Updated: Nov-23-2021

How To Choose the Best Skin Brighteners

By - Reviewed by CHD Team
Discover the skin brightening creams and serums review to lighten dark spots and achieve gorgeous skin.
best skin brighteners
The best skin brighteners for reducing dark spots. Shutterstock Images

What is a Skin Brightener?

A skin brightener is a cream or serum that has the ability to lighten the skin. People tend to use it most often on their hands and face. The primary reason for this is that lightening the skin is an effective way of diminishing skin discoloration marks and/or age spots. There are also people who use it because they think that lighter skin makes them look younger and gives their skin a special glow.

The cream works by inhibiting the amount of melanin that's produced in your skin. According to Science Direct, Melanin is responsible for skin pigmentation. The higher the level of melanin, the darker your skin. By decreasing the amount of melanin that's produced, the cream effectively lightens the skin.

One warning is to avoid creams that contain mercury, since this substance can be toxic and may lead to mercury poisoning (source). It's particularly dangerous to an unborn fetus. There are some companies that have included it in their product, as it's a great skin lightening ingredient. Avoid such products!

Our Recommended Skin Brightener

No7 Lift & Luminate Serum

No7 Lift & Luminate Serum is an anti-aging skincare product that promises to deliver excellent anti-aging results to make the skin appear more radiant and younger-looking.

You can BUY it directly from the Official WebSiteRead Full Review

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Latest Skin Brighteners

What Ingredients To Look For In A Skin Brightening and Lightening Product?

Skin brightening works by decreasing the amount of melanin available in the skin cells. There are quite a number of substances that are known to be effective whiteners.

Here are a few of them listed below.

  • Hydroquinone: The first substance is hydroquinone, which is very effective at suppressing melanin. It's a strong ingredient, and you definitely shouldn't use more than 2%. Hydroquinone is also rich in anti-oxidants, making it very healthy for the immune system[1]. There are, however, fewer potential side effects, and some companies do not include it in their product.
  • Tretinoin: This substance is a retinoic acid, and it is moderately effective at diminishing the impact of marks and discoloration on the skin (source). However, it makes the skin very sensitive to UV rays, so if you use it you have to avoid sunlight.
  • Kojic Acid: This substance is a by product of malted rice. In order to lighten your skin it suppresses an enzyme that's crucial in the production of melanin, decreasing the amount of melanin available in the skin cells. There is a comparative study of the efficacy of 4% hydroquinone vs 0.75% kojic acid cream in the treatment of facial melasma.
  • Arbutin: This is extracted from the leaves of a plant called the bearberry. It is one of the most effective substances available for lightening the skin (source), and it's found in nature. It also works by suppressing an enzyme that is essential to the production of melanin.
  • Azelaic Acid: It has the amazing ability to soothe redness and irritation. In addition, it will lighten up the tone of your skin and also even out your skin tone (source).
  • Vitamin C: This key vitamin works to lighten the skin and is rich in anti-oxidants that are very skin-healthy[2].

What Do Skin Brighteners Really Do To Your Skin?

woman face half tan

Skin Brightener can minimize the appearance of discoloration, age spots, blotchy areas and dark circles. Shutterstock Images

The majority of ingredients in the skin brighteners, lightening and brightening creams, work in the same manner. They have a mechanism which suppresses the production of melanin. Melanin is responsible for skin pigmentation. As the amount of this substance in your skin cells increases, your skin gets darker.

Similarly, less melanin means lighter skin. If you suppress the production of melanin so that much less is available in your skin cells, your skin will get lighter.

Does Skin Whitening Cream Really Work?

Many skin whitening creams[3] do work very effectively, but it depends completely on the ingredients used in the product.

Check the ingredient list carefully to see if one or more of the ingredients mentioned in this review are included. There are numerous substances that perform the task of lightening the skin rather well. Therefore, you're likely to find one that does work effectively.

Final Thoughts

There are numerous substances that are able to lighten the skin, mostly through the process of diminishing the amount of melanin available in the skin cells.

Most people use skin lightening products because they want to get rid of dark discoloration marks on their skin, acne scars, or age spots. Due to the fact that there are so many substances that effectively lighten the skin, if you do your research carefully you should be able to find one that's both effective and safe.

Remember to avoid products that include mercury, particularly if you're pregnant.


[1] Hydroquinone - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroquinone
[2] Vitamin C: MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/vitaminc.html
[3] Skin whitening - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin_whitening

**This is a subjective assessment based on the strength of the available informations and our estimation of efficacy.

*Result may vary. The information contained in this website is provided for general informational purpose. No medical claims are implied in this content, and the information herein is not intended to be used for self diagnosis or self treatment of any condition.

*Disclosure of Material connection: Some of the links in the post above are "associate sales links." This means if you can click on the link and purchase an item, we will receive a commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services which we use personally and/or believe will add value to our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials."

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