It’s safe to say that most people want a clear and bright complexion. However, thanks to stress, sun exposure, environmental toxins, and even pregnancy, our skin tone can become uneven and develop age spots and hyperpigmentation over the years. This, of course, is not ideal for most men and women.
The good news is that there are things you can do to erase these imperfections and give your skin its youthful glow again. In this article, we asked some experts to spill their best skin lightening tips and tricks for whitening and brightening the skin on your face.
Skin Whitening vs. Skin Brightening
First things first, although some people use the terms interchangeably, whitening skin and brightening or lightening skin are not the same things. According to Dr. Yelena Deshko, ND, founder of Timeless Health Clinic in downtown Toronto, skin whitening is when men and women undergo treatment that dramatically changes their overall skin tone. So, what is skin lightening? Also, called skin brightening, skin lightening is when people undergo a subtle change in skin color that is perceived as more of a glow.
When it comes to face and body whitening, there aren’t many safe treatments out there. One popular option among men and women that Dr. Deshko points out is an ingredient called hydroquinone found in some skin-lightening products. She explains that hydroquinone is used to treat stubborn melasma and pigmentation. Although it is said to be effective, it does come with some risks and should only be used under medical supervision. In some cases, skin lighteners with hydroquinone can cause side effects like itching, redness, and burning. In more severe instances, it can lead to permanent changes in skin color such as blue or black discoloration.
In short, the best and safest way to give your face and body that luminous glow is to use skin brightening treatments and practices instead. Here are some expert-recommended ones to try:
7 Skin Brightening Treatments and Rituals
In order to keep your skin looking bright and refreshed, Dr. Marisa Garshick, a dermatologist based in the United States, recommends exfoliating your face and body with a natural soap or polishing powder at least one to two times per week to remove dead skin cells. “I recommend avoiding harsh scrubs and fragranced soap as those that can be irritating and worse for the skin,” she says. “Instead, you can try a polishing powder which gently eliminates dead skin cells without aggravating the skin.”
If you want to keep things more natural, Adina Mahalli, a hair and skincare expert at Maple Holistics, recommends using a sugar and honey exfoliant. “Sugar is a natural humectant, meaning it draws in moisture and locks it into place to keep your skin hydrated,” she says adding that sugar’s high concentration of glycolic acid also helps promote cell turnover. “Honey has been used for centuries for its natural healing properties. It softens the skin, lowers inflammation, and leaves the skin glowing.” The best part? The ingredients to make these natural products are probably already in your pantry.
2. Wear Sunscreen
We know that prevention is also key when it comes to keeping your skin light and luminous which is why it’s so important to wear sunscreen every day to prevent skin damage from the sun’s UV rays and from blue light. “We know that UV rays can lead to brown spots and changes in skin texture which can leave some areas of the skin looking dull,” Dr. Garshick says.
Dr. Deshko also notes that it’s especially important to wear a sunscreen product daily when you’re also using other skin brightening products in order to prevent an increase in melanin and to preserve the results of your labor (Melanin, which is produced from melanocytes, is the pigment that gives our skin its natural color.) So be sure to slather on the SPF before you walk out the door every morning. Your skin will thank you for it.
3. Use Retinol or Retinoid
Dr. Garshick recommends people use retinol and retinoid to help with regular skin turnover. “It helps to bring new cells to the surface,” she says. “It also helps to even out skin tone which helps leave the skin glowing.”
4. Get In-Office Beauty Treatments
If you want to seek the help of a professional to brighten your skin, there are some in-office beauty treatments that can help. “Chemicals peels or laser resurfacing can also help to brighten the skin by eliminating dead skin cells and causing new cells to come to the surface, giving the skin a brighter appearance,” Dr. Garshick says. (More on this below!)
5. Do Glutathione IV Infusions
Glutathione IV Infusions are another in-office treatment that has gained popularity in recent years as they help you achieve brighter, more even skin tones. “Glutathione is an antioxidant naturally found in the human body,” Dr. Deshko says. “This hardworking molecule acts as a major antioxidant, free radical scavenger, and an essential component of liver detoxification. Glutathione works naturally with your body to promote a brighter skin tone by inhibiting the production of melanocytes, and of course, the pigment melanin, thereby reducing the concentration of pigmentation in the skin.”
