Skin Brightening Creams: Ingredients, Advantages, Disadvantages & More

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

Skin brightening is one of the most commonly used technique to fight skin pigmentation and create a better looking and healthier skin. It is usually done using commercial skin brightening creams although it can also be achieved through various medical processes like chemical peeling or using home made products such as lemon.

Skin Brightening Creams

What is a Skin Brightener Cream?

A skin brightener cream is basically a product that contains various ingredients designed to affect the skin in a certain way. When these ingredients are mixed in certain proportions they have the end effect of lightening the skin’s complexion and getting rid of various pigmentation issues such a sun spots and freckles. Most skin brightening creams are commercial and can be bought over-the-counter as opposed to medical skin brightening procedures or home-made skin brighteners.

What are the Effective Ingredients in it?

For a skin brightening cream to be effective in its function, it has to contain certain key ingredients. These ingredients are the ones which interact with the skin to produce the desired effect. The most effective ingredients include;

  • Vitamin A: Also referred to as Retinol, vitamin A suppresses melanin production and also improves skin regeneration thus making the skin look younger and more radiant.
  • Mulberry: Gotten from the mulberry plant and specifically the roots of the plant, this ingredient has been shown to inhibit tyrosinase (an enzyme crucial in the melanin production process) thus effectively reducing pigmentation.
  • Papaya Extracts: This is a natural ingredient whose main function is to exfoliate the skin. Skin exfoliation means that the dull upper skin layer composed of dead skin cells is gotten rid of to expose the lighter skin below.
  • Vitamin B3 or Niacinamide: In addition to being an anti-inflammatory and an anti-oxidant, Vitamin B3 also inhibits the production of melanin.
  • Beta Arbutin: Like most ingredients of skin brightener creams, beta arbutin which goes by the simpler term, bearberry extract, also affects tyrosinase production and in the process reduces the amount of melanin produced in the skin.
  • Vitamin C: This is an all round ingredients that not only benefits the skin, but also the whole body in general. As for its effects on the skin, Vitamin C is well known for its anti-aging and skin nourishing effects. It is also an antioxidant which simply means that it gets rid of harmful toxic substances from the skin and body. In addition it also interferes with the production of melanin-producing enzyme, tyrosinase which in turn inhibits melanin production.
  • Licorice Extract: It is also a tyrosinase inhibiting ingredient. It is extracted from the roots of the licorice plant.

Of course different skin brightener creams make use of a variety of ingredients, some of which are not mentioned above. The ones mentioned however, are considered to be both effective and safe.

How Skin Brightener Creams Work?

Melanin is the element that gives color to the skin. It is produced through a process called melanogenesis. At times, the production and distribution of melanin on the skin is uneven resulting in uneven skin pigmentation. Skin brightening creams aim to eliminate this. They do it by interfering with the production of tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is the enzyme that is responsible for melanogenesis or melanin production. Once tyrosinase is reduced or eliminated, melanogenesis cannot take place at a certain point on the skin (the point where the cream is applied). With no melanin being produced pigmentation does not occur.

The above is the main function of skin brighteners. Manufacturers have however ensured that skin brightening creams also provide other benefits such as anti-aging and skin nourishing. This ensures that even after skin brightening, the skin maintains its youthful and radiant appearance.

Advantages of Skin Brightening Creams

  • Skin blemishes are either reduced in intensity or they are gotten rid of altogether. As the cream lightens the skin, it also removes various skin marks caused by uneven melanin distribution. Some of these blemishes include sunspots, age spots and freckles.
  • Anti-Aging: As mentioned before, most skin brighteners also have anti-aging effects. This keeps the skin looking young and beautiful.
  • Skin Nourishment: The skin is kept healthy through a variety of ingredients including anti-oxidants.
  • Improved Confidence and Self Esteem: With a brighter and better looking skin, one is bound to feel more confident. This affects even one’s social interactions making them more enriching. In the long run you may find that the promotion you got or that good deep relationship you got into was as a result of the increased level of confidence.

Disadvantages of Creams

As good as the skin brightening creams are, they also carry their own cons.

  • Side Effects: Different people will experience different side effects depending on skin type and the ingredients found in a specific brightening cream. These side effects can range from mild to very serious.
  • Danger of Using Creams with Dangerous Ingredients: There are specific ingredients that are considered dangerous. Some of them include hydroquinone, ammoniated mercury and alcohol. These substances can have serious far reaching health effects on the body.
  • They May Fail to Work: Sometimes, skin brightener creams may not work on a certain individual thus requiring one to go for more serious measures such as chemical peeling.
  • Expensive: The best and most effective skin brightener creams are usually expensive. Not everyone may be able to afford them. This leads to some people buying cheap and dangerous products.

Can Skin Lightening Creams Remove Freckles, Dark Spots, Pigmentation on the Face?

Yes they can but it all depends on how good the skin lightening cream is. The most effective creams will completely get rid of these blemishes while others may reduce their intensity.

Are Skin Brightener Creams Really Effective for Bright and Glowing Skin?

Yes they are but again you have to make sure that you go for a good skin brightening cream that has been proven to be both safe and effective in brightening the skin. Ultimately, the ingredients are the most important elements of a skin brightening cream. They determine its effectiveness.

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Author

Expert Author : Linda Daniels (Consumer Health Digest)

Linda Daniels is a true creative force, having worked as a seasoned writer, editor and consultant in the fashion and beauty industries. Connect with Linda on Facebook for constant updates to her projects.