Skin lightening creams are used by both men and women all over the world to help achieve their desired uniform skin tone. As we age, our skin can darken due to sun damage, or even scarring from acne or injuries. These dark marks can make people feel self-conscious, and they begin seeking out ways to even out their skin tone.
Unfortunately, many skin lightening treatments are full of harsh chemicals, or ingredients which are completely unsafe. Unsuspecting customers purchase these products not realizing that they are dangerous, and suffer from different types of bad reactions.
However, this does not have to be the case. A little bit of research can go a long way in making sure that you get the skin lightening products which are the safest, gentlest, and most effective.
The effects of bad products
Harsh chemicals can find their way into unregulated or poorly formulated skin lightening treatments. The side effects can be pretty severe when skin comes in contact with overly abrasive or corrosive materials.
The most common side effects customers have reported are allergic reactions ranging from rashes to hives and sores. At other times, certain chemicals within the formulation can cause topical burns on the skin, leaving the area tender and susceptible to infection.
Some skin lightening treatments claim to work through pills or powders which are meant to be ingested. Users report feelings of nervousness, dizziness, stomach problems, and in some cases prolonged illness.
That is why it is always important for consumers to be aware of how products are made and which ingredients they contain before using them.
Ingredients to avoid
Specific allergies aside, there are some universal recommendations for products to avoid. They include the following:
- Hydroquinone – this ingredient could once be found in many skin lightening agents. Its effectiveness varied, but one thing that concerned researchers was the tendency for people who had been exposed to hydroquinone to develop cancer. Studies are still being completed at this point in time, but the recommendation from experts is to avoid hydroquinone, as it may shortly be classified as a carcinogen.
- Mercury – mercury is a toxin, and is not at all suitable for topical application or ingestion. If you notice that one of your skincare products contains mercury, even trace amounts, it should be considered unsafe. You can become poisoned after exposure to mercury.
- Steroids – some lightening creams make use of steroids as an anti-inflammatory to counteract the harshness of the chemicals used. Topical steroids can cause problems such as rashes or allergic reactions, especially if they are used improperly. Ideally, topical steroids should only be prescribed by a doctor. If they are present in over-the-counter facial products, they should be considered unsafe.
- Alcohol – some cosmetics contain alcohol, which can dry out and irritate the skin. Alcohol is not a skin lightening agent, and does not need to be present in skin lightening creams.
Gentle, effective ingredients
There are still skin lightening products which can be used safely and effectively. Look for all-natural ingredients, including the following:
- Papaya – papaya has a natural lightening effect on the skin, plus it is nourishing and healing. An extract made from papaya enzymes is a safe alternative to harsher chemical skin lighteners.
- Lemon – extracts derived from lemon are a natural way to decrease melanin production in the skin. Lemon has been used as a natural skin lightener for many years, but a formulated extract can be used more consistently with good results.
- Licorice – licorice extract also works as a natural skin lightener, and provides a small amount of natural sun protection. Licorice can help lighten your skin and prevent future darkening.
- Allantoin – this natural exfoliant gently clears away dead skin cells, allowing healthier skin cells to grow in their place. Harsh exfoliants can harm the skin, but something gentle like allantoin promotes healthy skin growth.
When shopping for skin lightening systems, be sure to steer clear of harsh chemicals or harmful ingredients, and instead look for an all-natural solution. For example, Zeta White provides a three-step system which contains only gentle, all-natural ingredients, and it is designed to work gradually and safely.
The most important thing is your health, and it is not worth risking it in the pursuit of a quick fix for dark spots or other skin problems. Always be cautious, and only purchase from trusted sources.