On the never-ending path to smoother, lighter skin, many challenges exist, including dark spots, freckles, acne scars, and an uneven skin tone.
Since the beginning, having light skin has been linked to beauty. As early as Japan's Nara Period (710–94), ladies powdered their faces white with a powder called oshiroi, demonstrating the desire for a lighter skin tone. The 21st century has brought about various skin-lightening solutions that are safe for long-term use, thanks to advances in science and medical research.
It's a good idea to understand the difference between skin lightening and skin whitening before purchasing these products to inform you of each method's advantages and risks. Once you know that, you may safely change your regular habits to stop your skin from becoming darker. The problem of darker skin tone and pigmentation may also be solved by understanding which skin-lightening ingredients are effective.
Skin Whitening vs. Skin Lightening: What's the Difference?
It could seem like "skin whitening" and "skin lightening" imply the same thing. These two terms' differences are extremely significant, as we will see later.
What Is Skin Lightening?
As the name indicates, skin lightening refers to the use of products or methods to make your skin tone lighter, as well as the color of acne scars, age spots, sun spots, and other imperfections. Usually, the transformation takes place gradually and over a longer time. To attain a lighter skin tone, skin lightening also entails the use of melanin-inhibiting materials, both natural and synthetic.
What Is Skin Whitening?
Comparatively speaking, skin whitening is a more harsh technique. It is synonymous with "skin bleaching," which entails changing your skin tone to noticeably whiter skin. To achieve this, melanin synthesis is often inhibited with whitening lotions that include bleaching chemicals like hydroquinone and mercury. Skin whitening is thought to be riskier than skin lightening since these substances have the potential to be harmful to the skin and may result in additional health issues.
Which Method is Better?
While skin whitening may lighten your skin tone more quickly, it is often not advised due to possible negative health effects. On the other hand, skin lightening is promoted as a safer alternative without negative side effects.
What Makes Your Skin Darken?
Most pigmentation problems are caused by melanin at its core. For instance, too much melanin is deposited in the dermis, causing sunspots and melasma. After the skin becomes inflamed, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) occurs when melanin is overproduced or distributed unevenly. Skin cells that contain melanin are what generate freckles, a genetically based normal condition.
It only makes sense to focus on reducing the production of melanin to lighten your skin and address these pigmentation problems. But just how is melanin made?
The Nature of Melanin Production
The pigment cells known as melanocytes in the skin's basal layer are responsible for producing melanin. The 36 keratinocytes surround each melanocyte to create the melanin unit. These keratinocytes get melanin once it has been created, which darkens the skin around them.
Age spots, freckles, melasma, acne scars, and even vitiligo are all brought on by abnormal melanin synthesis or transfer. A skin condition known as vitiligo causes the melanocytes to experience oxidative stress, resulting in skin pigment loss.
Tyrosinase is the most crucial enzyme required for the formation of melanin. L-tyrosine is changed into dopaquinone, which subsequently creates melanin, which is how it works. Tyrosinase-related proteins are additional enzymes involved in melanogenesis (TRP-1 and TRP-2).
Because of this, most lightening skincare solutions include components that block tyrosinase activity to lessen or stop melanin synthesis. These substances, such as alpha arbutin, could be synthetic. But more lately, natural chemicals like papaya extract and kojic acid have grown in prominence as less dangerous but still powerful skin lighteners.
How to Make Your Skin Lighter?
It's important to prevent your skin from becoming darker in the first place before lightening it. Use sunscreen, exfoliate often, and protect your skin from air pollutants. Since whitening your skin is often a lengthy procedure that you may prevent in the first place, prevention is key.
1. Use sunscreen
Most skin irregularities, including age spots, melasma, and PIH, may be worsened or started by extended UV exposure. Free radicals produced by UV radiation encourage the formation of melanin, which protects the skin from these damaging rays.
Because of this, UV exposure starts a vicious cycle. Increased sun exposure encourages the production of melanin, which results in darker skin. In addition to the potential for new age spots, freckles, or melasma flare-ups, existing hyperpigmentation may get darker.
As a result, to stop your skin from becoming darker in the first place, you should wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Your skin is still vulnerable to UVA radiation, even indoors, since they may enter via windows. This implies that you should use sunscreen on your face, body, neck, hands, and legs, whether inside or outside. When outdoors, you should also wear a hat and some sunglasses to further protect against UV-induced pigmentation.
2. Exfoliate Your Skin
The keratinocytes in the epidermis top layer are changed every four weeks. In other words, your skin is probably now covered in dead skin cells if you don't regularly exfoliate. Your skin will get duller, and your skin tone and imperfections will take longer to brighten.
