Hyperpigmentation? dark spots? Freckles out of control? All women, regardless of age or skin condition, want to achieve flawless radiant skin and minimize the use of colored foundations. Is there a magic potion?
Many brands targeting especially the African, Indian and Southeast Asian markets, offer products sold as an effective solution to achieve lighter skin - is this really possible?
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about:
• What is the difference between Whitening, Bleaching, Lightening, and Brightening skincare ingredients
• How do they work
• Are there are side effects for long term use of these ingredients
• Which ingredients are safe and effective
DEFINITION OF WHITENING, BLEACHING, LIGHTENING, AND BRIGHTENING
Whitening, Bleaching, Lightening or Brightening treatments - they sound quite similar, but they are and have quite different effects on the skin. Let's try to define what they actually do.
Skin whitening, lightening, bleaching products lighten the skin beyond its natural tone.
Skin brightening products restore the natural skin tone and make the skin softer and smoother.
WHITENING, LIGHTENING, BLEACHING SKINCARE
Skin whitening, lightening, and bleaching skincare products are formulated with synthetic active ingredients in an attempt to lighten the skin beyond its natural tone and provide an even skin color, with or without skin dark spots; they work by slowing down the production of Melanin.
Some synthetic ingredients have been shown to be moderately effective in skin whitening, while some have proven to be semi-toxic or with undesirable side effects such as over-drying and skin irritation. By slowing down the natural production of Melanin, the protective pigment in the skin that blocks UV radiation from damaging DNA and potentially causing skin cancer, and the skin is depleted of the natural protection essential for its healthy functioning.
Synthetic ingredients used in whitening skincare that are considered semi-toxic, very powerful or debatable are:
Hydroquinone (banned in the EU), Tretinoin, Corticosteroids
The use of skin whitening products should be discussed with a dermatologist as the side effects may be quite substantial. Whitening products are best used for a limited period of time.
Prescription whitening creams generally contain hydroquinone and corticosteroids - luckily Mercury, a well known toxic substance used for many years, is banned.
Brightening ingredients work by inhibiting tyrosinase (an enzyme responsible for the production of Melanin), essentially stopping it from overproducing Melanin in case of excessive sun exposure or with hormonal skin.
Brightening hyperpigmented and delicate skin is possible with gentle and natural ingredients. The goal is not to bleach your skin, but to fade out unwanted hyperpigmentation and blemishes by inhibiting melanin, which gives your skin its color.
Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin that occurs when an excess of melanin forms deposits in our skin as a protective reaction to UV exposure or hormonal unbalance. Hyperpigmentation is harmless, just aesthetically unpleasant.
Natural and naturally derived ingredients used in brightening skincare that are considered safe are:
Arbutin, Niaminacide (Vit B3), Vitamin C, Konjic acid, Azelaic acid, AHA's, Citrus extracts, Licorice extract, Bearberry extract, Glutathione, Fragonia essential oil.
Finally, 3 facts that can help you understand if the next product you are planning to purchase can really deliver results.
FACT 1 - WHITENING OR BRIGHTENING PRODUCTS WILL CLARIFY AND LIGHTEN YOUR SKIN TEMPORARILY.
Even if your skin is regularly nourished, hydrated and treated with targeted treatments, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, age spots may affect all of us at some points, intensified by genetics, lifestyle, and ethnicity. Applying skincare with strong active ingredients is a temporary fix, not a long-term solution.
FACT 2 - HORMONAL SKIN FLUCTUATIONS CAN INCREASE HYPERPIGMENTATION.
Dryness, excessive sebum production, breakouts caused by hormonal fluctuations can unbalance the natural production of Melamin, our skin protective pigment.
FACT 3 - FRECKLES CAN'T BE LIGHTENED DRAMATICALLY WITH TARGETED SKINCARE.
Freckles develop and increase as a result of the combination of genetic predisposition and sun exposure. A good sunscreen may be the best prevention rather than brightening or even lightening products.
Native Essentials brightening wonder natural ingredients are: