An Intro to Skin Whitening


Our skin can appear dull and dingy when dry, dead skin lingers on the surface. When our pores are dirty, our skin is not healthy. Exfoliation can greatly improve the look and feel of our skin, giving the surface a smooth, radiant appearance. But not all skin whitening techniques are as simple as using as exfoliating scrub. For trouble spots like acne scars, sun spots, age spots, liver spots, freckles, or any other dark pigmentation, many people turn to skin whitening creams, facial peels, and even laser surgery.

Darker pigmentation can occur naturally on our skin, and it seems like there’s little that we can do about. Well, this is only half true. While you can’t completely control your body at a cellular level, you can help control the enzyme that creates darker pigments in our skin. Higher levels of secretion of the enzyme tyrosinase results in more melanin production, which leads to darker pigmentation. Skin whitening products aim to reduce the levels of the tyrosinase enzyme, thus impeding the production of melanin, for lighter, more even skin tones. Some skin whitening treatments can be applied to the entire face to even the skin tones, while other creams are meant to be used in smaller areas as “spot whiteners.” These types of creams are marketed more toward getting rid of scars, stretch marks, and discoloration common with acne or rosacea.

Skin whitening options

Before you open the box or bottle and start globbing the cream everywhere, you should be aware that many skin whitening products are chemical based. This means they may cause irritation to the skin, as well as some health problems when used in conjunction with certain medications. Always consult your doctor or dermatologist before starting a skin whitening treatment so that he or she can monitor your health and the results. Your dermatologist may also be able to recommend products to you that fit your skin type, as some products may worsen oily skin or over-dry normal skin.

Skin whitening products take time to produce results. So, don’t get in a hurry and overdo it or you could stall any progress, or worse, cause a bad skin reaction. You should be able to notice a difference in two months to three months of consistent use. And always, absolutely always, follow the directions that come with the product unless otherwise directed by a doctor (a doctor that you see in person, not one on the Internet). Because each product relies on different ingredients to smooth skin and skin tones, it’s important that you understand what results you want to achieve and which ingredients will give you those results. Again, your dermatologist can help you understand a specific product or ingredient at greater lengths.

Many skin whitening creams cause photosensitivity, which means the area is affected by the sun’s rays more than usual. This can cause the area to tan more quickly than the surrounding skin, which may only cause more discoloration. Use a topical treatment that contains an SPF (SPF 30 is a good level to look for), or wear an SPF in conjunction with the cream.

What can skin whitening products do for you?

In this day and age, everyone wants a quick answer. So, what can skin whitening products really do for you and your skin?

Many skin whitening products include vitamins A and E, as well as other natural vitamins, minerals, and extracts to help improve overall skin health. This includes exfoliating, cleaning out the pores, using ingredients that won’t clog pores, evening skin tones, and brightening the appearance of the skin. All of these processes working together result in skin that is more resilient, smoother, and younger looking. In fact, many age-defying creams and masks use similar ingredients to products that are marketed as scar removing treatments, the only difference is that one is found in the beauty aisle, while the other product is located near the first aid supplies. Check out products that have more than one proposed outcome so that you can reap the most benefits from putting in your time with a product. Find skin whitening creams that eliminate (or prevent) wrinkles while whitening and hydrating skin. Or find an exfoliant that both cleans your pores and prevents further breakouts while reducing redness. Combination skin whitening products will also help you feel like your money was well spent, since the majority of skin whitening products are not cheap.

You can also supplement any store-bought skin whitening treatment with something you’ve concocted at home. Use Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid crystals to create your own serums at home. These crystals or powders can be purchased at vitamin and supplement stores and sometimes at whole food stores, and they generally cost a mere fraction of a high-end cream. Mix half of a teaspoon of powder with two teaspoons of water to create your serum. This must be made fresh each day for the full effect.

How to help your skin whitening treatments

Even when you purchase a high-end, brand-name skin whitening cream or treatment, you should make sure you’re getting the full effects by doing two things. First, follow the directions of your treatment exactly as instructed to get the best results. Next, find out what your treatment or cream is missing and supplement your own version of the missing feature. For example, if your skin whitening cream hydrates and evens skin tones, you’re missing out on exfoliation. So, exfoliate the skin before applying the cream. Sensitive skin may become irritated if you exfoliate too often, therefore, know your skin and how to properly care for it. On the other side of the coin, if a skin whitening exfoliant cleanses your pores while whitening your skin, you probably need a moisturizer. Find a natural oil or noncomedogenic lotion with an SPF to supplement your cream and keep your face hydrated and protected.

And don’t forget your vitamins. Taking supplements of vitamins A, C, and D, as well as niacin (B3), will keep your skin healthy, strong, and well protected from pollutants and free agents.

One Comment/Review

  • Tommy says:

    I have tried taking Vitamin A and D supplements for a long time and never knew they were good for skin whitening

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