Since keratinocytes express melanin, using physical and chemical exfoliants in your skincare regimen can help your skin lighten more quickly. Because of their mechanical actions, physical exfoliants target the top layer of the skin, making them excellent for problems with superficial discoloration.
Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), which brighten the skin, may be used in chemical peels to reach deeper layers of the dermis. It is thus perfect for treating more difficult blemishes. Chemical exfoliants are excellent for delicate skin types since they do not employ abrasive movements.
One product, the Clarify Face Mask from YORA, combines chemical and physical exfoliants. It incorporates bamboo beads and activated charcoal to gently exfoliate and pull out impurities without overly sensitizing your skin. Additionally, salicylic acid is used to completely cleanse your skin by penetrating the skin.
Instead, choose the Revitalise Face Polish if you like AHAs. It contains glycolic acid to unclog pores and exfoliate dead skin cells. To keep your skin supple and clean, moisturizing PENTAVITIN®, vitamin E, aloe, and jojoba seed oil are also included.
3. Use Skin-Lightening Products
It's time to go into what you can do to lighten your skin after taking the essential precautions to keep your current skin tone from becoming darker.
You really must include skin-lightening skincare products in your routine. Make sure at least one of these chemicals is included in the skin-lightening product you choose:
Azelaic acid: This well-known skin-care ingredient is excellent in lightening your skin without causing any negative skin issues. According to certain studies, 20% azelaic acid is just as efficient at treating melasma as 4% hydroquinone without the risks.
Arbutin: Bearberry, blueberry, cranberry, and pear trees all produce arbutin, which may be obtained from them. Arbutin is a powerful skin-lightening agent because it suppresses melanosomal tyrosinase activity, according to research from the Shiseido Research Center in Yokohama, Japan.
Bergamot: According to 2019 research in the Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, bergamot has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative qualities that aid in lessening and avoid oxidative stress on cells.
Kojic acid: The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel determined that using 2% kojic acid as a depigmenting component in cosmetics is safe.
Lactic acid: A 2014 clinical trial by the Shri Ram Murti Smarak Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rohilkhand Medical College and Hospital showed the efficacy of 82% lactic acid peels in considerably reducing melasma. Three months following the peel, lactic acid was still able to sustain the improved skin tone without causing any adverse effects other than burning.
Mulberry: The mulberry plant has polyphenols in its leaves that have depigmenting qualities. The mulberry leaves demonstrated an inhibiting impact of the tyrosinase enzyme in a 2011 research by the Pharmaceutical Informatics Institute of Zhejiang University, making it a natural skin lightener.
Niacinamide: According to research conducted in 2002 by Procter & Gamble Far East in Japan, niacinamide is a strong candidate for skin-lightening since it may prevent the transfer of melanosomes from melanocytes to keratinocytes.
Apply an overnight face mask as the last step of your routine after using all your skincare products to lock in the benefits. While you sleep, the sleeping mask will also impose its moisturizing and restorative properties. Choose a face mask with skin-lightening ingredients to accelerate the whitening effect on your skin.
4. Eat Foods High in Antioxidants
Free radicals encourage the production of more melanin. Thus it's important to eat more foods high in antioxidants. This is so that antioxidants can stabilize free radicals and prevent them from having negative effects. As a result, the free radicals are eliminated, perhaps minimizing melanogenesis.
Eating fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants or taking oral supplements are two ways to enhance your body's natural production of antioxidants. Vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and selenium are the main antioxidants you should consume.
To find foods high in these vitamins, choose from the following list:
- Fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, and Kakadu plums
- Oranges, kiwis, and other citrus fruits, such as lemons
- Kale and spinach are examples of dark-leafed veggies.
5. Protect Your Skin Barrier
You may have observed a recent increase in anti-pollution skincare products and are unsure whether your skin also needs them. Yes, without a doubt, is the response.
Your skin is continuously in danger from pollution, radiation, toxins, and even the blue light emitted by your smartphone and tablet since most of us live in metropolitan areas.
Because they produce free radicals, pollutants are the opposite of healthy skin because they promote premature skin aging and the creation of melanin. According to 2007 research by the Department of Medical Physics at the University of Applied Sciences TFH Berlin, melanin is a barrier against free radicals, which explains why.
Have you tried OTACI Rose Passion Deep Hydration Face Cream? The UVA filter and Shea Butter in its content protect your skin from external factors and support the skin barrier.
Protection and Maintenance Is Key
Prevention is preferable to treatment when it comes to skin lightening. To stop your skin tone or blemishes from darkening, concentrate on sun protection, exfoliation, and skin barrier protection. When you have a preventative strategy, you can concentrate on using the proper products and eating the right foods to lighten your skin tone and address other pigmentation-related disorders.
Your skincare routine and diet will be updated using this two-pronged strategy of protection and maintenance to obtain lighter skin more organically and holistically.