The Phenomenon of Skin Lightening

The Booming Multi-Billion Dollar Skin Lightening Industry.

The global use of skin lighteners is nothing new to the beauty world. Although skin lighteners have been used for centuries, only in the last century, the production of these materials become commercialized and global. According to market research from Stratistics MRC, the Global Skin Lightening Products Market accounted for $4075.00 million in 2017 and is expected to reach $8011.17 million by 2026 growing at a CAGR of 7.8% during the forecast period. 



Skin Lightening to treat Hyper-pigmentation

It's no secret that women want clear and glowing skin. We all envy anyone who has flawless, smooth, and soft skin. For most women, the challenge of achieving radiant skin begins with hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is the result of dark spots when an excess of melanin, which is a brown pigment that gives our skin its color, forms deposits in our skin. Hyperpigmentation can occur due to many things, such as sun exposure, hormonal changes, genes, and even medication. Several methods are available to treat hyperpigmentation. The procedures work by decreasing the amount of melanin in your skin. 


To make your uneven skin tones more even and radiant, choosing a skin-brightening product is a perfect pick. Whether it is lightening those dark spots or brightening the skin's overall appearance, these products, coupled with a daily skincare routine, can reveal a luminous tone that will help your skin look flawless.


The techniques used for skin lightening include:

Skin-lightening Creams

The goal of a skin lightening cream is not to bleach your skin, but to erase unwanted blemishes by inhibiting melanin, which gives your skin its color. Skin lightening products are formulated to eliminate dark spots and restore the skin's natural color. The most widely used ingredient in skin lighteners sold in the U.S. is hydroquinone. Used once- or twice daily, you can honestly expect a skin-lightening product with hydroquinone to produce visible results within 2–3 months if you use it consistently. Results for some people can show up even sooner. Hydroquinone is available both over-the-counter and via prescription in more potent concentrations. Make sure an over-the-counter skin lightener with hydroquinone has no more than 2% of that chemical.


Additionally, the highest strength that is commercially available with a prescription is a hydroquinone 4% cream. A hydroquinone cream with 6, 8, or 10 percent can only be obtained from a compounding pharmacy with a prescription.


According to Carlos Charles, MD, dermatologist and founder of Derma di Colore in NYC, hydroquinone is safe — when used correctly. "Hydroquinone has been in use for years for treating various types of skin hyperpigmentation. When used appropriately, it can be a safe and effective topical agent for treating hyperpigmentation," Dr. Charles says.


Other skin lighteners use drugs such as steroids and retinoic acid, which comes from vitamin A, as active ingredients. Some skin lighteners use natural ingredients such as kojic acid -- a compound that comes from a fungus -- and arbutin, a compound found in various plants.


Exfoliants and chemical peels like alpha-hydroxy acids or vitamin C can also inhibit melanin production and encourage skin cell regeneration by removing the top layer of your skin. Leaving that fresh skin exposed to harmful solar radiation and environmental pollutants.


Medical Treatments

Among all the skin lightening products that are available in the market, laser technology has been proven to be the most effective way to get the radiant and younger looking skin. It is the most expensive, yet most impactful treatment to reduce dark spots. 


Laser skin lightening or IPL (intense pulsed light) is a medical procedure in which concentrated beams of short pulsed light are cast upon the targeted areas of skin to remove unwanted, irregular, and damaged skin. The energy generated by the light penetrates the dermal layers below the skin's surface and begins to address the melanin that is causing the spots. IPL is a suitable way to treat both brown skin pigmentation (sun damage and hormone related melasma) as well as red skin pigmentation (e.g., rosacea and fine thread veins). 


When done properly, IPL almost always consists of a series of 3-5 treatments, usually one every 2-4 weeks. The benefits of IPL treatments are achieved with little discomfort and minimal risk.


Skin lightening helps you to achieve that even skin tone we desire, by getting rid of dark spots or discoloration. It is super important to be knowledgeable about the products you are using to achieve the desired results. Many people want brighter, glowy even-toned skin. Skin of color has to be careful with lightning because it can produce irregular patches of pigmentation. Therefore, you want to take a gentle and cautious approach. Don't rush the lightening process, use products specific to skin type, and keep skin hydrated to maintain a healthy balance.