Are there good skin whitening products that work? Do these products actually work? Learn more about these products including and ingredients, hydroquinone, arbutin, glutathione, papaya, retinoic, honey, mercury among others and whether they are safe or not.
In many cultures, fair skin is regarded as more appealing, glamorous even. Nature seems to have a different idea though such that many people end up with skin that is not as far as they would like.
To get to where they want, people depend on some products to lighten it shade or two. All over the world, this attempt at altering one’s skin color is known by different terms. You may have heard of skin lightening, bleaching, whitening, or fading.They all refer to the attempt at manipulating it to appear lighter.
In cultures where the desired complexion is seen as closer to white like Korea, Japan, and China, the products used for this process are known as skin whiteners. In other parts of the world, these fairness products may be known as fade creams, bleaching creams, lightening creams or fairness creams.
There is a thriving skin lightening product market almost on every continent and dozens of products tailored to suit various market niches. You can also get a lightening product in several forms. From soaps and washes to injectable and chewable varieties. The lotions, creams, tubes, and sprays are everything in between.
People looking to buy whitening products have varied needs, while some are interested in a face whitening cream, another one may be looking for a lightening or whitening product for dark skin and butt. Some are after whitening the whole body, while others just want to get rid of dark parts like armpits and inner thighs.
Stay with us as we look at what the active ingredients in most products for skin whitening. Some could be safer than others, as some will do a better job than others, we will be covering that too, don’t miss out.
Ingredients in lightening products
Whether it is a cream, gel, lotion, soap or injectable, the whitening/ lightening products work under the same principle of blocking the production of melanin by the body. Melanin is the pigment that gives it its color.
How dark or fair you appear depends on the amount of melanin present in your skin. And that is in turn determined by genes mainly.
Exposure to the sun can, however, cause it to produce more melanin and appear darker, but this usually disappears with time once one is no longer constantly exposed.
Hormones and being exposed to certain chemicals can also cause pigmentation changes on the skin for some people.
For the most part, though, we are stuck with our skin color because the formula for how much melanin is good for each individual is coded in their genes.
Skin bleaching targets this process and if effective, one will end up with a lighter shade.
Some products claim to also encourage the body to produce lighter melanin as opposed to the dark variety, eventually making one to several shades lighter.
Not all people who use a lightening product are obsessed with getting lighter skinned. Some people use bleach creams to try correct discoloration in case of dark spots and uneven complexion or make scars less prominent. This is especially true of people who are already quite fair.
You can say that the majority of those looking for whitening products are after a fairer complexion. We are not judging, we just want you to be more informed.
We cannot tell you the best whitening cream because we don’t have enough melanin to try them all, but we can tell you that one or several of the following ingredients will be in the skin lighteners that actually work.
This substance is used is many face lightening creams. Hydroquinone inhibits the synthesis of melanin. If your skin is no longer producing melanin, you will lighten even if you are naturally dark.
Because it is not attempting to bleach but rather stop melanin in its tracks altogether, it is thought to give better results in people with naturally dark skin, for example, African Americans. For this reason, it popularly used to make effective lightening/ whitening products aimed at darker complexioned people, for example, those of Afro Caribbean descent.
In many countries, especially those where lightening products are mainstream and popular, you can buy hydroquinone based products over the counter. Even in the United States, over the counter creams with not more than 2% hydroquinone can be bought over the counter.
But let not its wide use distract us from the fact that it is thought to have adverse side effects. For one hydroquinone use is linked to an untreatable skin discoloration condition called necrosis.
Though research hasn’t defined yet what makes this substance so bad for prolonged use, the concerns on its safety were enough to cause its banning for use in cosmetics in all of Europe since 2001. It is still illegal to use hydroquinone in cosmetics, though one can purchase it with a prescription.
Whitening face creams and other products containing face creams have been banned in many countries for decades now. However, there are still enough places where the sale of skin lighteners is not regulated which sort of manufacturers of mercury-based creams keep going. Many lighteners contain mercury and some will try passing it off under less threatening titles like Mercurio.
The concern is that one could get mercury poisoning from using these mercury-based products. This poisoning is serious and could lead to among other things kidney and neurological complications.
It can also be passed on to a newborn in cases where pregnant women use products to lighten the skin that contains mercury.
Mercury is mostly used in lightening products meant to be applied topically therefor you don’t directly ingest the mercury. But it still can end up in our bodies through absorption by the skin. Bottom line is that whitening lotion, or soap, or cream has any mercury in it, it could be harmful to your health.
