Aside from fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation happens to be one of the biggest skin concerns. Hyperpigmentation is defined as the overproduction of pigment, which is the reason some areas of the skin may be darker than others. Hyperpigmentation isn’t always as prominent as a port wine stain, in fact just having an uneven skin tone can be considered hyperpigmentation.
Other types of hyperpigmentation include:
- Liver spots
- Post-inflammatory marks
While a few types of hyperpigmentation are obtained through genetics and cannot be altered, others can become less visible through skin lightening.
What exactly is skin lightening?
Skin lightening, also known as skin bleaching, or whitening is the act of using chemicals to lighten skin tone. Most of these products work by inhibiting the production of melanin, the substance that gives the skin its color. If the skin isn’t consistently producing melanin it will most certainly lighten which is why these products are proven to work.
Who are the best candidates for skin lightening and whitening products?
You don’t have to suffer from severe hyperpigmentation issues to use a skin whitening and lightening mask. There are many people who use skin lightening products to ensure they maintain an even skin tone and prevent lesions like acne scars and sun spots.
If you happen to have severe hyperpigmentation, using whitening and lightening products is imperative for a successful treatment. First, be sure the area of concern doesn’t include hyperpigmentation that has been present since birth. Certain moles, freckles, and birthmarks are embedded in your DNA and will not budge no matter what you do. The best way to determine if your pigmentation issues can be solved with skin lighting is to visit your dermatologist. Once you can ensure hyperpigmentation can be cleared, you are ready to begin using skin lightening and whitening products.
Skin lightening is most common in Asian parts of the country. The natives go through drastic measures to avoid the sun because wealth and beauty are often tied to lighter skin. While sunscreen is a beauty must have in these regions, they also use umbrellas and face masks to block the sun’s rays. Celebrities are also known for undergoing skin lightening treatments, some go as far as lightening their entire bodies!
Should I be using a skin whitening and lightening mask instead of a serum, cream or lotion?
Skin lightening products come in the form of a crème, serum, lotion, or mask. While they are all effective at reversing hyperpigmentation, masks seem to be used most often. Masks are great to add to your routine because they don’t require daily use, many only need to be used once per week (some even less frequently). Masks aren’t used every day because they have very potent ingredients and if they are used more than recommended they can cause skin damage. The positive to having a product with highly active ingredients is that the skin will improve more rapidly.
Why should I consider making homemade skin whitening and lightening masks instead of buying one?
Though effective, store bought whitening and lightening products contain chemicals that can be a hazard to your health. Hydroquinone is one of the most common ingredients used to lighten the skin because it delivers insane results. Unfortunately hydroquinone is also very active and can be dangerous if used incorrectly. A person using hydroquinone must ensure their skin is protected from the sun because the ingredient will make your skin more sun sensitive. When skin becomes more susceptible to the sun, pigmentation issues can actually become worse. If that isn’t enough, the skin can only stand this ingredient for 3 months at a time, then it needs a three month break. Hydroquinone has also been linked to cancer as are these other skin lighting ingredients; some are even illegal:
- Glycolic acid
Creating a skin lightening and whitening mask at home means avoiding harmful chemicals and taking control of what goes on your skin. Cosmetic companies often turn to harmful chemicals because they are cheaper to use and may last longer than natural lightening ingredients. Fortunately, there are many ingredients that can help lighten the skin, some may already be in your pantry.
Natural skin lighteners include:
Kojic acid– This ingredient is made from fermented rice and helps fight age and liver spots.
Licorice Extract- This ingredient is taken from licorice roots and helps inhibit melanin production.
Resveratrol- This ingredient is found in nuts, berries, and wine. It helps lighten skin and reduce ageing.
Bearberry Extract- This ingredient is made from bearberry leaves. It helps promote even skin tone and improves the appearance of age spots.
Vitamin A- Also known as retinol, this ingredient help to promote faster cell turnover.
Vitamin C- This ingredient contains citric acid which helps lighten the skin; Citrus fruits contain vitamin C.
Now that you’re convinced, try these skin whitening and lightening mask formulas:
- Dried orange peels and Yogurt
- Tomato, yogurt and oatmeal
- Milk, lemon juice and honey
- Potatoes and potato juice
- Lemon juice and orange peels
- Tomato Juice
- Papaya paste
For the most part, hyperpigmentation issues stem from excessive sun exposure. Did you know that by the age of 18 you’ve done enough damage for sun spots to appear in your forties? The sun’s ultraviolet B rays are responsible for burning the skin which causes pigment to over-produce. It is impossible to completely avoid the sun, so be sure to take into account these sun safety tips:
- Always wear sunscreen, even if you are inside. Sun rays can pierce through windows and may emit from certain lightbulbs and computer screens.
- If you are going to be in the sun always wear two layers of sunscreen. This will ensure you do not miss a spot.
- Always wear sun protection with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 and above to ensure adequate protection.
- If you are wearing waterproof sunscreen, remember that it only repels water for up to 80 minutes.
- Waterproof does not mean water resistant so do not submerge the skin in water unless your sunscreen is waterproof.
- Sunscreen with “environmental protection” will also help to fight free radicals and prevent ageing.