They say “Love yourself, regardless of your physical appearance.” Even Miss Angola Leila Lopes, who won the coveted Miss Universe Crown in 2011, reminds everyone that skin color doesn’t define what true beauty is. The beauty product company, Dove, famous for their lotion-infused soaps, even released various campaigns encouraging women to love and accept the skin they’re in.
So why is it that so many people, particularly the youth, are obsessed with natural skin bleaching and are willing to do whatever it takes to whiten their skin? Here are 15 reasons why natural skin bleaching products and treatments is a big deal these days. We’ll also take a closer look at skin bleaching and the various skin bleaching methods.
Don’t miss the end where you’ll find the most important tip you should remember about your skin.
1. Debunking Your Dermis: The Ingredient That Determines Your Skin Color
Before you go through the world of skin bleaching, it is important that you get to know what determines your skin color.
Say hello to melanin.
Your skin color is dependent on melanin, a type of pigment produced by specialized cells called melanocytes. This pigment is also responsible for giving your hair, eyes and skin their individual color. This follows that the more melanin you have in your skin, the darker your coloring will be.
As to how much melanin you have in your body depends on your genetic makeup. If white skin runs in your family, then there is a higher possibility that you will have whiter skin, as well.
Your genetic makeup is not the only factor affecting your skin color and the amount of melanin your body makes. In fact, there are other factors that could affect melanin production and make your skin either lighter or darker such as:
- Hormones and genetic background.
- Exposure to sunlight and other forms of UV rays.
- Any damage to your skin.
- Exposure to certain chemicals.
The question now is can you get your skin color and/or tone back? The answer is yes. Changes in your skin color will often resolve themselves, especially uneven tone; however, there are some techniques you use to bring your skin color back. Here’s the catch: it may take some time before your skin goes back to its original color.
This leads to skin bleaching.
2. A Closer Look at the World of Skin Bleaching
Let us define more terms aside from melanin. Before you consider trying it, you need get to know what skin bleaching is, how it works, and what to watch out for in the process of lightening or evening out your skin tone.
Skin bleaching is a type of cosmetic practice of using either natural or chemical substances in an attempt to do the following:
- Lighten skin tone.
- Provide a more even skin complexion.
- Suppress or lessen melanin production to avoid further darkening.
In other words, the primary purpose of skin lightening is to limit melanin production, which makes your skin lighter.
Is there anything wrong with this? Not necessarily. However, the danger lies in the skin bleaching agents you plan to use to make your skin whiter for a certain amount of time, which will be discussed in detail below.
3. The Magic of Skin Lightening: Understanding Your Options
You were acquainted with melanin, the pigment responsible for your skin color. You also know what skin bleaching is and the purpose for such procedure.
Here’s the next question: how exactly do skin lighteners work?
Skin lighteners contain bleaching ingredients, either one or a combination of lightening agents, which reduce melanin in the specific area where it is applied. There are various bleaching ingredients that can aid you in this process such as hydroquinone, retinol, and kojic acid. There are also various methods you can choose from to even your skin tone.
- Chemical Peels
- Laser Skin Lightening
Unfortunately, these procedures and ingredients come with risks, which you will find out in the next section.
4. Defend Your Dermis: Understanding the Risks of Skin Lightening
Chemical or natural skin bleaching, whether for black skin or other skin tones may be effective, especially when you use the right kind of skin whitening agent. In fact, it could lighten dark spots for a more even skin tone.
Here’s the thing: lightening agents like hydroquinone are ideal for small areas of your skin only, and not your entire body. Consequently, one study revealed that one in every four skin lightener products from Asia contained mercury. This could lead to the following risks and side effects, such as:
- Premature aging of skin, especially when used long term.
- Many skin lighteners contain steroids, which increase your risk of infection, thinning, and poor wound healing.
- Permanent and untreatable skin discolorations.
- May cause allergic reactions or skin irritation.
- Increases your risk of developing health problems from steroid ingredients.
Because of these risks, many women are making a switch to natural skin bleaching techniques. Keep reading to learn more about natural skin lightening and decide whether it is best for your skin.
