Skin Lightner Creams: Benefits And Usage


Most of you must have heard about the tanning creams that help in making the skin darker, but there are lotions and creams available in the market that actually help lighten the skin tone. These creams are known as ‘skin lightener creams’. So, what do they treat? They treat your skin tone. In order to understand how these creams work, first let us discuss about the factors that determine the color/tone of your skin.

‘Melanin’ is the main variable that decides your color/tone of your skin. It is a pigment that is affected by the activity of tyrosinase (an enzyme). The more tyrosinase your epidermis produces the higher is the amount of melanin, and hence, a skin tone that appears to be darker. Some people are born with reddish or brownish hues, while others have a yellowish or pale skin tone. The skin tone of a person is closely related to his/her genes and his/her skin’s reaction to direct sunlight. Therefore, the main role of skin lightening products is to suppress the activity of the enzyme tyrosinase, even though most of these creams have exfoliating properties as well that can give you a smoother, fresher and younger looking skin!

Let’s have a look at the ‘Benefits of Skin Lightener Creams’

1. Gradual Results

In order to generate real and visible results the skin lightning creams may require several weeks of regular application, although, severely discolored skin may take about 10-12 months to improve completely. Those who prefer immediate results may find this kind of treatment a little slow. But it is due the slow nature of this treatment that helps make it possible for the treated patch of the skin to exactly match the tone of the surrounding skin as compared to the harsher procedures involving chemicals such as laser and dermabrasion. Laser treatments and dermabrasion may lead to over-lightening of the skin which is not the case with skin lightener creams.

2. Can Be Purchased Over-the-Counter

Skin lightener creams can be purchased over-the-counter as well as by prescription. There are several non-prescription lotions and creams available in the market to choose from. In order to obtain a prescription version one needs to visit the dermatologist at least once, and the process may also involve a few tests. The non-prescription versions are comparatively affordable, making it easy for you to experiment as well as to compare. You can shop for the cream online as it will cost you less and there will be a wide variety to choose from! Over-the-counter skin lightening/brightening creams are simple to use, result-oriented, hassle-free and easy on the pocket, all at the same time.

3. Variety of Ingredients

Not all skin lightening creams will have the same effect on all skin types. But there is a wide variety of ingredients (active) in these products that suit most of the skin types. ‘Hydroquinone’ is the most popular ingredient dominating the ‘skin tone lightening’ market. However, in very few users it may worsen the dark spots, cause blemishes or irritation, but that’s very rare. Other effective and common ingredients include tretinoin, vitamin C, retinol, dithiaoctanediol, beta carotene and a few botanical extracts such as licorice extract, mitracarpus scaber extract and uva ursi leaf extract. All of these ingredients help the skin to get back its natural tone and lustre.

4. No Recovery Time

Skin lightening creams are made in such a manner that they can be used several times per week, at times, more than once in a day, and are to be applied just as you apply any other cream or lotion! This means that there is no need for the recovery time and there is no tenderness associated with every treatment, unlike a few other skin lightening treatments which happen to be more invasive (such as microdermabrasion, dermabrasion and laser therapy). Obviously, these invasive and harsh treatments are stressful to the skin, requiring bandaging, avoiding going out in the sun, applying medicines to heal the skin, etc.

But, is it safe to use Skin Lightener Creams?

As long as you use the appropriate lightener cream for your skin type, you will not have to face any side-effects and you might also be pleasantly surprised by the results you see after a few weeks! Dermatologists, in general, advice against the skin lightening creams, as these creams may contain some chemical ingredients. However, it is to be noted that a prolonged use of any such cream or lotion can interfere with the protective role of melanin which may further lead to complications. Nonetheless, certain skin problems do not cure easily. Hence, it is advised that you consult your skincare expert/dermatologist for a product recommendation.

How to use Skin Lightener Creams?

The proper usage of the skin lightening products is very critical. As no two products are made from the same ingredients, we suggest that you read the instructions carefully. This is especially important if you have purchased an over-the-counter product.

– Apply the cream directly to the dark area of the skin. If the dark areas are widespread use a product that is designed for large areas. For small areas use a cotton swab if needed.

– Protect your skin from direct sunlight at all times! Sun exposure causes further damage and can even darken the dark areas and you don’t want that to happen! You will most likely have to wear a strong SPF during the day time.

– Be regular in your applications. Understand that skin lightening with the help of creams is not a one-time procedure. It can require many applications, depending on the condition of your skin. As discussed above, it may require a few weeks of time to have visible results.

– Strictly follow all direction when using such treatment creams. Read all possible warnings and side-effects before application.

– Do a patch test in an inconspicuous area to see if your skin reacts adversely to the product. It may take up to 24 hours to see any reaction.

Skin lightener creams not just help make your skin a few shades lighter/brighter but they also help eliminate hyperpigmentation including – birthmarks, freckles, dark knees and inner elbows, sun spots, age spots, acne scars, liver spots, melasma, chloasma, old scars, senile lentigines, etc. Take note that the effects may vary from person to person. If you are okay with being a little patient and trying out a non-invasive method of skin lightening and brightening, then you might want to buy a skin lightener cream.

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