When people hear the name skin whitening cream, they think of bleaching. Well, that’s just its basic function. It can actually help with so many other skin issues.
In this buying guide, you will learn what a skin whitening cream really is. It will help you decide if this is what you need and which you should go for.
Skin Whitening Cream: How Does It Work?
The skin has melanin, which is the agent that gives it color. For some, the presence of melanin is low while for others, it is high.
The more melanin your skin contains, the darker your skin will be. This makes it the determinant of our skin color, as well as the sun and age spot on our skins.
Melanin levels can be increased or reduced. One of the most popular ways to increase melanin level is by tanning. And one way to reduce melanin level is through the use of a skin whitening cream.
When a whitening cream is applied, it simply reduces the melanin level by inhibiting its production. The skin is constantly replaced and if the melanin isn’t sufficient for the new skin, it gets lighter.
However, patience is required when it comes to getting the results from a skin whitening cream. Some products take weeks before visible signs are seen while others can even take months.
Skin Whitening Cream: Its Uses
Age spots, hormone-related discoloration, acne and sun spots are some issues that a skin whitening cream can handle.
It can also be used to whiten specific body parts that are differently colored from others.
The Ingredient Called Hydroquinone
The effectiveness of hydroquinone when it comes to lightening the skin is second to none. However, there are some implications attached to it.
Hydroquinone is an ingredient that is usually found in prescription whitening creams. This is due to its side effects.
During studies using rodents, possible symptoms of cancer was observed. Ochronosis, a condition that causes the thickening and darkening of the skin has also been associated with hydroquinone usage.
Regulatory bodies have restricted its use except by prescription. Despite this restriction, some skin whitening products still contain hydroquinone in a concentration of about 2%. And they are still sold without prescription.
If a product contains a concentration of about 4% hydroquinone, then it must be used according to prescription. Don’t use a product that has a concentration higher than that without prescription.
Hydroquinone may look like the ultimate skin whitening ingredient but there are healthier alternatives to it. These ingredients offer more risk-free potentials and can easily be accessed.
Safer Alternatives to Hydroquinone
Below are some alternatives to hydroquinone which are not less effective…
This ingredient traces its root back to Asia and is produced by several types of fungi. Kojic acid primarily helps to fight different kinds of pigmentation and age spots.
It is gotten from the bearberry plant and is a glycoside. This ingredient has the simple function of hindering melanin production in the skin. And it is skin-friendly, safe and a natural ingredient.
Rice Bran Protein
Remember a skin whitening cream generally brings about whitening of unusually dark areas? One of such skin issues are dark-circles which rice bran protein combats effectively.
It causes the skin’s color to blend and whitens it as well
This wonderful extract serves as an exfoliator and the result is a glowing skin complexion.
It reduces melanin levels by attacking it head on and this, in turn, makes the skin lighter.
It is an anti-inflammatory agent that can tone your skin in addition to lessening the visibility of blemishes and scars.
It has the ability to work directly on reducing the production of melanin which will cause the skin to be whitened. It also prevents acne and is generally a great skincare ingredient.
This ingredient whitens the skin. But it performs other functions like speeding up cell production and preventing the development of bacteria.
This ingredient helps reduce the appearance of age spots.
Tego Cosmo C
Tego Cosmo C is a derivative of amino acid and is capable of maintaining the skin’s pH level. Apart from that, it can also whiten the skin as it contains skin whitening properties.
Other names for niacinamide are nicotinic acid or Vitamin B3. Popularly used as an anti-aging ingredient, niacinamide also invigorates and moisturizes your skin.
The wrinkles on the face can contribute to the darker-looking skin complexion. Argireline solves this issue by relaxing and straightening wrinkles on the face.
It counters dryness and moisturizes your skin by locking in moisture and nourishing it.
Evening Primrose Oil
A skin whitening cream most times makes the skin dry. But just like shea butter, evening primrose oil can counter this dryness. It achieves this by effectively moisturizing your skin.
This is another moisturizing agent that battles wrinkles and enhances skin cell production. Faster production of cells is important because there is a reduced chance of melanin production.
It has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which aid the production of skin cells. It acts much like allantoin.
Vitamin A is a well-known skincare ingredient. It is capable of stopping acne and restoring the skin’s shining complexion. One important function it has is its ability to protect from UV rays. We will discuss more about that as we go on.
Aging is one factor that causes skin to lose its glow. Aloe vera in your skin whitening cream deals with fine lines and wrinkles. It also treats skin irritations with its healing properties.
Some other alternatives are: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Rose distillate, Orange extracts, Barberry extract, Glycolic acid, Azelaic acid, Retinoids/retinol, Green tea. A few others are chestnut seed extract, Octisalate, Emblica extract, Mulberry extract.
Ingredients to Avoid
Other ingredients to avoid, apart from non-prescription hydroquinone, include mercury, artificial colors and steroids.
Products that contain these ingredients will burn and damage your skin as you use them continuously. Some of them also can cause skin cancer.
Other Issues to Consider When Buying a Skin Whitening Cream
There are lots of stories about skin damage from using a skin whitening cream. How can this be remedied? One way is to ensure the product you intend to buy has stood the test of time.
It is not recommended to buy new products except their manufacturing brands are trusted ones.
Reading the reviews on the cream of your choice will enable you discover its pros and cons.
Visit the manufacturing brand’s website and read up on the product. If there is no platform on the brand’s site for this, you may need to tread cautiously. Every trustworthy brand would have a platform for customers to express themselves.
The effect of skin whitening creams can be quite obvious. And if things don’t go well, it’s important to know you can easily reach someone from the company.
Even before making a purchase, contacting the brand may lend credence to the product.
Exposure to Sun
You must be wary of the sun if you intend to whiten your skin. This is because it can cause an increase in the melanin level of your skin. The effect will be darker skin and this is counterproductive.
You also need to be careful of the sun’s UV rays as well while whitening your skin. This is because a lighter skin won’t give you adequate protection from the sun’s UV rays. The darker the skin is, the more protected it is from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
We also recommend you get a sunscreen to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays. This is especially necessary when you begin the skin whitening process. Your sunscreen must have an SPF value of about 30.
In addition, you should wear protective clothing whenever you are going out. Hats and sunglasses can be really helpful.
Choosing the Perfect Skin Whitening Cream
i. Choose a skin whitening cream that is suitable for the body part you want to whiten. Do you have vitiligo or hyper-pigmentation in certain areas?
ii. Choose one based on the purpose you intend using it for. Do you want to lighten your entire skin or just certain parts?
Tips When Using a Skin Whitening Cream
i. The use of an exfoliator with your skin whitening cream will enable you to achieve your goal faster.
ii. Ensure that your skin whitening cream is one that can be properly absorbed into your skin.
iii. Always wash and cleanse your skin before applying the cream.
iv. Don’t expose your skin to the sun immediately after applying the cream.
v. If you discover any form of skin irritation while using any product, discontinue using it immediately.
vi. Make sure you moisturize well after using the whitening cream. This is very necessary since it has the potential of causing skin dryness.
vii. Use the whitening cream as instructed. If you are to use it for a specific period of time, don’t exceed it. Failure to do so might result in some unpleasant side-effects.
What has been your experience with skin whitening creams? Share with us.