Do Skin Lightening Creams Work?

how skin lightening creams work
how skin lightening creams work

Nearly 90% of visible aging is attributed to sustained damage from the sun, claims the Skin Cancer Foundation. Wrinkles and sunspots are big concerns for both men and women. While they typically show up in people’s 30s or 40s, some adults find that sunspots showed up in their 20s instead. No one can go back in time and reverse the sun damage their skin has endured, but there are a few things a person can start doing now to improve the appearance of their skin. If you are self conscious about the dark spots that have been appearing on your skin as you age, there are possible solutions out there. Skin lightening creams have been shown to lessen the appearance of the dark areas. If you are curious how skin lightening creams work, and whether this treatment is the best available option for you, research the ingredients of over the counter creams. And, as always, consult with a dermatologist if you are unsure if a particular treatment can work for you.

What Products Can Someone Use to Improve Dark Spots On Their Skin?

There have been numerous brands producing a cream for lighter skin over the years, however the term is something of a misnomer. The cream is not actually making someone’s entire face a few shades lighter. The purpose of the cream is to diminish the appearance of spots from hyper-pigmentation, which are often cited as a feature that may cause the person to feel less confident in general.

What Actually Is a Cream for Lighter Skin?

Creams for lighter skin are also known as skin whitening products, skin bleach, and sometimes will even be called natural skin lightening techniques. The aim of the product is the same, although the actual results will vary depending on a few factors. These variables are: the size of the spot, the length of time the person has had the discoloration, and the degree of difference between the person’s skin tone and the color of the hyper-pigmentation. Lightening creams are meant for reducing small areas of discoloration on the face. They are not meant to lighten broad areas of skin on the body.

Who Would Want a Cream for Lighter Skin?

Hyper-pigmentation can result from freckles, sun damage, and acne scars. In fact, more than 40% of people end up with some acne scars by the time they are in their mid-teens. Although it is universally discouraged, many people try to get rid of acne blemishes by forcing it. This causes bruising of the skin, resulting in the scar. Some women even experience discoloration related to hormones, such as in pregnancy. Between 50 to 70% of pregnant women find that their skin becomes discolored to some degree from the rampant hormones required during pregnancy. Some hyper-pigmentation will disappear within a few weeks once the baby is born, but many women find that their skin is forever changed.

How a Cream For Lighter Skin Works.

You may be wondering how skin lightening creams work. Skin lightening creams work by reducing the amount of melanin in the skin. Everyone has some degree of melanin in their skin which is what gives the skin its tone. There are many different types of ingredients that can potentially lighten discoloration in the skin. One common ingredient in skin lightening creams is hydroquinone. According to site WebMD, the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, regulates the use of hydroquinone in over-the-counter, OTC, products to 2% or less. To use a stronger dose, such as 4 to 6%, requires the sign-off of a dermatologist. 

Some creams for lighter skin use Vitamin A or retinol. For products that espouse natural techniques, the cream might contain kojic acid, which is derived from a type of fungus. The potential problem with using some of these ingredients is sensitivity. Some users may find that over time, their skin develops a sensitivity to the cream and they must stop its usage. Usually, the effects of the cream stop when it is not applied. This is good news for those people who have a reaction, and bad for those people who need constant application in reducing discoloration.

If you have dark spots or areas on your skin and have been looking for some kind of relief, you may be considering skin lightening creams. But before you do, it’s important to know how skin lightening creams work. Some skin types may not be able to handle the chemicals that are in some creams. It is always a good idea to run a little of the cream on your hand and wait 24 hours. If after a full day there are no side effects, like a rash or some other form of dermatitis, then the skin lightening cream should work for you.

The skincare industry is jam-packed with products at every price point. There are creams, lotions, and toners that claim to fix a plethora of issues. Many of these products do produce a result of some sort. However, it is always a good idea to consult your dermatologist about any skin concerns you might have. In the meantime, remember to wear your sunscreen everyday to prevent the future damage. Doing so may save your skin from some causes of hyper-pigmentation. For all others, there might be a good skin lightening cream out there for you.