The Truth About Skin Brighteners / Brightening Products / Whiteners

Posted on September 23, 2013


After just reviewing the EMINENCE Bright Skin Licorice Root Booster Serum and walking away not impressed by it, we wanted to dig up the topic of “skincare brighteners” (products that lighten complexion which also result in the lightening of skin blemishes to give skin that beautiful glow) and see if they really do work?

skin-whitening-brightening-the-truth-do-they-workWhat can skin brighteners really do and not do? First let’s tell you what they are advertised to do … to help improve brown spots and uneven skin discoloration. And in Asia where pearl-colored skin is more desired over tan-colored skin, skin brighteners are also referred to as skin “whiteners”, but in America it is more about evening the skin complexion.

Now what are the dermatological forces on how skin brighteners achieve their magic? Powerful ingredients are at the base of most brightening formulas, enabling them to literally lighten or fade clusters of melanin that deposit darker spots onto the skin (the brown spots caused by overexposure to sun). Most of these products contain hydroquinone as the secret ingredient because it is an effective bleaching agent. One word of caution is that even though it is FDA approved for use in skincare products in concentrations less than 2% in over-the-counter products but up to 4% in prescription creams, hydroquinone is banned in the EU, Canada, and Japan for its possible links to cancer. Our advice is to try and find products that have a “natural skin lightener” instead such as natural exfoliants and plant-derived active ingredients which stimulate skin cells turnover and renewal.

We have yet to date found the perfect skin brightener to recommend to our users. May this because these products really don’t work as they are advertised to? If we were however forced to recommend one, we would say the SK-II Whitening Source Skin Brightener is the best one we have encountered. If you have a differing opinion, please do let us know!

In our opinion, if you want cleaner, lighter, and more even complexions, we’d rather go the route of avoiding these brightening products outright and instead focus more on prevention tips on how to avoid getting brown spots and uneven skin discoloration. And those are:

1) Avoid excessive sun exposure.
Sun exposure over time causes skin aging and hyperpigmentation — the over-creation of melanin spots — and tan colored skin. Common sense tells us that the less sun exposure you encounter, the whiter and cleaner your skin tone becomes.

2) Use sunscreens religiously.
Again sunscreen helps protect you from the harmful UV rays which cause premature aging and brown spots. Use the best sunscreen out there … the TwinLuxe Anti-Aging SPF Moisturizer — broad spectrum SPF 40 infused with stem cell technology. And if you are using expensive skin brighteners with fantastic organic ingredients and don’t combine the use of a broad spectrum sunscreen into your skincare regimen, your skin will never get brighter/lighter.

3) Use exfoliating products such as facial scrubs or get microdermabrasion.
Roughing off dead skin cells gently off your face enables the fresh skin cells to appear on the surface. This results in lighter colored skin. In addition, the better your skin is exfoliated, the better skin brightening products can work as the active ingredients will be able to easier penetrate deeper into your tissue.

The truth about skin brighteners / whiteners has been revealed here. We advocate other simple measures to keep your skin looking lighter and fresher. Your skin will thank you for it.