Lightening your complexion and evening your skin tone may be undertaken for many reasons. Some seek to reduce freckles while others wish to even out skin tone due to Melasma or Vitiligo, and others simply want to reduce age spots or uneven tones.
Melasma is the development of darker, irregular discolored patches that when occurring on the face typically appear on the upper cheeks, nose, lips, and forehead. Melasma is a fairly common condition, especially among certain ethnic groups, those living in tropical areas, and during pregnancy (when it’s referred to as Chloasma face, the mask of pregnancy, or mother’s mask).
Melasma occurs during pregnancy when hormones influence pigmentation in mothers. Typically, Melasma during pregnancy subsides after birth, but can persist and require treatment or lightening.
Repeated sun exposure can also trigger Melasma and it can be temporary or become permanent. Prevention is best, so apply sun screen regularly, but if treatment is required, dermatologists will often prescribe retinol-based creams or topical steroid creams. Cosmetologists may recommend peels and other lightening treatments. Caution is recommended when trying over-the-counter solutions, be sure the ingredients are safe. Avoid solutions that include mercurous chloride (illegal in most places) and hydroquinone (disallowed without prescription) as well as other dangerous ingredients.
Freckles, age spots, and uneven tone can be addressed with topical lighteners and brighteners. Popular natural and safe ingredients to look for include niacinamide, kava kava, grapefruit extract, melaclear, kojic acid, or various vitamin c acids, and licorice extract. Prescriptions that include Tretinoin are also available and have shown effectiveness.
Lighteners when applied topically, need to be applied evenly and regularly. However, since most lighteners include acids, even if they’re mild, we suggest that a moisturizer or soothing agent should be applied after each treatment. And of course, always wear sun screen to avoid excessive sun exposure.