Glutathione skin whitening has been a thing for a while now in Asian countries like Japan and the Philippines. The rest of the industry in other countries is just playing catch up. Glutathione is made from the protein naturally present in certain plants like walnuts and avocados and seems to be widely regarded as a safe way to whiten skin quickly.
The amounts of naturally occurring glutathione in food are however too little to noticeably impact your skin color. The glutathione made in a lab, on the other hand, will change a person’s skin color after a certain period of consistent use.
It is available in pill form mostly but some people opt for a series of glutathione injections, about 15 of them to bleach it to the lighter tone they desire. The injections will, however, require a dermatologist to do the administration. There are those who attempt glutathione with lotions, and nasal sprays though this is not thought to take as quickly as the injectable or pills.
There doesn’t seem to be much about its side effects online, if anything, glutathione is mainly mentioned as a really effective whitener, even for black skin.
Arbutin and Kojic Acid
Arbutin naturally occurs in the leaves of mulberry, blue bear and pear plants and is used in skin whitening creams and soaps because it has melanin-inhibiting properties.
Kojic acid is derived from a fungus that grows on fermented rice and also known as an effective melanin blocking agent for which reason it is often included in many a whitening cream for face.
While they are not usually used together, they both fall under natural skin lighteners.
Steroids and retinoic acid
Some lightening creams on the market contain steroids and retinoic acid, which is derived from vitamin A.
Remedies to whiten skin that work – natural skin whitening.
It is not recommended that you use whitening products on your whole body or even for a prolonged amount of time.
To remove dark spots on the face, yes, to fade scars, alright, but to whiten face and body just for the heck of it, not advisable.
There are several reasons why the top of the list at least for us being that removing melanin from your skin is a bad idea. Melanin protects it from the suns harsh UV rays.
Prolonged exposure, with no defense, raises your cancer risk.
There is also the very real risk of mercury poisoning.
These products, regardless of them being sourced from naturally occurring compounds also make the skin more susceptible to aging.
If you are really unsatisfied with your complexion, you can try one of the following natural remedies. They are effective enough to brighten your skin without all the harmful side effects.
Honey is known to encourage it to exfoliate. This coupled with its moisturizing properties will instantly brighten your complexion. Continued use will also fade age spots. Apply some pure natural honey leave on for five minutes and wash off.
This method will help brighten dark skin over several weeks. You can also mix honey with other natural lightening treatments like lemon and olive oil for a vitamin C packed, natural bleach treatment, or with milk for a mask that will make it fairer and softer.
This powder is made by grinding the turmeric root. It gives curry powder its yellow colour.
Aside from that, it is a well-known home remedy for skin and beauty problems like fading dark circles and spots on the yes, evening out skin tone and facial hair removal. It has been used in India for generations to lighten dark skin. Make a paste of turmeric powder and water and apply on the skin you want to lighten. Rinse off when the mixture dries.
It may not give you the dramatic results of a whitening face cream, but it will make a noticeable difference glow used regularly, all without impacting your long-term skin and general health negatively.
Sometimes, turmeric is used along with other ingredients remedy as part of a natural whitening treatment. Here a few you can try.
Turmeric and Orange
Oranges are rich in Vitamin C which is wonderful for general skin health if we take lots of it but is also act as good bleacher. If you are looking to lighten your face only, a mixture of two tablespoons fresh orange juice and one teaspoon turmeric powder applied to the face and left overnight daily should be enough.
Turmeric and Gram Flour
Gram flours use as a skin whitener goes back a couple of centuries in India. This flour makes it glow naturally and glowing makes it appears fairer.
You can get the skin whitening properties of gram flour together with those of turmeric as follows.
Mix some gram flour, lemon juice, and turmeric powder. How much mixture you will require depends on where you intend to use it. For the face, one tablespoon, a couple of drops and half a teaspoon respectively will be more than enough.
Leave the mixture on your skin for 20 minutes and rinse off and use regularly to see results.
Turmeric and Oatmeal
Oatmeal will encourage your skin to shed off dead cells that make it look dull and encourage brighter new cells to form. Mix some oatmeal powder with lemon juice and some turmeric powder to make an all-natural skin whitening facial. Apply this mix on your face till it dries then rinse off. Used once weekly will get you closer to a fairer shade.
This innocent looking tropical fruit contains certain compounds that block melanin production. Make a habit of applying the paste of mashed papaya on your skin, leaving for thirty minutes then washing off to lighten skin naturally and quickly.