Lightening Creams: What They Are and How to Use Them

23 May, 2020
Spots and blemishes on your skin are an annoying aesthetic problem that most people suffer. Fortunately, you can use lightening creams to help noticeably reduce them. Do you want to know more? Read on!

Skin blemishes are one of the most feared aesthetic problems. Unfortunately, exposure to the sun, age, hormonal imbalances, and many other factors increase your risk of blemishes. Due to this, more and more people are choosing to use lightening creams.

These products have components that help to reduce skin hyperpigmentation and make your skin look younger and more uniform. However, to achieve these good results, you have to know how to use them correctly.

Don’t worry: We’ll tell you how to use them in this article.

What are lightening creams?

A woman holding a container of skin lightening cream.
Skin lightening creams contain substances that help to reduce skin blemishes.

Lightening creams are cosmetic products that help to reduce or eliminate blemishes that appear on your skin. Their active ingredients can destroy melanin in the affected areas. At the same time, they stimulate cellular regeneration and hydration.

According to an article in NHS Foundation Trust, they can contain a combination of diverse medicines. Some of the most common are hydroquinone, retinoids, and corticosteroids. Each of these substances has a different effect on your skin.

Let’s take a more detailed look:

  • Hydroquinone or monobenzyl ether of hydroquinone: This is a substance that helps to inhibit the overproduction of melanocytes, or pigment cells.
  • Retinoids, such as tretinoin or retinoic acid, help stimulate skin cell regeneration. Additionally, they help hydroquinone penetrate the skin.
  • Corticosteroids can reduce and prevent skin inflammation. The most common example is hydrocortisone.

In addition to the substances we mentioned, lightening creams can also contain vitamin C, kojic acid, adapalene gel, which is also a retinoid, or azelaic acid. Some even contain vegetable extracts like bearberry, arbutin, licorice, chamomile or mulberry

Discover: Incredible Natural Ways to Get Rid of Skin Blemishes

How to use lightening creams

First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that lightening creams aren’t instant fixes. In fact, treating skin blemishes is a challenge that generally takes time. Ideally, you should consult a dermatologist to understand your best treatment options.

One important factor to get good results from these products is to use them consistently. Therefore, you should know that you should start to notice the effects between 6 and 12 months after your first use. Additionally, you should use them once or twice a day.

How to use them

  • To start, apply a thin layer of the cream to the blemish. As we have said, you should do this up to twice a day, according to your dermatologist’s instructions.
  • Before and after using the product, you should wash your hands well and avoid skin-to-skin contact with other people for at least an hour after applying.
  • You should avoid using it near your eyes or around your eyelid. There are specific products you can use for these sensitive areas.
  • You also shouldn’t use it if you have any scrapes, burns, or rashes on your skin.

Sunscreen: The ideal ally

Woman putting sunscreen on face.
Sunscreen is one of the best products to protect your skin from blemishes. You should use it even on cold or cloudy days.

If you want to prevent skin blemishes, there’s one product you should always have: sunscreen. According to information from the American Academy of Dermatologysunscreen is essential when you’re outside, even when it rains or snows.

Indeed, ideally, you should use sunscreen that has SPF 30 or higher. Additionally, it should have zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. If you have greasy skin, “non-comedogenic” alternatives can help keep your pores clear and avoid breakouts.

You might be interested in: The Importance of Summer Skin Care for Children

Are there risks related to using lightening creams?

Depending on the formulation, lightening creams can cause photosensitivity. Therefore, you should use them exclusively at night. Other side effects can include slight skin irritation and allergic reactions like burning, itching, and dermatitis.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately stop using the product and consult your dermatologist. Organizations like the American Academy of Dermatology also warn that there are creams that contain mercury and other ingredients that can damage your skin. Because of this, when you choose a product, you should pick the ones that are dermatologist approved.

  • NHS foundation trust. (2017). Creams to depigment your skin. Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
    Retrieved on March 27, 2020 from https://www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/resources/patient-information/pharmacy/creams-to-depigment-your-skin.pdf
  • American Academy of Dermatology Association. (2020). HOW TO FADE DARK SPOTS IN SKIN OF COLOR. Retrieved on March 27, 2020 from https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/routine/fade-dark-spots
  • Drugs.com. (2020). Topical depigmenting agents. Retrieved on March 27, 2020 from https://www.drugs.com/drug-class/topical-depigmenting-agents.html