A Complete Guide to Skin Whitening Treatments

Every individual dreams of flaunting a beautiful, fair and smooth skin. When you are young, your skin tends to have a uniform texture and color. However, a variety of factors lead to darkening, uneven areas, spots, pigmentation and freckles. Skin whitening treatments have thus, become the most sought-after skin care procedures that exhibit excellent clinical results.

Skin whitening treatment is a cosmetic procedure that can be used to improve the skin tone, lighten the overall color and remove pigmentations. The whitening treatment can also fade scars effectively, lighten skin tan and lessen the appearance of dark skin patches.

Types of skin whitening treatments

Skin whitening treatments focus on two aspects. On one hand, it aids the absorption of UV rays and prevents the darkening effects of the skin. On the other hand, it curtails the production of melanin, a skin pigment that is mainly responsible for skin darkening. There are various treatments available for skin whitening. Your dermatologist might suggest a single treatment or a combination of various methods, depending on the skin shade, level of pigmentation and damage.

Skin whitening crèmes and lotions

The most commonly used skin whitening treatments are the topical skin crèmes and lotions that contain chemical agents to improve the color of the skin shade. You should consult a doctor to assess the needs of your skin and suggest the best suited skin whitening product for you. Different brands use various ingredients to effect skin whitening. Some of the most common ingredients used in topical skin whitening products are:

Most skin whiteners contain hydroquinone, which is a strong inhibitor of melanin production. It acts as an activating agent for lightening dark spots and brightening the skin.

Other skin whitening ingredients comprise of kojic acid, azelaic acid, monobenzyl ether, mequinol, retinoids, tretinoin and niacinamide.

Some whitening crèmes contain plant extracts that can have a bleaching effect on the skin. The natural botanical ingredients like soy and licorice also help in enhancing the brightness of the skin.

Arbutin, which is extracted from blueberry, cranberry and pear leaves, plays a major role in skin whitening. It prevents the formation of fresh melanin and allows the skin to flush out the dead cells. Thus, the withering effect of old skin cells and formation of new cells brings a glow and a whitening effect on the skin.

Laser skin resurfacing

Dermatologists use the procedure of laser skin resurfacing to facilitate skin whitening. The physician uses a series of laser beams to send concentrated and short pulsating laser beams on the affected areas. The laser light beams remove the epidermis and heat the underlying skin surface. This dual action stimulates the growth of fresh collagen fiber. The new skin that is formed in the treated area is smoother, firmer and whiter.

The laser resurfacing treatment can be effectively used for uneven skin tones and various forms hypopigmentation and acne scars. It also improves your overall complexion, if you have yellow or gray tones. The laser resurfacing treatment can be used for curing small patches of skin or on the entire face.


Cryosurgery is an excellent alternative to laser resurfacing treatment and is extremely effective on all skin tones. During a cryosurgery skin lightening therapy, liquid nitrogen is used to remove all dark skin patches. Your physician marks the affected areas and carefully applies the liquid nitrogen using a cotton swab. This liquid is applied on small concentrated areas and great care is taken to avoid the unaffected skin areas.

The nitrogen freezes the skin cells and converts them into dead cells. Once the darker patches have been destroyed, the new cells that grow in their place give a lighter and brighter look.

Chemical peels

There are many DIY chemical peel kits, but a dermatologist can use the right kind of peel to cause skin whitening. The skin peels available with a dermatologist are also stronger than over-the-counter peels. In chemical peel skin whitening treatments, the physician applies a chemical on the skin that burns the top layer.

The choice of chemicals to be used on the skin also depends on the nature of skin treatment.

Glycolic acid peels and alpha hydroxy acid peels are used for removing the top skin layer thereby, erasing wrinkles and improving skin tone.

Salicyclic acid is used for treating sun damage, acne and age spots on your skin.

TCA chemical peels have a lesser bleaching effect and are used for treatment of uneven skin tone, pigmentation problems and dark patches.

Phenol, also known as deep peel is used on the entire face and can effectively remove deep wrinkles and severe sun damage.

When the top layer heals itself, the fresh skin formed in the area is generally lighter in shade than the damaged cells. This procedure improves the production of elastin and collagen on the skin surface.


Dermabrasion is also a commonly recommended treatment by a physician to whiten your skin and remove deep wrinkles, discolorations and surface scars. In this skin whitening procedure, a rotating brush is used to remove the top skin layer, known as epidermis. When the top layer is totally taken off, the new skin cells are more even in tone.

Homemade skin whitening treatments

If the level of skin damage and the requirement of lightening the skin tone is lower, homemade skin whitening treatments are the safest and best. Some of the most popular home remedies are:

Hydrogen peroxide with a low concentration of 3-3.5 percent can effectively whiten your skin. Use a cotton swab to apply it on the face and areas where you wish to have a whiter skin shade.

Buttermilk is also considered as an effective whitener, due to its lactic acid and fat content. This natural acid works on the skin to remove dead skin cells, dirt and excess oil stored in the skin pores. The top layer is thus, effectively removed and the new cells are lighter in their tone.

Glycolic acid with a concentration level of 20 to 30 percent can act as an effective chemical peel at home. It is a natural fruit acid, and you can purchase it from a nearby store. Apply it on the skin and leave for a few minutes, before washing it off. The top layer is removed to enable the formation of bright skin cells.

A paste of lemon juice and honey can also lighten the skin tone and reduce age spots and freckles.

Powdered orange peels can be mixed with milk to apply as a face pack. This can effectively brighten the skin and enhance the glow on your face. This mixture can also be applied on the entire body as a body whitener.


Skin whitening treatments play a vital role in lightening your overall skin tone. However, you should refrain from chemical tanning to maintain the effects of the procedure. You should also make sure to use sunscreen regularly and avoid over-exposure to ultraviolet rays. Keeping your skin moisturized and clean can help you to maintain a smooth and fair complexion.