Skin Lightening Overview

Skin whitening and lightening is considered a treatment option for hyperpigmentation, i.e. darkened areas of skin in the form of melasma, age spots, and sometimes freckles.  Skin lightening, or skin bleaching, is often sought to repair sun damaged skin.

In some cultures, skin bleaching is considered the path to achieving a pale or lighter skin tone and color. Individuals usually lighten skin through topical skin bleaching with a chemical agent, although certain cosmetic procedures, such as chemical peels, may also be able to lighten a person's complexion.

Skin whitening and lightening treatment

ViPeel: Doctors on RealSelf report treating darkly pigmented areas of the face and body with the ViPeel, a chemical peel formula with a combination of ingredients that work synergistically to achieve the skin improvement you desire.

Topical hydroquinone is one of the most popular agents for bleaching the skin to reduce the appearance of conditions such as melasma or chloasma. It is frequently combined with Retin-A to enhance its bleaching effects. Due to the irritating nature of both of these agents, topical steroids are commonly added to minimize the inflammation. Hydroquinone (HQ) has a long history of safety when used properly, but should not be used when pregnant or in the process of conceiving.

Hydroquinone products are available over the counter in 2% concentrations, which are generally weak, but useful in mild cases of hyperpigmentation. As a prescribed medication hydroquinone is commonly prepared in 3-7% concentrations. Here are a few quick facts and tips about HQ.

  • When using HQ, it is crucial to avoid sun exposure and apply sunscreen at all times.
  • You should notify your doctor of any other medical conditions especially kidney or liver disease.
  • Sometimes HQ can cause skin irritation and should therefore be avoided if you suffer from inflammatory skin conditions.
  • In 2007, the FDA generated alot of negative publicity when it considered recalling the product due to concerns with cancer and ochronosis ( a pigmented condition of the skin). The reports were sufficiently rare that the FDA abandoned the recall.

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