Speaking of bleaching ingredients, let’s take a look at the most common yet most natural skin bleaching agent, which is also a favorite among women today.
5. A Sunny Skin Lightening Agent and Nature’s Gift to Mankind
Here’s a simple task for you: search two to three articles about skin lightening and find out the most common ingredients. If you noticed, you will always find lemon juice skin lightening in the list. This is because lemon is one, if not the most effective lightening ingredient from Mother Nature.
What’s with lemon? This is what makes lemon juice ideal for skin lightening:
- Natural antioxidants.
- Rich in vitamin C, which helps clear dark spots and patches on your skin.
- Helps reduce melanin production.
- Contains citric acid, which is known to whiten and gently exfoliates your skin to get rid of dead skin cells.
Here are few simple ways you can use lemon juice for skin lightening:
- Soak a clean cotton ball in lemon juice and apply it on your skin. Leave it on for 20 minutes then rinse with warm water.
- Mix one tablespoon each of lemon juice, tomato juice, sandalwood paste and cucumber juice until it forms into paste. Apply on your skin for 15 to 20 minutes then rinse with warm water.
Aside from lemon, there are other ingredients that could help lighten your skin. The next section will discuss about the other natural skin bleaching agents.
6. Common Natural Skin Bleaching Ingredients
Here is a secret: lemon can be too much for your skin to handle, especially if you apply a lot on your skin or have used it too often. It can also be problematic if you spend a lot of time under the sun.
Is there an alternative? The answer is yes. Check out these other natural skin bleaching agents:
- Yogurt – This milk by-product contains lactic acid that has bleaching properties.
- Honey – Its antibacterial properties helps fade age spots, bleaches your skin, and acts as a moisturizing agent.
- Oranges – Just like lemon, orange’s vitamin C content is known to lighten your skin and even your skin tone.
- Aloe Vera – This herb has cooling effect that aids in new cell regeneration, rebuilds damaged tissue, and improves hyperpigmentation to get back your skin color.
- Oatmeal – It helps exfoliate your skin, thereby gets rid of the old skin cells and out with the new ones.
- Gram Flour – This is one of the best natural skin lightening ingredients because of its various nutrients that helps keep your skin healthy.
- Turmeric – Helps maintain the right levels of melanin in your skin to maintain an even skin tone.
- Papaya – This tropical fruit contains papain, a natural bleaching agent, and brings glow back to your skin.
- Cucumber – This natural food binds collagen and makes sure that your skin remains smooth, firm, and supple.
Simple Natural Skin Bleaching Recipes
Here are some simple natural skin bleaching recipes for you to try at home:
- Cucumber-Lemon Rinse: Mix one teaspoon each of cucumber juice and lemon juice. Apply on your face for 10 to 15 minutes then rinse with warm water. Make sure to do this everyday, preferably at nighttime.
- Papaya Rub: After eating papaya, rub the inner part skin on your face and let it dry. Wash your face with cold water after.
- Bedtime Honey Mask: Before bedtime, apply pure honey on your face and let it stay for five minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.
Now that you know what skin bleaching can offer, the question now is this: why do people, especially women spend thousands of dollars just to go through this process?
Blame it on the media, those high-powered marketing firms, or the perception of society on those with different skin tones. The succeeding sections will tell you about why skin bleaching is popular these days and why more women are making a switch to natural skin bleaching remedies.
These home remedies have become so popular, many articles feature natural skin bleaching for black skin, even though the general goal for those with dark skin is to have a smoother, more evenly-toned color overall.
7. The Global Skin Crisis: A Growing Skin Bleaching Addiction That Needs Rehab
Let’s face it. Not everyone in the planet was born with white skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. In case you belong to the darker scale, you will always fee l pressured to do something to change your color. Admit it. You are always tempted to reach out for that cream that says, “Skin White” on it.
That is what’s happening to people, especially women in many African countries.
