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When it comes to skincare, achieving flawless skin that radiates youthfulness is what everyone aims for. Skiing lightening products are gaining popularity not only because they cater to a vast population obsessed with fairness but also because they now offer a range of solutions other than skin lightening. Reducing fine lines and signs of ageing, getting rid of age spots, and doing away with blemishes and uneven skin tone are some of the varied solutions that you can expect from your skin-lightening cream. As we approach the fag end of 2023, let us look into what really worked this year.

Skin Lightening- Understanding The Science

In a world where beauty equals fairness, skin-lightening creams are bound to sell like hotcakes. Before you buy a product that promises to make you fair and beautiful, it is important to understand how these creams work. A dark skin tone is the result of hyperpigmentation, a condition that is caused by an increase in the production of the colouring pigment ‘melanin’. The skin-lightening creams work in various ways to restrict the synthesis of melanin. Thus helping to even out the skin tone and reduce blemishes and dark spots.

Choosing The Right Product

Having fair skin has been the gold standard for beauty for ages. With several products claiming to lighten your skin in a record time, you will be left confused as to what would be the right product to choose. Read along to learn about the various ingredients in skin-lightening creams and how they work, so that you choose something that suits your skin best and works optimally for you.
  • Tranexamic Acid: This ingredient has gained immense popularity in recent times. It works to lighten your skin by reducing dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Tranexamic acid works by inhibiting the transfer of melanin within the skin. This helps to lighten the skin tone in the dark areas and gives a smooth even-toned skin.
  • Niacinamide: Commonly known as Vitamin B3, niacinamide is a versatile agent that has multiple benefits to offer. Niacinamide inhibits the transfer of melanin, the colour pigment, into the surface of the skin. This effectively lightens the dark spots, age spots, freckles, and sun damage. As a result, you get clean, even-toned skin. Niacinamide has cooling and soothing effects on skin that is irritated and inflamed. It is an excellent choice for people with sensitive skin, who are prone to sunburns and get freckles easily.
  • Alpha Arbutin: A recent find, alpha arbutin is gaining more and more popularity due to its effectiveness and low rate of side-effects. Alpha arbutin is derived from the bearberry plant. It works by inhibiting the enzyme Tyrosinase, which is a crucial enzyme involved in the process of melanin synthesis. Alpha arbutin works wonderfully to reduce the hyperpigmentation of your skin and gives results minus the side effects.
  • Hydroquinone: This is a very potent depigmenting agent that targets the enzyme responsible for the production of melanin. It is available over-the-counter in low doses. Higher doses require a prescription as hydroquinone use requires clinical monitoring as the side effects of this product can be distressing.
  • Kojic Acid: This agent is obtained from a specific type of fungi. It inhibits the synthesis of melanin pigments. Kojic acid works wonders for spot reduction of hyperpigmented skin, as in dark spots, melasma and age spots. When used in combination with other topical agents, kojic acid gives excellent results.
  • Vitamin C: Ascorbic Acid, commonly known as Vitamin C, is a powerful antioxidant agent. It inhibits the production of melanin in the skin. This makes vitamin C a wonderful skin-lightening and depigmenting agent. Vitamin C is a common ingredient in almost all creams that work for skin lightening and brightening.
  • Licorice Root Extract: Licorice root extract has an active agent present in it, called glabridin. This glabridin is responsible for interfering in the synthesis of melanin. It neutralises the action of tyrosinase enzymes. Licorice root extract is a wonderful ingredient for treating hyperpigmented, dark, uneven skin tone.
  • Retinoids: Retinoids are primarily used for their anti-ageing benefits. However, their action on the cells causes exfoliation and an increase in cell production. This can lead to the clearing off of the hyperpigmented cells and in their place fresh cells turn up. This gives a fresh, bright and even-toned look to your face.
  • Glycolic Acid: This is a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that helps in exfoliation. Exfoliation is a process where the dead and damaged cells of the upper layer of the skin are scrubbed off, revealing fresh cells beneath. Glycolic acid-containing products are useful for skin that is mildly hyperpigmented with few dark spots.
  • Azelaic Acid: This is a medicinal agent derived from grains. It has anti-inflammatory as well as depigmenting properties. This makes azelaic acid the medicine of choice for skin lightening and hyperpigmentation in people with sensitive, inflamed skin.
  • Mulberry Extract: Derived from the mulberry plant, the mulberry extract contains an active ingredient called arbutin. Arbutin is known for its skin-lightening properties. Products containing mulberry extracts work by lowering the production of melanin by inhibiting the action of tyrosinase.
While incorporating any skin-lightening product into your daily skincare routine, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The first one is sun protection. Using a skin-lightening cream and skipping the sunscreen will be a counteractive step. Always remember to use an efficient sunscreen and protect your skin from the sun while stepping out. Exposure to the sun is one of the main reasons for increased melanin production and hyperpigmentation. The second one is patience and consistency. Even though your television commercial promises you the desired results in as less as four weeks, remember that it may take longer. You have to be dedicated to your routine and be patient till you see results. Even though skin-lightening creams work like magic, they do not give results overnight.
Skin-lightening creams are available easily as over-the-counter products. Most of the time, these products contain a mixture of several ingredients that work in different ways to reduce hyperpigmentation. The individual responses to these products will vary based on the skin sensitivity and the issue being addressed. There are several skin-lightening creams that you can choose from, but the correct information regarding these methods is scarce. Before opting for a product for skin lightening, you must consult a dermatologist and get an expert opinion on what product will be suitable for your needs.

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