Most methods that you would use to lighten skin will involve disrupting the natural production of melanin cells, which are the cells that make skin darker. Many products that do this are sold as creams that you apply to your face on a regular basis until the desired result is achieved. To speed the process up, many people also use products that exfoliate the face and get rid of old skin that’s already dark. Some of the most popular active ingredients in skin-lightening products include hydroquinone, kojic acid, vitamin C, and licorice extract. Another common approach that people use to lighten skin is limiting their time in bright sunlight or using sunscreen constantly on exposed areas.
Many products designed to lighten skin interfere with melanin production by disrupting the normal hormone process that creates it. Melanin is one of the skin's natural defenses against potentially damaging ultraviolet rays, and over time, this kind of activity can make the skin more vulnerable to the sun. It’s also true that some of the products, especially those with hydroquinone, have shown some relatively nasty side effects, including painful rashes and general skin inflammation. Many experts don’t recommend using these products on a long-term basis, but different people have different feelings on the subject.
Another way to lighten skin is to simply stay out of the sun and, thereby, avoid getting a tan. Certain individuals become interested in skin lightening because they have darkened their skin too much through years of purposeful tanning. For these people, avoiding sunlight will eventually allow them to get back to a normal skin tone, although it can take a while in some cases.
One way to speed up any kind of skin-lightening method is to use exfoliating products. These cause the skin to peel off and reveal the brand new skin layers beneath, which are naturally lighter than the old skin. Overusing these products can also lead to various side effects, so most experts only recommend using them for a short period.
People choose to lighten their skin for many different reasons. Sometimes people are trying to live up to some particular cultural standard of beauty. Other people choose to lighten their skin as a way to hide blemishes or fix areas where the skin tone is uneven. For some individuals, the simple application of masking cosmetic products and powders can suffice to create the kind of lightening they desire. Others may choose to take more aggressive measures.