Is Skin Lightening Without Bleaching Cream Possible?

I'm black and i have a chocolate complexion. Currently areas of my skin have been discoloured due to exposure to the sun. People have advised me to use bleach creams to solve the problem, but i have discovered that i'd have to use these creams constantly to prevent the darkening from reappearing and if i don't the darkening would even get worse. i'd like a natural and safe remedy. thank you.

Doctor Answers 7

Skin lightening without using a bleaching cream

The long standing option for lightening skin has been the skin bleaching cream hydroquinone. Recently however, a new option has become available, Elure.

Elure is a skin lightening cream that is an enzyme and not a bleach. It works by breaking down the pigment that lready exists in your skin. It also does not carry the same risk of irritation or inflammation that some can experiene with hydroquinone. Nor are you at risk for the issue of grey like pigment in your skin (called ochronosis) that some patients can develop with long term use of hydroquinone.

Regardless of which treatment you undergo, sunscreen is a critical component to maintaining your results

New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Skin lightening without use of Bleaching creams

Unfortunately there is no product or treatment that will permanently affect the skin's color since the skin cells are constantly turning over and are continuously affected by sun exposure and hormonal changes. The safest approach is to use sunscreen multiple times daily to prevent any sun related pigmentation and to use mild agents like glycolic acid, vitamin C, or other fruit acids to help exfoliate the skin and help even out pigmentation. We have a non-bleaching cream called Lytera that works well and avoids some of the risks of prescription hydroquinone, but it still may need to be used on an ongoing basis for the best results.

Dana Goldberg, MD
Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Natural Lightening.

If you wish to avoid use of hydroquinone, consider use of glycolic acid creams or cleansers, Kojic acid 5%, and also vitamin C containing creams and serums. The most important thing to do is avoid sun exposure and use of sunscreen daily, SPF 30 minimum.

Kaleroy Papantoniou, MD, FAAD
Great Neck Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Skin lightening without hydroquinone

There is a whole new category of skin lightening product which represent an alternative to hydroquinone --skin brighteners. Skin brighteners don't bleach normal skin and don't have the safety risks associated with chronic use of hydroquinone, such as ochronosis. They may contain a variety of ingredients such as azeleic acid, vitamin C, kojic acid, arbutin, soy, or the mushroom. extract. Excellent options include Vi Derm HQ Free, Vivte Vibrance and Elure.

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist
3.3 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

There are options

More and more, there are products and procedures that are available to achieve skin brightening, independent of bleaching substances.  In general, they are 1) laser assisted therapy 2) "natural" brightening substances 3) and peeling procedures.  In our practice, best outcome in achieve when two or more of such therapies are used in combination. Having said that, this is a tough condition to improve, specially in those patients with darker skin type.

Chang Son, MD
Englewood Dermatologist
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Chemical peels help lighten type V and VI complexions

I use chemical peels like glycolic acid peels to lighten the complexion. Of course, it does not give the bleached effect, but does give reasonable results. You may have to consider maintenance sessions to sustain the effect. Sunscreen use is a must.

Renita (Lourdhurajan) Rajan, MD, DNB
India Dermatologist
4.9 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

May not be possible.

You may want to try certain types of peels like the Vipeel, and microdermabrasion.  I wouldn't even think about a laser. Other peels may help as well.

Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.