Different ways by which skin lightening can be achieved – Techniques, facts, how it works
Skin lightening is a procedure to give even color to the skin. Around 25 to 80% of women in Asian and African countries use skin lightening procedures. It is mainly performed to depigment the areas of increased pigmentation such as moles, dark spots, acnes scars to match the surrounding skin.
What is the code of skin lightening treatment?
There are different ways by which skin lightening is performed. Whatever be the method of treatment, they aim at one of the following:
- Inhibit the activity of tyrosinase.
- Tyrosinase is the enzyme present in the melanocytes. These cells are the power houses of the skin pigment called melanin. The color of melanin is the color of the skin
- The enzyme controls the production of pigment by the melanocytes. Higher the exposure to sunlight, higher is the damage and hence greater is the enzyme activity. This leads to increased pigmentation at the damaged areas resulting in darkening of the skin in that area.
- Reducing the activity of tyrosinase
- Scavenging the intermediate melanin synthesis products
- Destroying the existing melanin and inducing the production of new melanin
- Preventing transfer of melanosome to keratinocytes. Keratinocytes make the skin thick and rough. They are present in the sole of the feet, knees and in the under arm.
Why are skin lightening considered controversial?
Many wonder if the skin lightening techniques are safe. Seldom many of the skin lightening treatments are considered contentious. This is mainly because of its history. The use of the ingredients hydro quinone, mercury and corticosteroids resulted in catastrophic damages. It resulted in:
- Nerve damage
- Extensive excessive scarring
- Visible blood vessels
- Thinning of the skin
- Darkening of the skin
- Formation of permanent dark patches
However, lately with advancements in technology and increased awareness in using natural products, skin lightening treatment has become safe.
Here are some of the best proven safe methods of skin lightening treatment.
Serum is a protein rich liquid. It induces the production of collagen (a skin protein that helps to keep the skin young and firmer). Skin whitening serums inhibit the production of melanin. When used along with skin whitening creams, it gives better effects. These creams help to cure black spots, acne scars and hyper – pigmentation. One should consult a doctor before using such creams. This is because over usages can lead to irreversible discoloration of the skin.
Many of the whitening serums are rich anti – oxidants. This helps to remove the dry cells. Some of the natural and safe whitening serums are as follows
- Gluthathione – It is already present in the human body unlike other plant extracts. It protects the skin from UV radiation and is a natural anti – oxidant.
- Azelaic acid – It is extracted from natural grains like barley, wheat and rye.
- Arbutin – It is derived from pears, cranberries, blueberries and mulberries.
- Kojic acid – It is prepared from malted rice.
What are the pros and cons of using whitening serums?
- Improves skin elasticity
- It is extremely helpful for oily skin
- It consists of anti – aging properties
- It brightens the skin
- As it has many active agents, the process of new skin formation is rapid.
- Some people face skin irritation and inflammation
- It can even produce burning and stinging sensation
- Some might experience itchy and flaky skin.
Dermabrasion and Micro Dermabrasion
Dermabrasion involves scouring of the uppermost layers of the skin. It is performed by the cosmologists alone. This is because it requires proper tools and training. It is used to treat skin irregularities like brown spots and acne scars and makes the skin smoother.
On the other hand, micro dermabrasion is performed by spraying crystals. These crystals create an abrasive surface that makes it easy to remove the dead skin cells. The performer can even use a suction or vacuum if necessary. Unlike dermabrasion, micro dermabrasion can be performed in spas and salons as well. Skin lightening creams are recommended after the treatment. This is to completely evade the dark spots. They should be used only according to the prescription made by the professional.
What are the differences between dermabrasion and micro dermabrasion?
Dermabrasion works only on the outermost layer called the epidermis. On the other hand, micro dermabrasion penetrates little deeper into the papillary and reticular dermis. It also induces remodeling of skin’s structural proteins.
What are the pros and cons of micro dermabrasion?
- There are no side effects
- It is easiest and quickest. One need not skip office to undergo this treatment
- There is no recovery time involved
- Sessions are short up to an hour or so.
- It is most successful treatment of all the skin lightening treatment
- Noticeable changes might require multiple sessions
- It cannot straighten the wrinkles caused by aging
- The home micro dermabrasion techniques are not as effective as performed by professionals
- One has to stay away from sun for several days.
LASER skin lightening treatment
This method uses LASER beam. The recovering period is 1 – 2 weeks. This is the best treatment when the intensity of dark spots and acne scars are more.
What are the pros and cons of LASER treatment?
- The quickest skin lightening treatment of all the other treatments
- It improves overall appearance of the skin
- It also helps to improve skin health
- Swelling, redness and itchiness
- Skin infections
- Burning sensation
- Scarring and dryness
- Changes in skin pigmentation
- Abnormal healing