For a lot of people around the world, getting their skin tone lighter is very important and often something they will pay a lot of money for over time to achieve. The common misconception is that it is only black people or people of African origin that have these aspirations, but in fact people of all races and ethnicities from around the world also sometimes ask how they too can get lighter skin. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Philippines is the nation with the highest amount of queries related to “skin whitening” according to Google Trends:
For the search term “skin lightening” however, Trinidad & Tobago comes top of the table:
More interestingly demand for both these search queries has steadily been rising since 2009:
Getting ones skin to be as light and smooth as the likes of Halle Berry or Thandie Newton is certainly achievable, but before we get into how this can be done, let us first explore what makes your skin have the tone it does. There are a vast array of different substances responsible for giving humans their particular skin colour, however the single most important substance is melanin. Melanin is produced within the skin in cells called melanocytes and it is the primary determinant of the skin tone of darker-skinned humans.
The process of creating melanin is called melanogenesis and the melanin is made within small membrane–bound packages called melanosomes. As they become full of melanin, they move into the slender arms of melanocytes, from where they are transported to the keratinocytes. Humans have different skin colours mainly because their melanocytes produce different amounts and kinds of melanin. Therefore the key to lightening ones skin tone is to limit the production of melanin via melanocytes.
There are essentially two ways to go about doing this. This can be achieved naturally or synthetically. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. People who choose to lighten their skin naturally usually use things like lemons, yogurt, tomato juice and papayas to name but a few, and apply these natural substances regularly to their skin over a protracted length of time with the aim of seeing incremental skin lightening effects over a 6 to 12 month period. If you are interested in learning more about how to lighten your skin naturally we have written a more detailed post on it here.
Individuals that are looking for faster and more extreme changes in their skin tone tend to gravitate towards synthetic skin lightening products like Kojic Acid Soap and Kojic Acid Creams, Papaya Whitening Soap and Creams, and the more intense but highly controversial Hydroquinone Skin Bleaching Soaps and Creams.
These skin lightening agents if applied on a regular basis (at least once a day), will begin to lighten ones skin within as little time as 2 weeks. Moreover, if they are used for over a 6 month period, the skin lightening results can be significant as seen in the picture above where this girl has used a some Kojic Acid products. Do be careful though, as using these products does come with inherent risks, and Hydroquinone has recently been shown to cause cancer. It is therefore very important to research these sorts of products in more detail before deciding to use them, and more importantly understand how to use them. If you are thinking of using one of the most popular skin lightening agents, namely Kojic Acid Soap, we have written some comprehensive posts on this particular skin lightening product. For more information you can read this post on How to use Kojic Acid Soap. Secondly, if you want to know more about the risks, you should read about the Kojic Acid Soap side effects here.