What are the Different Methods of Face Whitening?

Amy Hunter

Whether you want to lighten your entire face, or are just interested in lightening age spots on the skin, there are several products available that will aid in face whitening. Over the counter skin creams containing kojic acid, soy, niacinamide, or hydroquinone lighten the skin. For more dramatic results, visit a dermatologist for prescription strength skin lighteners or a chemical peel. Regardless of the face whitening method used, it is important to follow up with sunscreen to prevent skin from darkening again.

Hydroquinone cream can be used for skin whitening.
Hydroquinone cream can be used for skin whitening.

Over the counter creams are effective at lightening skin. Apply the products to the area you would like to whiten. Patience is important, as it can take up to three months to see results from over the counter creams. The benefit of choosing over the counter creams is that they are typically gentle and well tolerated. If you experience irritation while using an over the counter face whitening cream, stop using the product until the irritation clears up. When you resume using the product use half as often as directed on the label. Gradually increase the frequency until you are using the product as described.

Whitening night creams can help fade scars or birthmarks.
Whitening night creams can help fade scars or birthmarks.

If, after several months of treatment, you are not happy with the results from over the counter face whitening products, visit a dermatologist. Healthcare professionals can provide you with a prescription strength hydroquinone cream that lightens more effectively. You may also receive instructions to apply a topical corticosteroid cream or retinol products alongside the hydroquinone cream to speed exfoliation and improve results. There is some evidence that using retinol products along with face whitening creams improves the penetration of the lightening agent. Do not mix ingredients without discussing it with your healthcare provider, however, as this can lead to skin irritation, peeling, burning, or itching.

Chemical peels are an aggressive approach at face whitening.
Chemical peels are an aggressive approach at face whitening.

Another prescription strength choice is azelaic acid. Originally used as a treatment for acne, azelaic acid is effective at treating hyperpigmentation. It may be paired with glycolic acid for better results.

In addition to applying a lightening cream, always use protective sunscreen to prevent patches of skin from darkening again.
In addition to applying a lightening cream, always use protective sunscreen to prevent patches of skin from darkening again.

Chemical peels are a more aggressive solution for face whitening. Ask for references before scheduling a peel, and look at before and after pictures of other face whitening patients. Irritation and infection are possible after a chemical peel, but the procedure provides more dramatic results that topical creams. The healthcare provider smooths a chemical solution over the face, lets it sit on the skin, and then removes it. The patient may experience mild discomfort during the procedure, but will be ready to go home within a few hours.

A dermatologist can provide recommendations for the most suitable whitening cream that will meet a patient's needs.
A dermatologist can provide recommendations for the most suitable whitening cream that will meet a patient's needs.

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Discussion Comments

dill1971

@oceanswimmer: Many people thought he literally bleached his skin but he didn’t. He had a skin disease called Vitiligo. It caused him to develop white blotches on his skin until it was almost completely white in the face.

He did not use any kind of face whitening lotion or mask.

OceanSwimmer

How did Michael Jackson whiten his face? Did he use skin whitening products?

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