Skin-whitening creams are also known as skin-brightening creams. They are used for the purpose of bleaching and lightening the skin. They target skin cells to reduce the melanin levels in them. Melanin is a pigment in human bodies that produces hair, eye, and skin pigmentation. The higher the melanin levels are, the darker your skin color will be. Production of melanin depends on quite a few different factors such as genetics and how exposed your ancestors were to the sun.
Melanin originates from the amino acid tyrosine. It might also be found in animals and not just humans, the levels vary though. Besides providing pigmentation, it also protects your cells from sun damage due to UV rays. Melanin has the capability to absorb harmful rays such as UVA, UVB, UVC, and blue light. It also protects against reactive oxygen species. Accumulation of ROS in your cells can lead to problems like stress, premature aging, diabetes, cancer etc.
There are three types of melanin: Eumelanin, Pheomelanin, and Neuromelanin. It is produced in cells called melanocytes. Eumelanin can be either black or brown. It results in dark pigmentation of skin, eyes, and hair. Blonde hair is a result of the absence of black and very small quantities of brown eumelanin. Pheomelanin pigments lips, nipples, and other areas of the body that are pigmented. An equal amount of eumelanin and pheomelanin results in red hair. Neuromelanin undertakes the task of pigmenting the neurons. Every human body has the same number of melanocytes. What varies is the amount of melanin produced by these melanocytes. Eumelanin and pheomelanin combinations result in various colors. More melanin means darker colors.
Work of skin-whitening creams
Let us make it clear at the outset that best skin whitening products can range from creams to oils to serums. They are manufactured in different textures to suit the needs of skin types. They all work in a similar fashion.
Skin-lightening creams contain ingredients that work to decrease your body’s melanin production. Bleaching is done by lowering the number of melanocytes in your skin. Hydroquinone is an ingredient that directly acts on decreasing melanocytes. The antioxidant properties of Vitamin C also help in lowering melanin production in cells. Glycolic acid works as an exfoliant. But it works to weed out dead cells. Retinoids derived from vitamin A can also lighten dark spots.
We live in a world that has lately been offering greater acceptance of unorthodox beauty standards. Skin color has been extremely central to this debate on beauty standards. Fair skin was conventionally beautiful for the longest time. And that was precisely why skin-brightening creams entered the market. However, these creams can cure some serious skin diseases too. They are not just meant to make you feel confident in a skin that is not your own. Let us explore the advantage of these creams henceforth.
Age spots are small, flat, and dark areas on the skin. They vary in size and usually appear on areas exposed to them such as the face, hands, shoulders, and arms. They are also known by the names of sunspots, liver spots, and solar lentigines. Skin-whitening creams do not allow the transfer of melanin to the surface of the skin. It hence reveals a clear, translucent, and spotless complexion. Moreover, the SPF present in the creams can stop the sun from causing other harms
These are tan or light brownish spots on the skin. Clusters of skin cells containing melanin lead to the formation of freckles. They are flat and also harmless and non-painful. While freckles may be genetic, no one is ever born with them. They are instigated by longer hours of sun exposure. Sunscreens, laser treatment, cryosurgery, chemical peel, or natural remedies like lemon juice, honey, buttermilk, and others might be helpful in curing freckles. But skin-whitening creams can also get the job done.
They can either be fading creams or retinoid creams. Fading creams contain hydroquinone that can suppress melanin production and lighten darker areas. However, it may lead to inflammation, burning, skin discoloration, dryness, and blistering. Retinoid on the other hand is a Vitamin A compound. It offers photoprotection and prevents new freckles from forming.
While acne is visible to the naked eye on the surface, the cause of it lies underneath the skin. When breakout or inflammation happens, the skin gets strained and it leads to scarring. The melanin naturally reaches abnormally higher levels in this situation. Hence, lightening creams work by reducing melanin in the accumulated area.
Melasma and Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Both of these diseases may cause darker areas or severe acne leaving a dark spot. These can be caused by hormonal imbalances and endocrine conditions. If the adrenal gland does not produce enough of certain hormones, high levels of the adrenocorticotropic hormone is released, which then stimulates the melanocytes to produce more melanin. These two diseases are also tackled in similar ways as described above.
Why not makeup?
A very obvious question that will grip the minds of people now is why not use makeup products. Products like foundation, concealer, and others are necessarily meant for the purpose. We even have acne patches today that blend with your skin so well that none would ever know you have an acne beneath. Nonetheless, all these products are superficial. Once the makeup is removed, the pigmentation will return to the skin. Hence, it is better to use a skin-whitening cream for long lasting results.
A whitening cream might be available on prescription or openly at a general store. However, the latter may not be effectively curated and there are high chances of a reaction. It is better to have them prescribed by a dermatologist. However, even high end products might prove to be harmful for the skin. Given the delicate nature of the skin, use the products extremely thoughtfully