to give skin a more “uniformed” appearance
How can a Cream Whiten my Skin?
These creams whiten your skin by use of specific active ingredients, though do be warned that a lot of these ingredients have been deemed harmful. Many countries have actually banned a lot of the ingredients that can be found in several skin whitening products that can otherwise be found in Asia, such as:
- Mercurous chloride
- Ammoniated mercury
Mercury has been banned in European and North American countries as it does accumulate on the skin, it is a poison, and in the long term mercury can actually make your skin appear darker and have the opposite desired effect.
Safer alternatives that you should be looking for when you are trying to use a skin whitening product include:
- Arbutin (this is a product that is made from bearberry, cranberry, mulberry and/or blueberry leaves or even possibly pears).
- Tretinoin (you may see this ingredient listed as being all-trans retinoic acid).
- Kojic acid (a by-product that is produced during the process of fermenting rice, particularly during the process of creating Japanese rice wine).
- Azelaic acid (this acid is derived from several grain products, such as wheat, barley and rye).
- Vitamin C (you may find vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbic acid and ascorbyl glucosamine).
These products either have properties that can help stop the production of melanin (thus preventing your skin from becoming darker), or they have antioxidants and other natural properties that will help nourish and improve the health and quality of skin, which in turn will help lighten your complexion.
Skin whitening creams are rather effective when it comes to lightening your complexion, though other methods are available. One of the most popular skin whitening treatments out there is laser surgery. Though you can lighten and whiten your skin all in one shot, laser surgery is not always the most consistent and can cause either hypo or hyper pigmentation. You also have to be careful as using lasers on your skin can cause some permanent and irreversible scarring.
You can also try cryosurgery to lighten your skin, which involves utilizing liquid nitrogen to cause the destruction of the top layer of skin cells. Any excess melanin that is produced will rise to the skin’s surface and peel off, thus leaving you with noticeably whiter skin.