Know these Common Ingredients in Skin Lightening Creams
Are you a person who wants to lighten their skin but needs to do their due diligence? Here are some common ingredients in lightening creams you need to know.
Thinking of lightening your skin?
You might be freaking out at the idea of putting a mysterious substance onto your body, particularly if you're looking to lighten skin in intimate or sensitive areas.
Is it like bleach? Does it contain acid? Will it burn?
Most skin lightening creams are safe and painless to use, but getting informed about what they contain is really important.
Some creams are sold illegally and contain chemicals which could harm your skin.
Read on for a breakdown of the most common ingredients used in skin lightening creams, as well as key information on how they affect the skin.
Ready to get informed?
Common ingredients which could harm your skin
If the skin lightening cream you're considering contains one of these ingredients, it's a no-go unless prescribed by your doctor.
Hydroquinone works by decreasing the production of melanin in your skin, causing it to appear lighter.
While previously a common ingredient in lightening creams, in 2006, the FDA revoked their approval of hydroquinone and proposed a ban on over-the-counter products containing the ingredient.
There's a risk that this product could increase your chances of cancer, so it should be avoided unless prescribed.
If you've heard of mercury, you probably don't fancy putting it anywhere near your body.
While mercury can lighten the appearance of your skin, it also causes rashes, pain, discolouration and serious health problems.
Mercury poisoning doesn't only occur if you swallow mercury - even applying the substance to your skin can cause serious harm.
Not worth it.
Common ingredients which won't cause harm
Similar to hydroquinone, kojic acid inhibits the production of melanin in your skin, causing it to become lighter.
Kojic acid is produced by certain types of fungi, or during the fermentation process used to make rice wine.
Kojic acid lightens skin effectively and doesn't carry the health risks of hydroquinone, making it a much better option.
Arbutin is extracted from the bearberry bush, making it a great choice if you're looking for creams containing natural ingredients.
It works, again, by inhibiting melanin.
There are three forms of arbutin:
Alpha arbutin is the most effective form, and the most common ingredient you're likely to see in creams.
Azelaic acid removes dead skin cells, making it effective for lightening scars, acne, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
It can also reduce redness and swelling, and is often used to treat rosacea.
Many whitening creams contain vitamin C, and there's a good reason for that.
Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C helps improve the production of collagen, making your skin firmer and more elastic.
Like the other ingredients in this list, vitamin C inhibits melanin production, making skin appear lighter.
It helps skin to heal, improving the appearance of scars, blemishes and stretch marks.
It's also an antioxidant which fights free radicals, reducing the chance of skin darkening with age.
Lightening your skin doesn't have to be a gamble.
Stay safe by researching common ingredients before buying, and choosing a reliable supplier.