The dark color of the skin occurs due to melanin. This is why all skin whitening products try to contain melanin concentration in the body. Skin whitening methods can also help to achieve an even and smooth skin tone all over the body. Following are some safe methods of skin whitening.
What Are The Methods of Skin Whitening?
Common Chemical Treatments
Hydroquinone This is the most commonly used melanin inhibitor used in cosmetic products and has antioxidant effects on the skin. 2% hydroquinone can be easily obtained and concentrations of 4% and above need a prescription.
Arbutin Arbutin is found in natural alternatives to hydroquinone and, in its pure form, it is considered to be extremely effective. Some sources include pears, blueberry shrubs, mulberry, cranberry and bearberry. It is found in two isomers – alpha Arbutin and beta Arbutin. When it comes to skin lightening, better stability is offered by alpha as compared to beta. Research shows that Arbutin is pretty effective in skin lightening.
Kojic Acid This skin lightening agent is found during the manufacture of Japanese rice wine (Sake). In cosmetics, however, it is not as effective in skin lightening as other options since it loses its efficacy when exposed to sunlight.
Azelaic Acid Barley, rye, wheat and various other grains contain this acid. Apart from skin lightening properties, Azelaic acid is also effective against acne.
Vitamin C Vitamin C, in its cosmetic and natural form, is an effective skin lightening agent. Many natural and home remedies for skin lightening make use of Vitamin C rich foods like lemons.
Glutathione For lightening the skin using cosmetic preparations, Glutathione skin whitening treatments are considered to the best and are also becoming pretty common. Skin whitening is a side effect of using Glutathione in large quantities. Using melanogenesis, skin whitening is achieved by this molecule which is found in various mammals. According to a study, it does not only inhibit melanin production but also prevents its agglutination. Because of its antioxidant properties, it protects the skin from UV damage and hyperpigmentation causing free radicals in the skin, as per a study. It was observed that as glutathione levels depleted in the body, brown-black pigment of skin was found.
Laser Treatment Non-ablative and ablative lasers have been effective against some forms of melasma. It also treats signs of ageing on the skin like wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, et al. Laser treatment is effective against acne scars as well.
Pills Glutathione is the most common ingredient found in skin whitening pills. Since the side effect of this chemical is skin whitening, most pills add high concentrations of Glutathione to achieve a lighter skin tone. Being pretty effective and stable in cosmetic treatments, Glutathione skin whitening pills are easily available. Glutathione lozenge has recently been introduced which melts in the mouth and is absorbed by cheeks and gums. However, larger quantities are needed for this method to be effective since a lot of the chemical gets destroyed in the process of digestion.
Creams For skin whitening creams too, Glutathione is the most popular choice. The creams come with properties (like anti-ageing, scar lightening, et al) added to them to give numerous benefits at once. It is always recommended that these creams should not be applied more than once a day.
Soaps Soaps and skin whitening are a flourishing industry because they are cheap and work as supplements to creams or pills. Glutathione skin whitening soaps are extremely popular and Kojic acid is also used for the same.
Injections This mode provides a more permanent skin whitening solution. These days, combination treatments are used in injections. Glutathione is the main component and Vitamin C is also used in conjunction with it. It is always advised to look for reputable dermatologists while getting Glutathione injections.
Skin Bleaching Skin bleaching is an instant way to get lighter skin. Many regular sessions are needed to maintain the effect but the cost is higher than certain other options.
Spray Most popular are Glutathione sprays which are more expensive than creams and soaps. However, because the body is better able to absorb the chemical, they are a lot more effective.
What is the Usual Outcome of A Whitening Process in Short or Long Term?
In case of certain instant methods (like bleaching), the outcomes are quick and instant, resulting in skin whitening. In case of laser skin whitening too, the results are quick. However, when it comes to Glutathione pills, soaps and creams, it can take some time (up to 6 months) for the effects to show. Glutathione injections are quicker, though.
What Are The Side Effects and Drawbacks Of Skin Whitening?
Often, high doses of creams can lead to problems like skin irritation. Laser treatments have been known to cause uneven and inconsistent results. In large doses, studies show Kojic acid to be a carcinogen and skin irritant. There are some dangerous side effects of combining Glutathione with monobenzone and hydroquinone. Asthma symptoms can be worsened by inhaling Glutathione. Also, it is always best to consult a doctor before taking Glutathione during pregnancy or breast feeding.
By Eszter Hazai, PhD Google+