Here is the surprising part: it turns out even countries in Asia like Philippines, India, and Middle East had vast number of whitening-obsessed followers. Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are also doing the same and giving into the demands of skin bleaching.
This makes skin bleaching a global phenomenon and a multi-billion dollar business. Consequently, many cosmetic companies incorporate and sell products aimed at “lightening your skin.”
The question is, why?
The next section will look into this concern further, so keep reading until the end.
8. Toxic Beauty Standard: Where White Is More Beautiful
This is perhaps the foundation why skin bleaching is popular: toxic beauty standards. Societies from all around the globe associate lighter skin with beauty and power, thereby creating a psychological impact among people to color their skin and make them whiter.
That’s not all. Skin bleaching today symbolizes psychological issues like self-esteem and self-perception that plagued the world since international slavery. Because of this, many people, especially women feel pressured to avail of lightening products in the hopes of achieving the “fair skin of their dreams.”
Why do women with darker skin do it? It’s because of toxic beauty standard portrayed by the media and pushed on people by clever marketing ploys. Believe it or not, media images of white women greatly influenced African women’s decision to say yes to whiter skin and make them feel more beautiful.
9. The Psychology of Colorism and the Popularity of Skin Bleaching
Have you heard of the term “psychology of colorism?” It turns out that color preference is racial prejudice’s cousin. The difference between the two is that colorism makes distinctions within a nominal racial group instead of across groups. This follows that people attribute more power and higher status to those who belong in the whiter skin category compared to individuals with darker skin.
Consequently, colorism is more prevalent not just in African communities, but also in Asian countries. Believe it or not, there are even billboards that showcased products that could make your skin “glow.” Fairness creams are also popular in India too – and the doctors are not too happy about it.
However, these are not the only reasons why natural skin bleaching is popular. There are few less harmful reasons why many individuals go for this, which you will know more about below.
10. Natural Skin Bleaching Benefits: Minimal Risks
Apart from the dictates of media and society, there are also other reasons why women prefer natural skin bleaching. One of the reasons is the minimal risks involved.
You already know what cosmetic procedures like chemical peel can do to your skin. Although it effectively whitens your skin, there is no assurance that your skin’s health is still in tip-top shape, especially after what it went through and the chemicals it had interaction with.
The solution: go natural.
The good thing about natural skin bleaching is that it is safer on your skin and minimizes risks. There is a slight to zero possibility of exposure to harmful chemical that could damage your skin in the long run. It removes dark spots and dullness in the most natural way without damaging the other parts of your body too.
All Natural Skin Lightening in the Privacy of Your Own Home
You can try this homemade skin lightening remedy, which will surely gently lighten your skin:
- Mix one part raw honey and one part unsweetened, unflavored yogurt. You can also use aloe or mashed avocado and replace honey.
- Spread the mixture on your face and body.
- Let the mixture stay on your skin for 15 minutes then rinse with warm water.
Aside from this, there are other reasons why you should consider natural skin bleaching remedies enumerated below.
11. Natural Skin Bleaching Benefits: Accessibility and Convenience
You might think that being natural means less accessibility and difficult to find ingredients. That’s not true.
Here’s the truth: there are lots of natural skin bleaching ingredients that you can find inside the supermarket. You can even go to a local market near you and you can find lemons, oranges, potatoes and even aloe vera, which you can use to lighten dark spots. In case you need specialty items such as raw honey, health food stores and legitimate websites sell one.
In other words, skin lightening won’t give you a headache and even offers you easy-to-find alternatives. You can always get your supply during your Saturday errands and make your own bleaching recipe such as what you will learn below.
A Luscious Lemon Milk Soak for Whiter Skin
This is ideal if you want a soothing full-body lightening treatment. At the same time, this lemon milk soak moisturizes your skin and gently lightens it. Here’s what you can do:
- Run warm water in your tub.
- Pour one cup of full-fat milk and the juice from one lemon.
- Swirl the mixture so that the ingredients will be spread evenly in the tub.
- Soak yourself in bath for at least 20 minutes.
- Rinse with cool water.
- Do this once a week and you will notice an improvement in your skin within a month.
