Skin lightening entails the changing or reduction of skin pigmentation by preventing the production of Melanin which is responsible for skin pigmentation, this can be to correct anomalies such as spots, freckles and other discolorations from acne, burns and laser treatment.
Skin lightening can also be for the purpose of beauty enhancement and this has been an issue surrounded with so much controversy.
In as much as this article is not about the controversies involved, it is important to note here that just like tanning if done the right way skin lightening can contribute largely to ones self esteem and invariably beauty enhancement.
Beauty after all runs deeper than the skin.
How to perform Skin Lightening ?
Skin Lightening using Laser Therapy
One method of skin lightening is by laser therapy, this practise however has been open to abuse and trained cosmetic doctors have complained about the increasing number of beauty salons who apply this treatment with little or no training and controls in place, thus endangering the lives of their customers or in the least creating more skin problems for them.
Another setback of this method is the cost; the use of laser to correct skin blemishes and scars is very expensive.
Skin Lightening using Hydroquinone
Skin lightening can also be achieved by the use of cosmetic products many of which contain hydroquinone based chemicals.Hydroquinone
though considered very effective and affordable is believed to be very unsafe.
It has been linked to harmful side effects such as Leukaemia in animals. Although it has not yet been confirmed to cause cancer in human beings, application of hydroquinone can cause skin irritations such as rashes.
The question thus arises is it worth the risk? Definitely not for me, especially when one considers that the use of hydroquinone has been banned in several countries.
Skin lightening does not have to be a costly or risky venture and nature has bestowed us with plenty of useful fruits, plants and herbs.
Natural Fruits ( my prefered method )
For instance, fruits like papaya (paw-paw), lemon, lime and orange which all contain Vitamin C have skin lightening effects in addition to other nutritional values when consumed or applied to the skin.
So they help to enhance beauty and healthy living from inside out and there are no harmful side effects.
Skin Lightening using Kojic Acid ( Japanese Mushrooms )
Other examples include; the kojic acid ester extracted from Japanese mushrooms and extracts of Asafoetida a South Asian herbal plant.
Other Methods to lighten Skin
The list goes on to include arbutin which can be extracted from many types of berries and pears;
extracts from milk and sugar crops like sugar cane and pine apples known as Alpha hydroxy acids.