Nowadays, you can find a lot of skin whitening products on the market. The problem is, more than half of them are made with chemicals that also do damage to your skin. But if you want to achieve a paler tone, you can do so using natural skin lightening products. And you can achieve a few shades lighter without the harsh side effects that come with chemical treatments.
What Is So Wrong With Commercial Skin-Whitening Treatments?
The main active ingredient in most chemically produced skin-whitening treatments is hydroquinone. Now, this ingredient is not harmful initially. It has the potential to inhibit the production of melanin, the chemical that gives your skin color. However, when used for a long period of time, this ingredient can darken your skin. Even worse, it can cause premature aging and other skin damage symptoms.
The good news is that nature has many other ingredients you can use for whitening of the skin. They work in the same way, by inhibiting production of melanin, the chemical that causes dark pigmentation, and by absorbing the harmful UV rays from the sun. Here are some of the best natural ingredients.
Lemon juice and orange peels are the best natural bleaching agents you can find. Rich in vitamin C, both of these ingredients help by keeping your skin firm and supporting it health. Vitamin C plays a role in producing the collagen fibers that support your skin. When applied topically, lemon and orange can slow down hyperactive melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin.
Fair notice: if you have sensitive skin, dilute the lemon juice, as it can be irritating on your skin.
Look at the label of almost any skin lightening cream, and you’ll find kojic acid on the ingredients list. This white crystalline powder is derived from a fungus in Asia, and has been used as a natural alternative to hydroquinone for many years. Same as hydroquinone, it can help reduce skin discoloration, hyperpigmentation, and much more. Kojic acid works by inhibiting the function of tyrosinase, a protein that is responsible for production of melanin. In the same time, it provides antioxidants benefits to the skin, and protects it from the sun.
Some of the natural lightening ingredients are easy to find, while some are harder to source. This one falls into the latter category. The bearberry extract comes from the leaves of the plant. In many cosmetic products, bearberry extract is used as an astringent. The extract also contains Alpha arbutin, a chemical that can help you lighten the skin fast. This ingredient can also help with freckles, dark spots, and other types and forms of skin discoloration.
Bonus points: bearberry extract contains sun protection filters that will reduce the amount of tanning you experience after exposing to the sun.
The juice extracted from the licorice root has been staple in Chinese medicine for many years. But in terms of skin lightening, it wasn’t until the early 1990s. Back then, Japanese scientists identified a compound in licorice called glabridin, which can absorb UVA and UVB rays and be an effective skin-whitening element.
This compound works by inhibiting melaninc-producing enzymes by as much as 50%. And it does that without any damage to the skin cells.
When applied topically, vitamin B can help your skin retain moisture. Your skin will feel softer and smoother. In addition, vitamin B3 helps with reducing fine lines. And for skin whitening benefits, the vitamin can reduce the production of melanin. That is why B3 is often added to skin creams.
Phyllanthus Emblica (Indian Gooseberry)
We said previously that there are some exotic and hard to find ingredients on the list. Indian Gooseberry is another example. The extract from this plant has antioxidant properties, anti-microbial properties, and delivers a ton of vitamin C.
Combine all those three, and the ingredient can protect your skin from damage by the sun and reduce hyperpigmentation.
White Mulberry Extract
This tree is native to China. The extract from the white mulberry tree contains many health benefits, like preventing heart disease, reducing cholesterol, and preventing diabetes. But it can also help with your skin whitening problem.
Same as other natural ingredients on this list, it inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, which we know is responsible for production of melanin. Just a drop of this extract can reduce melanin production by 50%.
Gigawhite is a skin brightener that is formulated from 7 Alpine plants. The skin lightener has been used as a primary active ingredient in skin products that can help whiten the skin. It also helps with the appearance of age spots.
The lightener was made thanks to a specific selection. More than 100 Alpine plants were originally selected. All of them were able to inhibit tyrosinase, the enzyme that triggers melanin production. Out of those, seven were used. Those seven exhibited the highest inhibiting activity. The result is a natural skin-whitening agent which is now used as an alternative to hydroquinone.
How To Choose A Commercial Natural Product?
While you cannot find many of the natural ingredients here as raw, you can look for them in commercial products. If you are looking to buy a good whitening cream, check if it contains any of the ingredients listed here.