In many Asian countries, the idea that lighter skin is more attractive is as prevalent today as it was decades ago. There has been a lot of changes in the way skin color is perceived in most parts of Asia, owing largely to the shift in the way that the darker skin color is perceived. Black has become more and more empowered in society today, as education on racism is growing worldwide.
Nevertheless, as the inclination has been deeply ingrained in many Asian cultures, a lot of lightening products are still a huge part of the cosmetic industry, supplying the needs of many consumers who are willing to spend hundreds of dollars just to get lighter complexions.
The traditional mindset on skin lightening is that it breaks down the cells in the skin and destroys the natural pigmentation in order to make the skin look lighter. While there are indeed existing whitening products that create this effect, skin lightening is not necessarily a process that results in skin damage. Quite the contrary, skin lightening can be achieved naturally, without using invasive treatments or harsh chemicals, and without resulting in broken down skin.
Why Lighten Your Skin?
While majority of the reasons why people lighten their skin is preference, there are certain conditions that need skin lightening in order to restore the skin to its original condition. People who have sun spots due to excessive sun exposure, hyperpigmentation from long trauma to the skin caused by acne or pimples, or those who have skin conditions such as rosacea or dermatitis, will consequently need some help in restoring the natural skin tone or to even out the complexion.
Skin trauma as problematic, and often as longstanding as acne, can wreak such havoc on the complexion that may take months to restore. Skin lightening products may aid the skin’s renewal process and hasten the process of healing and fading any marks. People who have endured severe or moderate acne can attest to the problem that acne causes. Dealing with active acne is bad enough, but once the acne has healed, it leaves a painful reminder: scarring and pigmentation. This, like active acne, is very stubborn and requires a very long time to fade when left on its own, hence lightening treatments.
How Does Skin Lightening Work?
Skin lightening works by inhibiting melanin in the skin that causes the pigmentation. In areas that have suffered trauma, such as in the places where your acne or sun spots or patches of allergy-affected on the skin, melanin levels usually shoot up. As melanin is essential in skin recovery and healing, this is normal. Melanin is no skin evil. It helps the skin heal and acts to restore the skin to its normal state as best as possible. The darkening of the affected area is only a side effect to this, and this side effect, while causing no actual damage to the skin, is very unappealing. Also, depending on the size of the area we’re talking about, it can be tough to conceal with make up.
One very popular ingredient in skin lightening products is niacinamide. This inhibits the production of melanin on the areas where it is applied, helping to prevent the darkening of the skin as the scars or spots heal. Hyaluronic acid is another popular skin lightening ingredient that is non-invasive and gentle. It helps slush away dead skin cells that cause a dullness or darker appearance, and makes way for new skin cells.
Safe Products and Natural Options to Try Out
Vitamin C Vitamin C Vitamin C. There is nothing that has lived up to the hype better than this little ingredient that is so tricky to use but is so effective that many cosmetic products today have vitamin C written all over their ingredients lists. Vitamin C is a natural brightening ingredient that when used the right way can promote collagen production and erase fine lines and wrinkles as it lightens dark marks and evens out complexion. To appreciate the effects of vitamin C faster, try to use a serum or essence and apply right after cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. Vitamin C oxidizes when exposed to sunlight, however, so be careful when handling any vitamin C product, and make sure that it is kept somewhere at low temperature.
Turmeric is also a great natural option if you are heavily inclined towards natural and organic products. This has been used as a lightening agent for decades, especially in Asia. In India, there is a longstanding practice of slathering turmeric paste all over the skin of a bride the night before her wedding, because of its brightening effects. Turmeric works great to fade dark marks but heals inflammation and cuts or wounds at the same time. So if you’re dealing with active acne as well as pigmentation, this is a powerful natural option. Be careful, however, when using it, because the yellow turmeric paste stains. Ideally, you’ll need to leave it on for half an hour and wash it off so that it does not leave a yellowish tinge on your face afterwards.
Lemon juice is another powerful and effective natural lightening agent. It is a strong acid and works efficiently for sun spots or mild discolorations on the skin. Be very careful, however, when using lemon juice on the face, as the strong acidity may burn the skin. To ward off the sting, mix lemon juice with honey and apply as a face mask for half an hour to a full hour daily. The honey will tone the acidity down as well as deal with any infection or inflammation caused by acne or any allergy.
Maintaining a Bright Complexion
Consistency is key. When you have found the product that works for you, stick to it and be consistent with application. And since skin lightening treatments make the skin sensitive to sun exposure, wear sunscreen every time you’re stepping out of the house.