Although Dr. Deshko says the injections are generally safe to use, she recommends being mindful of where you go to get them done. She says “When considering IV glutathione injections, you want to ensure that you are visiting a reputable clinic that has a doctor on-site at all times,”. She also added, “It is important to ask where the glutathione is sourced as there are contaminated and ineffective products sold online or in many countries.” Some of these contaminated products include harmful metals and toxins like hydroquinone, mercury, and other bleaching agents.
6. Take Vitamin C
Dr. Deshko says vitamin C is another powerful skin-brightening ingredient. It is, therefore, a great ingredient to incorporate into your skincare routine. Although topical solutions might create some temporary change in the look of your skin, they don’t get to the root of the problem.
That’s why, long-term, taking this powerful vitamin internally can be even more beneficial for the skin on both your face and body.
7. Take Supplements with Glutathione and Grape Seed Extract
One customer said: “I can’t live without using this product anymore! This will forever be a part of my health and beauty regimen. I’ve been using this for seven months now, and the results are just so undeniably effective in so many ways. I feel so young and look young!”
So if you have age spots, uneven skin tone, or hyperpigmentation that you want to get rid of, consider Taut Bright your new BFF, and the best skin lightening treatment available! All you have to do is take two capsules a day. We recommend taking them for at least two months to see major results.
So whether you implement skin brightening rituals such as exfoliating and wearing sunscreen, go get an in-office treatment like glutathione IV infusions, or want to take matters into your own hands with beauty products like Taut Bright, you can expect whiter and brighter skin in no time.
The Low-Down on Skin Lightening Products & Procedures
While the tips above will help you maintain a bright and flawless complexion, this article is going to delve a little deeper into some of the skin-lightening treatments available to you so that you can make a well-informed decision.
Facial Skin Lightening & Skin Bleaching Creams
Looking to achieve a lighter, brighter complexion? Today, there are a wealth of face lightening and skin bleaching creams available to choose from that work by reducing the production and concentration of melanin in the skin. But, not all of these products are made the same. Let’s take a closer look:
Prescription Vs. Non-Prescriptions Skin Lightening Creams
If you’re looking for a powerful skin-lightening cream that will help you reduce dark spots quickly, your doctor may be able to prescribe a bleaching cream to you.
These prescription skin lightening creams are extremely strong and often contain potent levels of ingredients such as hydroquinone and corticosteroids like hydrocortisone which work by reducing melanin production. Needless to say that this type of cream that reduces melanin production can be extremely toxic to the skin on your face and body so make sure to read the product’s label before jumping in head first! And, of course, only ever use the minimum amount listed on the bottle or prescribed to you by your doctor or dermatologist.
Alternatively, if you don’t feel your skin warrants a visit to the doctors quite yet, there are a wealth of skin lighteners to choose from online from different countries as well as products at your local pharmacy that work on both light and dark skin tones.
While many of the latest skin lightening creams contain natural ingredients that are gentle to the skin, it’s important that you always check the labels on your products before use.
Some of these non-prescriptions, melanin-inhibiting skin bleaching creams and skin lighteners contain high levels of hydroquinone, corticosteroid, mercury, and potent bleaching agents. You’re probably thinking “if my doctor would prescribe this to me, why can’t I just buy beauty products with these ingredients online?”
The truth is, over-the-counter skin whitening and skin bleaching products containing these ingredients can cause serious side effects. With this in mind, it’s important that you consult with your health practitioner before applying them to your face and body.
How to Use Skin Bleaching Creams & Skin Lighteners
If you get your skin bleaching cream from your doctor, they will give you a detailed explanation on how to use it. They’ll also tell you how much to apply and when in order to reduce the risk of you experiencing any side effects.
Some common and helpful tips for applying skin lightening creams include:
- Use the minimum amount listed on the product.
