Creams That Lighten Skin Tone Can Be Harmful
Creams that claim to lighten the skin tone do deliver on their promise but their prolonged use leads to thinning and irritation of the skin.
India's fascination with lighter skin tone has continued for centuries. Taking good care of the skin by applying moisturiser and sunscreen, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet will make any skin type beautiful. Dermatologist Dr. Aanchal Panth, MD, states that there are creams that work only on the dark spots and lighten them.
Which Is The Most Harmful Skin-lightening Ingredient To Keep Away From?
The most harmful ingredient in any cream, Dr. Aanchal asserts, is steroids. Since creams with steroid compounds are available freely over the counter, people use them without professional advice. The dermatologist also advises against using creams with hydrocarbons. Though hydroquinone is an effective skin-lightening agent, it has to be applied minimally and for a very short duration. If applied for a long period on a darker skin tone, it can lead to ochronosis - a condition in which pigments get deposited under the skin.
How Should Skin-lightening Creams Be Applied?
Usually, these creams are to be applied twice a day over the face and the neck area. For people with a job that requires being in the sun for a longer period, it is best to apply skin-lightening cream only at night and just sunscreen in the morning. These creams have to be used for at least four to six weeks, but for lasting results, they can be used for upto two months.
The dermatologist explains that these creams work at a slow pace, so they are to be used for a longer period. She recommends using it for about eight to nine months but with patience and regular application. Dr. Aanchal also says creams and gels, which contain plant extracts and glycolic acid, are good seed agents for the skin.
Do These Creams Have Any Side Effects?
One has to have a clear understanding of the skin type to continue the application. Particularly, people with dry and sensitive skin should consult a professional before applying any cream or gel bought off the shelf. The best way to proceed with any cream is to first do a patch test (on the inside of the elbow) to check its reaction to the skin. Leave it on for about 48 hours before deciding on it. In case of itching, redness or burning sensation, it is best to drop the cream.
For people with oily skin, a gel or cream-based sunscreen is recommended. For dry and combination skin, the best thing is to use an ocean-based sunscreen. Remember, reapplication of sunscreen is extremely important to keep the skin protected from the sun.
Take These Precautions
Pregnant women, and even those planning pregnancy are advised against using these creams as they contain harmful chemicals. Instead, always use sunscreen and moisturiser regularly.
Dr. Aanchal warns that the skin-lightening agent is always to be applied first, followed by a moisturiser and then sunscreen. These layers help protect the skin against harsh sunlight. In the end, it is all about taking the right care of your body. Be mindful of your eating habits and the products you use on the skin.
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