Using skin lighteners in a bid to remove age spots and other problematic dark patches of skin caused by the sun is no new thing to hit the beauty world, that’s for sure! Even before the days of Kinerase and alpha-hydroxy acids, various formulations were used in a bid to lighten the skin, which is perhaps why these days there is such a market for products like this, especially among older women.
Just in case you wanted to know, the technical name for this discoloration of the skin is melasma. There – you learned something new today!
These days, you are likely to find that most products that are designed to lighten the skin in some shape or form contain hydroquinone, and usually at around two percent. This has been shown to be fairly successful in skin lightening because it changes the way the darker pigments on the skin are formed – these pigments are known as melanin.
One note that you should probably take into account if you are seriously looking at lightening any patch of the skin on your body is that any ratio of this hydroquinone over 2% is going to be very bad for you and could cause burning, irritation, allergies, hyper pigmentation and scarring; this defeats the point in using the cream to become more beautiful in the first place! Doctors and other professionals can prescribe formulations of this ingredient up to four percent, but as you can very well imagine, this is used under the close eye of a doctor, and is only presented to people with a very bad problem that lighter formulas didn’t help with. Of course, you are going to have to expect much slower results with the 2% formulas, so your expectations of using the products themselves shouldn’t be overly high.
Another thing that you are most definitely going to want to know about when using products that contain this ingredient is that they should only be used with the right sun protection, and when you think about it, this makes sense because the damage by the sun on your skin is technically what you are trying to un-do! Also – do try not to get it into your eyes. If this stuff is powerful enough to play around with the pigmentation on your skin, can you imagine what it will do to your poor eyes!
If you have dark sun spots that are driving you to distraction, you could always look upon the assistance of something called tretinoin preparations. This is a much slower version of events however, with a 0.1% formula taking up to as many as 24 weeks to show improvement, although the improvement itself has been fairly positive in most studies. To be completely honest with you ladies, the use of this ingredient is not yet clearly understood by scientists, but it is thought that it works by playing with the levels of pigmentation found in the epidermis layer of the skin.
You may have heard of using various chemical peels in a bid to change the appearance of dark sun-caused spots on the skin, and as we mentioned earlier, the main ingredient contained within these is usually alpha hydroxy acids. As the name suggests – this is an acid and should not be played with lightly. The initial reactions to the acids are going to be stinging of the skin, as you would probably expect, but in cases where too much has been used, or it has been left on the skin for too long a time period, you can expect to see much more frightening results, which again, goes against the idea of using them to get beautiful in the first place!
As a general rule, it would be pretty safe to say that you are going to need to do your research on this topic before you choose to do anything about the dark spots on your skin, and where possible, always consult the advice from a doctor or other medical professional before you apply anything to your skin at all. It is all very good and well us throwing around words such as kojic acid and azelaic acid, (two acids that are showing “promising” results, and glycolic acid or tretinoin, but when it comes down to it, you can never really be sure of what you are putting on your skin and how safe or healthy it is going to be. You are taking the risk when using any beauty product, especially those that are dramatically changing the way that you look, (even if done so over a slow period of time) so always think before you act and make sure that you are getting your “stuff” from a reliable and reputable source! The lecture is over now, ladies!