Learn about 11 skin-lightening active ingredients

Every skin lightening product consists of a bunch of chemicals, most of which come from natural sources. While most active ingredients are effective, some of them may have some side effects. Therefore, understanding the active ingredients of skin lightening is an essential point when choosing these skin care products.
That’s why discussion of these active ingredients is a must. You must understand the precise effect of each product on the skin, the efficacy and side effects of each product.
1. Hydroquinone
It is the most commonly used active ingredient in skin lightening products. It reduces the production of melanin. The Food and Drug Administration limits its use to just 2 percent in over-the-counter skin-lightening products. This is due to concerns about its carcinogenicity. Studies have shown that it can also cause skin irritation. Therefore, some products contain cortisone to relieve this irritation. However, it is an effective active ingredient in skin lightening products with antioxidant activity.
2. Azelaic acid
It is a natural ingredient derived from grains such as rye, wheat and barley. Azelaic acid is used in acne treatment. However, it has also been found to be effective during skin lightening, reducing melanin production. It is produced in the form of a cream with a concentration of 10-20%. It is a safe, natural alternative to hydroquinone. It can cause irritation to sensitive skin unless you are allergic to it. Research suggests that azelaic acid may not be effective for normal skin pigmentation (freckles, moles).

3. Vitamin C
As an antioxidant, vitamin C and its derivatives protect against skin damage caused by the sun’s UV rays. They also play a role in the skin lightening process, reducing the production of melanin. They are considered safe alternatives to hydroquinone. Studies have found that they may increase glutathione levels in the body and have a dual effect on skin lightening.
4. Niacinamide
In addition to whitening the skin, niacinamide can also lighten skin wrinkles and acne, and increase skin moisture. Studies have shown that it is one of the safest alternatives to hydroquinone. It has no side effects on the skin or the human biological system.
5. Tranexamic acid
It is used in both topical injectable and oral forms to lighten skin and reduce skin pigmentation. It is also another safe alternative to hydroquinone. However, its efficacy has not been proven, but some studies suggest it is safe and effective.
6. Retinoic acid
A vitamin “A” derivative, mainly used in acne treatment, but it can also be used for skin lightening, the mechanism of which is unknown. However, studies have shown that skin irritation is one of the side effects of tretinoin, which increases the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays, so users should avoid sun exposure as it may cause skin tanning. Also, it is not safe during pregnancy.
7. Arbutin
It is a natural source of hydroquinone from most types of pears and the leaves of cranberries, blueberries, bearberries and mulberries. It reduces the production of melanin, especially in its pure form, as it is more potent. It is a safe and effective alternative to other chemicals used in skin lightening products. However, research suggests that arbutin may cause more skin hyperpigmentation if used in high doses.
8. Kojic acid
It is a natural ingredient produced during the fermentation of rice during wine production. It’s very effective. However, it is unstable and turns into a non-functional brown substance in the air or sunlight. Therefore, synthetic derivatives are used as a substitute for skin products, but they are not as effective as natural kojic acid.
9. Glutathione
Glutathione is an antioxidant with skin lightening abilities. It protects the skin from sun damage and also protects the skin from lightening. Glutathione comes in the form of lotions, creams, soaps, pills and injections. The most effective are glutathione pills, which are taken twice a day for 2-4 weeks to reduce skin pigmentation. However, topical forms are not useful due to their slow absorption and poor penetration through the skin. Some people prefer to use the injectable form for immediate results. However, repeated injections can lead to skin infections, rashes. Studies have shown that glutathione has the ability to lighten dark spots and lighten the skin. It’s also reportedly safe.

10. Hydroxy Acids
Glycolic acid and lactic acid are the most effective of the α-hydroxy acids. They penetrate the layers of the skin and reduce the production of melanin, as research has shown. They also exfoliate, removing dead skin and unhealthy layers of hyperpigmented skin. This is why they have been found to be effective in lightening hyperpigmentation in the skin.
11. Decolorizer
Depigmenting agents such as monobenzone and mequinol can be used for permanent skin lightening. Since they can cause permanent damage to melanin-producing cells, they are mainly used in vitiligo patients. They use creams containing this chemical on unaffected skin areas to even out the skin. However, the use of such chemicals on healthy individuals is not recommended. Research suggests that monophenone may cause skin irritation and eye discomfort.
Other active ingredients
There are more chemicals that help the skin lightening industry. Still, more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness and safety of each drug. One of these active ingredients is licorice extract, specifically licorice.
Studies claim it is effective in lightening dark, hyperpigmented skin areas and whitening skin. It reduces the production of melanin. Vitamin E plays a role in the skin lightening process by reducing the production of melanin. It increases glutathione levels in the body. However, more research is needed to clarify the efficacy and safety of these chemicals.
Finally, not all active ingredients in skin lightening products are safe. This is why consumers should read the ingredients before purchasing any skin lightening product.

Post time: Oct-14-2022