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Information about Whitening Creams for the Body

Parul Solanki
Whitening creams for the body and face work by inhibiting the melanin formation of the skin and thus considerably lightening the skin tone. Here is a list of the common ingredients and a look at how skin whitening creams work.
The popularity of whitening and skin lightening creams has also spurred on debates about the effect of these cosmetic products on the health, identity, and self-image of a person. However, the use of these creams is not to make your skin pearly-white as is advertised by many whitening products.
In fact, these creams cannot dramatically change the color of your original skin tone. Rather, these creams and lotions lighten the skin by reducing the dark spots and blemishes caused by hyperpigmentation. This is the result of the body producing either too much or too little melanin.
Sun exposure, increased hormone production, skin damage as a result of blemishes, wounds or rashes can all contribute to hyperpigmentation. Here is a look at how these creams, and the ingredients in them work.

How Do Skin Whitening Creams Work?

Skin whitening products and treatments tend to reduce or inhibit the melanin production by suppressing the tyrosinase enzyme. This is responsible for imparting us with the color of our skin, eyes, and hair.
Thus, these creams and other topical treatments lighten our skin by:
  • Targeting the melanin production
  • Sloughing off dead cell buildup
  • Speeding up cell rejuvenation
  • Protection from harmful rays of the sun
There are many variants of skin whitening creams available in the market with a range of ingredients.


Hydroquinone: One of the primary ingredients in most skin whitening creams is hydroquinone which is known for its melanin inhibiting and antioxidant properties. By disrupting the synthesis and the production of melanin, it works well in skin lightening. 
However, there have been concerns raised about the safety of the products. It not only irritates the skin, but might also result in Ochronosis, a blue-black discoloration caused by deposits of ochre-colored pigment.
Moreover, it is an unstable component which when exposed to sunlight and air can turn a shade of brown and become quite ineffective. In countries like France and Japan, the use of this ingredient in skincare products cosmetics is banned.
Mercury: Many skin whitening creams use ammoniated mercury or mercury chloride as the active ingredient. This is quite harmful and may cause neurotoxic problems such as ataxia, speech and hearing impairment; mental problems, kidney problems such as mercury-induced nephropathy and immunotoxicity.
Other harmful ingredients include mineral oil, dioxane, parabens, alcohols and fragrances. Instead of the above ingredients, look out for kojic acid, liquorice extract, azelaic acid, extracts of bearberry, mulberry, white mulberry and paper mulberry, to inhibit the melanin formation gradually.

Natural Methods of Skin Whitening

If you are worried about the side effects of the skin whitening cream for body, you can try using some simple homemade skin whiteners.

>> Mix of one teaspoon of honey, lemon juice, milk powder and half a teaspoon of almond oil. Apply this on your body and let it stay on for 15 minutes before you can wash it off.
>>Yogurt mixed with tomato juice and oatmeal, applied to the body and rinsed off after twenty minutes can help fight dark spots caused by sun tanning.

>>Grated potato applied on the body helps reduce blemishes and other marks.

>>Being a natural bleaching and lightening agent, lime juice mixed with turmeric powder helps reduce hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
For African-Americans, there are some whitening creams formulated specifically for black skin. For instance, the cosmetic brand Makari has a range of creams for black people with natural products.
So rather than opting for harsh chemicals, you can try using natural products which can even out the tone, discoloration, and blotchiness of the skin, causing the overall appearance to be brighter and smoother.