Although the skin has a natural hue, many men and women turn to skin whitening treatment for fairer complexions. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in some countries, most women use skin whitening treatments. For instance, 77 percent of the women in Nigeria are into whitening skin care.
Skin color is determined by the amount of melanin that melanocytes produce. There are three types of melanin namely eumelanin, pheomelanin and neuromelanin. Eumelanin is what gives the skin its dark color while pheomelanin is for fairer shade. Neuromelanin is found only in the brain.
Therefore, skin lightening treatments aim at reversing the action of melanin. The products and procedures for skin whitening treatment either turns eumelanin into pheomelanin, or stops the production of melanin.
Why Do People Undergo Skin Whitening Treatment?
The usual reason why skin lightening treatments are famous is due to the belief that the fairer people are, the more attractive they become.
This, however, is not true in every case. There are many factors surrounding whitening skin care like the ones listed below:
- Racial Discrimination – Although the world is more liberated now, there still are men and women who look down on people who have darker skin tone. Dark-skinned individuals want to break free from this social stigma.
- Negative Self Perception – Some women and even some men do not feel good about themselves. They think that giving their skin a lighter shade would make them more attractive and thus make them happier.
- Peer Pressure Or Fad – This reason is true in adolescents and young adults. There are men and women who get skin lightening treatment because their friends are doing it or are talking them into joining the fad.
- Positive Support From Friends And Family – While not all will encourage a friend or relative to get a boob job, many people support their loved ones in the pursuit of a white skin.
- Medical Reasons – One good example of this is Michael Jackson. He has Vitiligo, a condition where white patches appear on the skin. To even out his complexion rather than look white-spotted, he lightened his skin color.
Modes Of Skin Whitening
In terms of skin whitening treatments, the options are divided into two: natural and synthetic means. Those who want to get whitening skin care from modern science may choose among the following:
- Chemical Peel – This can be done either by the person himself or by a dermatologist.
A chemical is applied on the skin to slough off the outer layer, which reveals the younger and lighter layer beneath.
- Cryotherapy – This involves the use of liquid nitrogen, which is applied to the skin through cotton swabs or sprays.
This freezes the skin cells, which leads to its destruction and forced yet natural regeneration.
- Laser Skin Resurfacing – Concentrated and pulsing light beams are directed at the target area of the skin, removing one layer at a time.
Microdermabrasion – Using a diamond-tipped wand, the layers of sun-damaged and dead skin cells are gently removed. Others call this Diamond peel.
- Dermabrasion – This surgical procedure involves manual scraping of the skin’s top layers. It softens the skin’s sharp edges, so skin specialists use it on areas with scars from wounds or acne.
- Skin Bleaching – Bleaching agents that contain chemicals like Hydroquinone are widely available in the market. They are cheaper than procedures.
- Skin Whitening Injections – Glutathione injections are given through intramuscular injections from a 600-milligram dose to as much as 5,000-milligram dose.
- Papaya Scrub – Unripe green papaya can be peeled and then scrubbed to the portions of the skin to be whitened.
- Milk Salts – Made from milk and other natural ingredients, they can be scrubbed on gently to the skin and left for several minutes. Milk salts are rinsed off with water after.
- Milk Soak – Place a gallon of milk in the tub and soak in it for 25 minutes or longer.
- Sandalwood Paste – Mix sandalwood powder with lemon juice and then apply paste on the target area.
Leave it on for fifteen to twenty minutes and wash with water.
- Egg, Oatmeal, And Lemon Skin Mask – Mix one egg, oatmeal and a little bit of lemon juice to create a paste.
Make more if you want to cover a large portion. Apply this paste on the skin.
Leave to dry for about fifteen minutes and then rinse off with water.
Aside from these DIY skin lightening treatments, here are 5 practices can help whiten skin:
- Protect yourself from the sun. Apply sun block lotions and creams when needed.
Wear a hat and sunglasses. Use an umbrella or wear clothing that limits your skin’s exposure to UV Rays.
- Eat plenty of foods that can help whiten skin and give it a radiant glow like citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, almonds and olives.
- Drink plenty of water and natural fruit juices.
- Take supplements that favor skin whitening. Vitamins C and E supplementation can aid in lightening the shade of the skin.
- Exercise regularly. In many cases, unhealthy skin is an indicator of a dirty system. Sweating can help remove toxins from the body.
To Whiten Or Not To Whiten
Despite the number of people who undergo skin whitening treatments at home or with the help of a professional, this subject is still controversial. Skin whitening treatments, especially the unnatural ones, may cause the following risks:
- Skin Irritation
- Allergic Reactions
- Skin Discoloration either temporary or permanent
- Skin whitening products that contain steroids may cause long-term health problems like low immune system
- Skin thinning, infections, delayed healing of wound and acne
- Higher risk for developing skin cancer related to sun exposure
- Early skin aging
You can do your own skin whitening treatment at home, although it may take longer to see results.
If you want a fast-acting skin lightening treatment that involves procedures or the use of a product, make sure to discuss its safety and efficacy with a skin care expert.
You should check with your doctor before using any treatment, even if it is natural, if you have allergies or any other health condition.