12. Natural Skin Bleaching Benefits: Cost-Effective
Here is the best part and perhaps the deciding factor why many women opt for natural skin bleaching: it is cheaper compared to the other lightening treatments available.
If you notice, half-kilo of lemon or few aloe leaves won’t cost you hundreds of dollars as opposed to lightening products or thousands of dollars for laser skin whitening procedure. You are even able to save a good amount of cash on other equally important expenses.
The challenge now is looking for the right natural ingredient that will work best on your skin.
13. Warning: The Not-So-Good Sides of Natural Skin Bleaching
Yes, you read that right. Even the word “natural” comes with certain side effects, too. The consolation is the risks and effects are less harmful compared to the chemical substances found in many bleaching products.
Here are the cons of using natural skin bleaching ingredients:
- Allergies: There is a possibility of developing allergic reactions, even to natural ingredients.
- Sensitivity: For people with sensitive skin, using natural foods high in vitamin C may cause a rash, irritation, and burning sensation.
- Measurements: The sizes of the natural ingredients like lemon, orange, and potato differ, which means the concentration may differ, too.
- Patience: The effects of natural skin bleaching may take longer to see and more effort on your part before you notice any changes in your skin.
What’s the bottom line? Natural skin bleaching could cause adverse reactions on your skin, especially if you use the wrong ingredients or are not too careful. This is why it important to consult your dermatologist if you are planning to incorporate skin bleaching in your daily routine to minimize side effects.
Speaking of side effects, the next section will tell you about some tips to keep them at their minimum.
14. Before You Say Yes to One of These Skin Bleaching Methods
Let’s face it. Skin bleaching comes with good sides too, especially if you use it for the right reasons. Still, this doesn’t mean you have nothing to worry about. Prevention is and will always be better than cure, so here are tips and precautions to keep in mind before using any skin bleaching agent:
- Educate Yourself: Take note and make an effort to read the ingredients in the label.
- Talk to Your Doctor: Discuss your plans and goals with your dermatologist about using skin bleaching products, regardless if it is natural.
- Limit Your Dosage: If you prefer to use over-the-counter skin lightener like hydroquinone, stick to not more than two percent concentration.
- Test First: Always test a natural skin bleaching agent in small parts of your skin before committing to it. This is to check any adverse reaction and allow you to move on to the next ingredient in case you are allergic to it.
- Be Aware: Pay attention to your skin’s reaction after using skin lightening agents.
The list is endless when it comes to skin bleaching. Don’t compromise your skin’s overall health and look for alternatives to prevent long-term complications.
15. The Most Important Skin Care Tip You Should Remember
Above all the benefits and risks that come with skin bleaching, here is the most important tip you should remember: love your skin.
Skin bleaching has its pros and cons, depending on which side of the scale you belong. For some, it is necessary, while there are many others who simply want a change in their appearance. Whatever your reasons are for going through skin bleaching, keep in mind that real beauty is not defined by your skin color.
Admit it. You feel in love with how Lupita Nyong’o looked in the red carpet. However, it’s not the dress that made her stand out. It’s her attitude and confidence that made her look beautiful despite being different, at least in terms of skin color.
Never mind what the media and the marketers perceive as beautiful. You don’t have to be white before you can claim your beauty. Love your skin and accept who you truly are. Real beauty and confidence will definitely find a way to take over.
The Grass is Always Greener
Where does this all lead? Natural skin bleaching is useful to even skin tone and minimize the appearance of dark spots. Unfortunately, it is not ideal both for long-term use and for your whole body.
Ask any light-skinned person, and they will tell you how much time and money they spend on tanning beds, tanning products and other ways to darken their skin. It seems as if no matter what our skin color is, we want it to be different – either darker or lighter.
Wouldn’t it be far better if we could just accept each other as is? The next time you reach for that whitening soap sold in the market, think about these 15 facts and tidbits about skin lightening to help you decide which the best path is for you. Be sure to try natural skin bleaching first before you opt for something more serious and permanent, such as surgery.