Some lucky people have evenly colored skin without blemishes or discolored areas. For the rest of us there are blemishes such as acne scars, dark spots or discoloration of the skin (commonly caused by hormones such as during pregnancy). Good news is that there is something you can do about it.
These work primarily by reducing specialized cells called melanocytes. While your body may produce too many melanocytes other factors do play a part as well. Genetics has the most impact, in other words; you inherit your skin tone. Sun exposure, hormones, skin damage and exposure to some chemicals may cause the skin to darken. Most lightening creams work by blocking some element of the melanin production. Usually, this element will be tyrosinase.
What Not to Look For In A Lightening Cream
First let’s look at what you do not want. Some lightening creams can contain dangerous chemicals such as mercury. While mercury is banned in the US, it is still obtainable in creams from overseas. Never use a product with mercury. It can lead to neurological deficits as well as kidney problems. Especially never use mercury while pregnant as it can pass the blood barrier and damage the child. It could even cause fetal death.
Next is hydroquinone, this chemical is legal in the US but has been banned in Europe, though it’s allowed now with a doctor’s prescription. The problem is that some research has found it to be carcinogenic in mice. It should be avoided. However, since it’s effective and not banned some people still choose to use it. If so try to make sure that it’s only 2% of the cream. A 4% solution is available under a doctor’s prescription. You should also avoid creams containing steroids.
What Do I Want In A Brightening Cream?
Non-toxic creams are widely available, however, be prepared to pay for them as they cost more. This higher cost is because the ingredients are more expensive. Here is a list of good whitening lotions that contain only natural ingredients and have received some positive reviews. Generally, what you do want to find in your cream can include:
- Vitamin E Oil-an antioxidant
- Vitamin B that increases the skin’s elasticity
- Licorice is known to reduce skin pigmentation
- Glycolic and salicylic acid both of which will remove spots and can lighten skin color
- Vitamin C also lightens skin
- Alpha Hydroxy, which exfoliates and can sometimes help, lighten dark spots.
How to apply it
First know your skin type. For example, some creams are designed for oily skin or olive skin. Be sure to choose one made specifically for your skin type and if possible skin color. One quick warning most lightening creams are not designed to be used all over the body. If you want all over body lightening, you should talk with a doctor.
Be sure to choose a cream that was designed for certain body areas such as face or chest.Next do what nurses call a patch test. Choose an area that isn’t visible to others such as behind the ear or the fold of the elbow. Apply a small amount of cream and wait 48 hours. If you have no burning or rash, then the cream is safe for you to use.
Now directly apply the cream to the area to lightened, even on top of scars or other blemishes. Do not get it in areas that are already the right color as it will also bleach those areas. Always remove all makeup and moisturizers before applying.
Follow directions as given by the product. Some creams are to be left on to dry; others need to be washed off. Always leave the cream on no longer than the instructions say to do so. This extra exposure can cause a new darkening of the area. Most products state that they are to be used two times a day.
Always apply moisturizer after removing or drying. These products often cause dry skin.Never use your cream on areas that are being treated for acne or other conditions. Doing so could cause a drug interaction.
If you must go outside apply an SPF 30 sunscreen so that the sun doesn’t affect skin color. Most of all don’t give up. It often takes up to three months to get the desired results.
It’s nice to know that issues with skin tone can be corrected. In some cases, even birthmarks can be so lightened that they aren’t noticeable. So help your skin tone be as beautiful as it was meant to be.