Lightening can be tricky sometimes. With so many products that promise fast whitening results, we may have to trial and error our way to the right regimens, the right products, and even the right treatments. Skin lightening, surprisingly, does not have to be the labyrinth that it’s slowly turning into. It’s actually simple and pretty easy once you understand the theory behind what actually makes skin lightening possible.
Just as there is a proper way to lighten your skin, there are many ways to do it wrong. The effects can affect you long term and, in the worst cases, may even be impossible to reverse. To make sure you don’t jump on the bandwagon of regret, here are some of the most commonly practised skin lightening techniques that can actually harm your health and result in disaster.
Using products that contain mercury
Mercury is one of the most harmful skin bleaching ingredients, but it is very commonly used in many cosmetic products like creams, lotions, and soaps. As it aids in bleaching the skin, it is often added into lightening products to deliver quick results. However, the negative effects far outweigh any benefits of using products containing mercury.
Some of the effects of using mercury-laden products are scarring, weakening of the skin’s resistance to infection, skin allergies, acne, and, ironically, pigmentation. Mercury poisoning has also been reported to cause anxiety, depression, psychosis, and other mental health issues.
Always make sure that every time you try out a new product, you check the ingredients list to ensure that mercury is not in it. The danger, however, is that not all cosmetic companies who use mercury actually list it among their products’ ingredients. So, if you are having doubts about the product, do some thorough research first. Unless you’re sure that it’s safe, don’t buy it, don’t use it, and don’t touch it.
Bleaching kits are very popular because they often promise to deliver quick results. The promise of effectiveness minus the long wait is such a charmer because, honestly, who wants to wait? The reality, however, is that proper skin lightening takes time and has to be done properly in order for the results to last and to cause a healthy change in the skin color.
Bleaching too often or using harsh whitening chemicals is very drying to the skin, which results in flakiness and over-dryness. When the skin is too dry, it is more prone to wrinkling faster. The natural elasticity of the skin is lost, and not only does it look dull, it also feels dull.
There are lightening products that come hand in hand with moisture and hydration. These are the types of products to use, as they protect the skin from premature aging and preserve the natural plumpness of the skin, creating a more youthful appearance.
Overuse of whitening soaps with kojic acid
Whitening soaps can be the most drying of all whitening products on the market. Since they are often very easily accessible and generally do not cost much, many people resort to buying whitening soaps containing ingredients such as kojic acid.
Kojic acid is a widely known ingredient that has been proven to lighten the skin visibly in a relatively short time. Because of the quick results, a lot of people are drawn to it. Add to that the fact that most kojic products are quite affordable.
What people don’t realize or simply shrug off is that kojic acid is, like most bleaches, very drying. Dryness causes premature aging. Consider that if you are using a kojic acid soap, you are exposing yourself to the acid on a daily basis (probably even several times each day). Most users of kojic soaps will notice roughness of the skin, flakiness, excessive drying, and lack of moisture. The wrinkles, if there are any, will be more pronounced.
It’s important to consider that premature aging is very hard to reverse. So before you abuse that kojic soap, maybe you should pair it with a good moisturizer or use it every other day instead. It can’t be denied that kojic acid really delivers. But when it is not used properly, it may only add to the things that you wish to change.
It’s nothing new that harsh astringents and peeling agents are often used to aid the skin in shedding the dermis and making way for “new” skin while lightening skin color. In the long run, however, astringents that contain harsh ingredients like hydroquinone cause excessive peeling, heightened photosensitivity, and even adverse reactions like acne breakouts and contact allergies.
When used long term, lightening or peeling astringents also render the skin an unnatural color which is often patchy. Heavy-duty peeling can also be hard to deal with, and may be near-impossible to hide with concealer. Instead of giving an even skin tone, harsh astringents often result in unevenness.
Not using sunscreen while on lightening treatment
There are safe skin lightening products, such as vitamin C serums, that render the skin sensitive to sunlight and require extra care when going out in the daytime. They say you can’t aim for beauty and be lazy. If you tolerate laziness and don’t care about protecting your skin when you know that it needs proper protection from the sun, dark spots may become more pigmented, sun spots may become more pronounced, and you may achieve the exact opposite of what you were aiming for.
Make a habit of applying sunscreen every morning before stepping out of the house and save yourself from future regret.