How do I Whiten Skin?

Marjorie McAtee

Many people want to whiten skin that has darkened due to sun damage or medical conditions such as melasma. Skin whitening is often performed with chemical agents in skin whitening cream or chemical peels. Some skin lightening regimens have been developed from home remedies. Here are some cosmetic whitening tips to try.

Whitening cream.
Whitening cream.

Skin whitening and bleaching creams are popular among many who wish to whiten skin. Skin lightening creams typically contain hydroquinone or retinol, which help to inhibit melanin production, as the active ingredients. Skin lightening creams are usually available over the counter. Dermatologists sometimes prescribe stronger whitening creams to those with hyperpigmentation, or areas of skin that have darkened due to sun exposure, age, or pregnancy. Prescription creams typically contain two to four percent hydroquinone, and may contain tretinoin or azelaic acid.

Skin whitening and bleaching creams are popular among people who wish to whiten skin.
Skin whitening and bleaching creams are popular among people who wish to whiten skin.

Chemical peels are another alternative to whiten skin. Chemical peels use chemical exfoliants to remove the upper layers of surface skin. Chemical peels can be superficial, medium, or deep.

Chemical peels are a way to whiten skin.
Chemical peels are a way to whiten skin.

Superficial peels may use lactic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and other gentle acids to remove only the surface of the epidermis. Medium peels often use Jessner's solution or trichloroacetic acid to penetrate further into the epidermis for a more thorough exfoliation. Deep peels are typically reserved to treat the most severe skin damage, skin they can penetrate almost entirely through both layers of the skin.

Soaps made of milk may be used to remove sun-damaged skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Soaps made of milk may be used to remove sun-damaged skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Chemical peels whiten skin by removing skin that has darkened due to sun damage, age, or other factors. Chemical peels are said to speed up the process by which the skin gradually sloughs off dead cells. They typically remove surface skin cells, allowing new skin to grow. The new skin usually has the same tone and texture as skin that has not yet been damaged by the sun, and may be lighter in color. The new skin may also be largely free of wrinkles and may be less prone to acne breakouts.

Skin lightening creams typically contain hydroquinone or retinol, which help inhibit melanin production.
Skin lightening creams typically contain hydroquinone or retinol, which help inhibit melanin production.

For those who prefer all-natural ways to whiten skin, a number of home remedies are said to be effective. A facial mask made of equal parts honey, powdered milk, and lemon juice with one-half part almond oil is said to lighten tanned skin when used regularly. Soaps and facial treatments made with milk are said to lighten sun-damaged skin and remove fine lines and wrinkles, preserving a youthful appearance, when used regularly.

Areas of skin may darken due to sun exposure.
Areas of skin may darken due to sun exposure.

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