Image: Coline Haslé
Everyone wants to look younger and the best way to do that is to have healthy, glowing skin. Stress, sun and the environment can leave our skin looking less than vibrant and, older than it should. One of the biggest culprits is uneven skin tone.
Whether it’s from age spots, freckles or discoloration, unevenness in tone can make skin look tired.
A research study from the Ludwig-Boltzmann Institute, found that skin tone can be just as important to a youthful look as the absence of wrinkles. According to Dr. Bernhard Fink, co-author of the study, “Whether a woman is 17 or 70, the contrast of skin tone plays a signiﬁcant role in the way her age, beauty, and health is perceived.”
That’s why many women look to skin lighteners to even out areas darkened by skin exposure, pregnancy or age.
There are so many different products on the market that promise results, that it’s important to know how to choose the one that’s right for you and then how to use it to maximize its effectiveness while minimizing harmful reactions.
What Is The Difference Between Skin Brightening, Lightening, And Whitening?
Although all three types of products can lighten skin, they are very different.
Skin brighteners make your skin look healthier by using exfoliants to expose your skin’s own radiance. Sloughing off dead skin cells not only improves your skin’s natural regeneration process, but it leaves behind a more even skin tone.
Skin lighteners take this process one step farther by adding ingredients that inhibit the skin’s production of melanin. They range from the strongest, a chemical called hydroquinone, to more natural ingredients like kojic acid, licorice and Vitamin C. Since the amount of melanin you have in your skin determines the natural color of your skin, the more melanin you have, the darker your skin. These ingredients slow the production of melanin, enabling users to lighten their skin a little at a time. It’s important to continue to use sunscreen when using a lightening cream because the sun can irritate treated skin or cause reactions.
Skin whiteners actually bleach the color out of the skin. Because whiteners contain harsh chemicals, they should be avoided, because they can cause serious irritation and hyperpigmentation.
Two ingredients that are found in many lighters and whiteners, hydroquinone and mercury have been banned in many countries and can be dangerous. Hydroquinone is still used by some dermatologists in small concentrations, but only under a doctor’s care.
How Do Lightening Creams Help You Look Younger?
We already know that skin lighteners help you look younger by lightening the dark or uneven areas of your skin. But why does lighter skin look younger? A dark area on the skin can look like a shadow, making that part of your face look sunken in, instead of plump, healthy and younger. Lightening these areas can help to restore that look.
The Best Way To Apply Lightening Cream
If you are using an over the counter or prescription product that comes with directions, follow the directions exactly as written.
Here are some general guidelines.
- First, cleanse your skin removing any makeup and moisturizer.
- Exfoliate your skin, rinse it off with warm water and dry it with a soft cloth. This will help the lightening cream get directly to the live skin cells without having to get through a layer of dead skin. Some lightening creams come as part of a three part lightening system, which includes a lightening wash, an exfoliator and lightening cream.
- Make sure to carefully apply the cream, only to the spots that you want to lighten, not to surrounding areas.
- You should avoid sensitive areas on your face, like the area surrounding your eyes, your nose and your lips.
- Gently apply the cream with your fingertips in a circular motion directly onto the spot or area you want to lighten.
- Leave the cream as long as directed, then rinse it with warm water, rather than wiping it off, which can cause irritation.
Use the lightener as often as directed, until the area you are treating matches your normal skin tone. After that, switch to a cream that is not as strong, like a glycolic acid or retinol to maintain the evenness of tone.
If dark areas on your face are making you look older, using a safe and gentle lightener may be the perfect way to melt those years away.
On top of lightening creams, doing facial exercises regularly can help in giving you a more youthful look. You can find different types of facial exercises depending on the area you want to work on, on our website.