Skin Whitening Cream Ingredients
Most skin whitening products work by blocking the production of melanin. This is made possible with any of the following ingredients:
Tretinoin – effective as a treatment for skin discolorations but users will have to avoid sun exposure as it can cause skin tanning. This chemical can also make your skin more sensitive to both UVA and UVB rays.
Hydroquinone – considered as one of the primary ingredients of most skin whitening products, hydroquinone is very efficient in disrupting melanin synthesis and production and lightning (not bleaching) the skin. It is recommended you choose skin whitening creams with only 2% hydroquinone since a higher concentration can be a risk factor for skin cancer.
Kojic Acid -reputed to have the same whitening effects as hydroquinone but without the cancer risk, Kojic acid is a relatively new ingredient in the skin lightening industry. It is derived from the Japanese mushroom and can treat all sorts of pigmentation problems including age spots, freckles, and melasma.
Arbutin – another naturally-derived chemical substance which possesses melanin-inhibiting and skin lightening properties. It provides relatively faster results and does not contain any toxins which can harm the skin.
Licorice extract – contains Glabridin, a natural chemical compound which prevents activation of the tyrosinase in melanin synthesis. It does not pose any toxic effects on keratinocytes and melanocytes. It even possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
Retinol – more commonly known as Vitamin A. It is considered to be the weaker counterpart of tretinoin and is an excellent alternative if you find tretinoin to be harsh on your skin. It is effective in addressing wrinkles and fine lines as well as uneven skin tone and skin texture.
L- Ascorbic Acid – this is considered to be the only derivative of Vitamin C which is beneficial to the skin as it possesses anti-oxidant as well as collagen-stimulating properties.
Azelaic Acid – a component found in grains like barley, rice, and wheat. Research showed that in addition to its efficacy in treating acne, it is also effective in correcting skin discoloration. Thus, it can be another option for whitening skin by inhibiting production of melanin.
Skin Whitening Cream Side Effects
Just like with any other products, there are also some disadvantages to using skin lightening creams. Here is the list of the most common side effects:
1. Skin irritation characterized by stinging or burning and itching
2. Allergic reactions characterized by rashes
3. Mercury poisoning from creams containing mercury which can lead to kidney failure or liver damage
4. Hypersensitivity to the sun rays which can be remedied by putting on sunscreen or sunblock and avoiding sunlamps or tanning beds
5. Complications with the pregnancy if the mother used skin whitening creams
6. Weight gain and high blood sugar for skin whitening creams containing a corticosteroid
7. Thinning of the skin which may result to exposed capillaries, bruising and stretch marks
8. Acne dues to creams blocking the pores
9. Altered pigmentations such as ochronosis and leukoderma
Tips When Buying Skin Lightening Cream
To avoid suffering from these side effects, you need to be very careful when buying skin whitening creams. It would be best if you would consider the following tips:
1- Read the label. Never buy any product without knowing its ingredients and amount.
2- Do some research. You will benefit from reading online reviews and checking the manufacturers or official website.
3- Try the product. Before buying an entire bottle, ask for a sample and apply on a small area of your face to check for any adverse reaction.
4- Consult a professional. If you have some pigmentation problem, it would be smart to seek medical advice in order for you to determine the right treatment and avoid the nasty side effects which can aggravate your skin problem.