- Only apply your product to the darkened areas.
- Avoid contact with your eyes, mouth, and nose.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with gentle soap after every application.
- Avoid touching other people with the area where you applied your cream for a few hours.
- Apply sunscreen to prevent further darkening and the aggravating effects of UV rays.
Last but not least, make sure to follow the instructions given to you by your doctor and those listed on your product label. And, of course, remember that over-the-counter and prescription products are very different. Despite the fact that some people apply these solutions to their entire body, it’s imperative that you follow your doctor’s guidance.
The Potential Risks & Side Effects of Skin Bleaching Creams
While you may achieve the results you’ve been looking for, many people experience unwanted side effects when using these chemical-based skin-lightening creams.
One risk that many are becoming more and more concerned about is mercury poisoning. Mercury is a common issue among skin-lightening creams. This is because mercury is a heavy metal that is toxic and can have the opposite effect when used in high doses. That’s right, mercury can actually turn your skin darker! It can also thin the skin and make it too light in some cases. Moreover, mercury can increase the visibility of blood vessels in the skin and cause scarring in severe cases.
But, mercury doesn’t just stop at the skin either!
Prolonged use of mercury-based products can lead to mercury poisoning which can cause kidney and liver damage. Mercury can also cause abnormalities in newborn babies when used during pregnancy. This is because mercury can pass through the mother to the unborn child.
Other possible side effects of skin bleaching products include:
- Discomfort, burning or stinging
- Dry, flaky, and itchy skin
- Skin irritation, redness, and swelling
Laser Skin Lightening
A popular alternative to skin-lightening creams is laser treatments. This skin-lightening treatment works by breaking down the cells that produce melanin to remove the dark area. But, laser face and body lightening doesn’t work for everyone. Let’s take a closer look at what this procedure entails and the risks associated with it.
What Does Laser Skin Lightening Involve?
So, you’re ready to lighten and brighten your skin and get rid of those pesky dark patches that have been causing you issues. But, before you jump in head first, it’s important to know that your dermatologist will test a small area of your skin prior to the procedure. This is because of two reasons:
- Skin lightening with laser therapy doesn’t work on all skin types.
- You may experience adverse side effects.
If you’ve had your patch test done and it all turned out great, you’ll be able to go through with the procedure a few weeks later.
Each session will last approximately 30 to 60 minutes during which time a small handheld laser will be passed across your skin. It’ll feel like someone is snapping a rubber band against your skin over and over again.
The Recovery Process
While you can go home straight after the procedure, it’s worth mentioning that recovery can take anywhere between one and two weeks. The treatment area may be quite red and swollen so you may want to consider taking a few days off work until the appearance of your skin improves.
Results can take time but, over the next couple of weeks, your skin tone should become lighter. This lighter skin will be more sensitive to the sun for approximately six months after the procedure.
With laser skin lightening, it’s important that you take care of the treatment area to avoid any complications and to achieve the lighter skin color you’ve been dreaming of. Here are some self-care tips:
- Keep the treatment area clean
- Use unperfumed soaps that are free of chemicals
- Dab your skin dry rather than rubbing it
- Soothe the area regularly using aloe vera gel
- Do not remove scabs
- To reduce swelling, apply an ice pack
- Use sun protection every time you leave the house if the area is exposed to UV rays
Side Effects & Risks of Laser Skin Lightening
Laser skin lightening is a somewhat invasive procedure that can come with its own set of unique side effects. the majority of people experience redness, bruising, blistering, scabs, and swelling.
In more severe cases, where either the treatment area hasn’t been looked after or the physician did not have adequate experience, serious complications can occur. Some of these include skin infections, scarring, and the treatment area going darker or becoming too light.
It’s also worth noting that while laser skin lightening works for some people, it may not have any effect on others. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to discuss all of your skin bleaching treatment options with your dermatologist or physician before opting for any procedure to ensure that you achieve the glowing complexion that you’ve been dreaming of. This is especially true if you have a dark skin tone as you naturally have more melanin in your skin.
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