Whenever someone appears lighter in skin colour with time, most individuals would think its bleaching. The way someone’s skin appears will depend on the method used to achieve it. Was it skin lightening, skin brightening or skin whitening? With all of the different products available on the marketplace, choosing the right one can be difficult

Each person is born with a specific skin shade. When the skin is exposed to sunlight, it naturally darkens and creates a tan. With the help of certain products, people can return their skin to a lighter shade. Depending on the color of their skin, there are certain limitations to how white their skin can become. Let’s explore the difference between these three confusing terms

What is Skin Lightening?

When skin lightening products are used, the goal is normally to lighten the skin. The active ingredient stops the skin from producing melanin, a pigment which gives the skin its colour. Africans have more of the pigment compared to whites. Without melanin, the skin cannot darken in the sunlight. Individuals have to be careful about sun exposure because melanin and tanning are actually how the skin protects itself from the sun. Although the skin will be whiter, it can also lead to worse sun damage.

What is Skin Brightening?

Unlike skin lightening, the goal of skin brightening agents is not to exclusively whiten the skin. Instead, brightening agents are designed to impart a natural, vivid radiance to the skin. The skin is continuously creating new skin cells to replace dead skin. Often, these older skin cells remain on the skin’s surface and can cause it to appear dull and old. Skin brightening can help individuals improve the way their skin naturally sheds dead skin cells. For the best skin brightening products, ladies should look for treatments that include micro-exfoliants. By using micro-exfoliant products, the dead layer of the skin is shed so that newer cells can take their place. This method enhances beauty and has insignificant side effects apart from allergy to the cream used

What is Skin Whitening?

Skin whitening treatments are typically a lot harsher than brightening or lightening the skin. This technique uses some kind of harsh bleach to strip all or most of the pigment out of the skin.  These agents contain mercury, hydroquinone or perchlorate which may be commonly found in household detergents, body lotions or skin powder. This irritates the skin and can even cause portions of the skin to be discolored. Certain individuals may paradoxically develop dark spots. This occurs when whitening is applied to the skin and causes it to become reddened. Other people may develop bluish spots that look like bruises.

Generally, after skin lightening or whitening, someone appears “bleached” as referred by others compared to skin brightening which has a minimal effect on skin colour. Side effects of cosmetics on skin will thus depend on the method used and cosmetic. They include undesirable skin colour like uneven colouring, dark spots or bluish spots, burning, impaired healing of skin, skin dryness, worsening of skin diseases among others