Since time immemorial, humans have been trying to not only lighten the dark color of their skin but also to reduce the dark spots and blemishes (moles and birthmarks) on their faces. (Face lightening cream, skin whitening, skin bleaching, cosmetic whitening, etc. are all cosmetic methods used trying to whiten or reduce the dark complexion on your face or skin.) But, be careful about what you apply on your skin, especially your face. The best methods are preferably the ones used by our ancestors-natural products, as much as possible.
Face lightening products today come in different forms-creams, lotions, soaps, etc. However, as the blemishes occur owing to the production of melanin (a pigment triggered by an enzyme that produces color) in your body, you need to use lotions or gels containing ingredients that are melanin-inhibiting combined with sunscreen and a course of retinoid. Subsequently, follow this with a chemical peel depending on the results of this face lightening cream.
Hydroquinone inhibits the production of melanin in your body and is considered by many dermatologists as a safer and cheaper option than the other face lightening cream (described above). Conversely, with constant use, hydroquinone can cause minor irritation to the skin. However, as many skin whitening creams contain glucocorticoids or mercury iodine, hydroquinone’s reaction on the skin is considered to be minor. Furthermore, this product does not bleach your face; it only lightens the color of your skin.
Tretinoin, Kojic acid, Azelaic acid
Hydroquinone, used with a combination of tretinoin and cortisone, acts as a powerful face lightening cream. Azelaic acid, an extract of grains, such as barley or wheat, acts as an inhibitor of melanin in your body. This product is not only used to reduce acne, but also as a skin lightening cream. Kojic acid is a by-product of rice. But, owing to its unstable conditions, it is not used much by the cosmetic companies as an ingredient in a face lightening cream. Finally, there are also other combinations that you can use as whitening for your face with hydroquinone. Although it is not as effective as you would expect, azelaic or kojic acid combined with glycolic acid and hydroquinone has shown results in whitening of the face.
Yes, there are natural ingredients that can inhibit melanin production in your body. Extracts from bearberry, mulberry, white and paper mulberry, and Mitracarpus scaber contain arbutin, a very natural form of face lightening cream. Research in extracts from licorice and pomegranate, Vitamin E and C, etc. could be used in face lightening creams.
AHA (Alpha hydroxy acid) is what we all are familiar with. But, even though it does contain some melanin inhibiting ingredients, it is used mainly as a sunscreen and does have the ingredients to exfoliate your facial skin. There are other forms of treatments, such as the laser and cryosurgery (usage of liquid nitrogen) treatments. But, here too, there are debilitating side effects.
There are many face lightening creams in the market. A note of caution- the vast literature available on the negative side effects of many of these creams is true.
Take the precaution of taking your doctor’s advice before going in for a face lightening cream.