Read This Article If You Want Whiter Skin (Part 1)
Top 3 Causes of Skin Darkening
1. Spending Time Exposed to The Sun
We all know that the sun produces UV rays, but what many people don’t realize is that there are two different types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. The one that causes the skin to darken is UVA. UVA darkens your skin because UVA is a long wavelength, and UVA rays cannot be blocked by glass, clouds, or the ozone layer, and the vast majority of UVA radiation reaches the earth.
The bad news is that UVA rays are the same strength all year round. They penetrate the deeper layers of the skin. This means that it doesn’t darken the surface of your skin. It affects the dermis, which is the layer of skin that’s below the skin’s surface. UVA is the UV ray that is responsible for darkening your skin by increasing the pigmentation that is produced by your skin.
The problem with how UV light darkens your skin is that UV light from years of sun exposure speeds up melanin production. Melanin is the pigmentation in your body. The color that you see is a form of pigmentation. The more melanin you have, the darker your skin will be. UV rays, specifically UVA rays, increase the production of melanin, causing the melanin to become clumped and produced in high concentrations. This leads to an overall tan and darker complexion. It can also lead to things like pigmentation, aging spots, and fractals. There’s all that from the exposure to the sun.
Hyperpigmentation appears as dark patches or spots on the skin that make the skin look uneven. There are several types of hyperpigmentation, and they are melasma, sunspots, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Melasma is usually caused or is believed to be caused by hormonal changes, especially during pregnancy. This form of hyperpigmentation can appear anywhere in your body, but it appears mostly on the stomach and face.
Melasma hyperpigmentation shows up, especially in pregnant women, because of an increase in estrogen levels. Hyperpigmentation directly results from an increased level of hormones in your body that results in increased melanin synthesis. This is a bit more scientific, but basically, the hormone that stimulates melanin production is also linked to estrogen production.
Sunspots are also known as liver spots. They are related to excessive exposure over time. They appear at spots that are more exposed to the sun. They are not covered by your clothes, for example, the hands and face.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is one of the most common types that we see because this results from inflammation or injury to the skin. A common cause of this is acne.
3. Shaving (Most Common)
The aggressive nature of shaving, from a razor or electric shaver, can cause skin discolouration because the rubbing or scraping action of the blades can cause minor cuts to the skin.
Again, this hyperpigmentation is caused by the inflammation of the skin, which is the skin’s way of replacing color within the damaged area. In other words, the constant rubbing or scraping of the razor blades against your skin can irritate the skin. When the irritation is repeatedly continued, it can darken your skin.
It is not limited to shaving. Shaving and tweezing can also cause inflammation, and sometimes, ingrown hairs, similar to acne. Once on your skin, your skin produces extra melanin in response to the inflammation leading to dark spots. Most of the time, these results are your skin’s way of protecting itself.
Pimples scars specifically are also what’s known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Treating those spots from acne is different from treating acne scars. Scars require tissue to be damaged or overgrown, and scars, in general, are difficult to remove fully. They can fade over time, but they usually remain visible.
What to do if you want to solve skin darkening
Lightening Sun Tanned Skin
For suntanned skin, the best remedy would be antioxidants, They are effective because free radicals and frequent sun exposure can trigger changes in your skin’s melanin production, causing dark spots and uneven skin tone. By reducing the photodamage, antioxidants help to prevent abnormal skin pigmentation.
Some antioxidants, like vitamin C, inhibits Tyrosinase, an enzyme that stimulates melanin production, thereby slowing down the production of melanin. Additionally, it reverses the effects of free radicals, which are molecules in the environment that damage your skin by clinging to your collagen and weakening elasticity.
Liquorice root is another type of antioxidant that minimizes the production of Tyrosinase to combat discoloration. The production of melanin is a very complicated process, but at the core of it, it’s an enzyme known as Tyrosine. Tyrosine is the main building block for all darkened skin, and Liquorice root extract inhibits the production of Tyrosinase and, in turn, inhibits the production of dark spots.
The 2 Products You Already Have But We Still Need To Talk About: Sun Block And Moisturizer
The two must-have products to prevent your skin from sun damage and darkening - sun block and a moisturizer.
As we mentioned earlier the most common cause for darkening of the skin is spending time in the sun without applying a sun block, it functions as something that prevents you from getting darker. Of course, for a UVA sunblock with zinc oxide, we would recommend one with at least SPF 50. Most places recommend SPF 35-rated ones, but in Singapore, the sun is strong, and it’s hot all year round. UVA rays don’t take a break. Especially if you don’t remember to reapply, get one with an SPF that is as high as possible.
The next product that you must have is the moisturizer, When your skin is dry, your body has ways to protect your skin. It overcompensates by overproducing things such as oil or melanin. The next step would be to make sure your skin is well hydrated. Invest in a good moisturizer. Make sure your skin barrier is healthy, so your skin no longer needs to produce unnecessary oils or melanin to protect it.
If you don’t have a good sunblock or moisturizer, everything else you do to lighten your skin isn’t going to work. With many skin care products drying rather than moisturizing the skin, should you choose the wrong ingredient, it might cause more damage to your skin. The first thing is to get sunblock and moisturizer. Everything else can wait until your skin has fully healed.
One of our favourite whitening treatment
At Kosme Aesthetics, we frequently recommend acid peel facials (such as Glycolic acid) because it’s been known to fade hyperpigmentation such as dark spots, age spots, freckles, and acne scars.
Hyperpigmentation can be faded by lactic acid as it’s darker on the skin’s surface, and the acid exfoliates the darker skin cells from the surface, revealing a fresh layer of skin for a more even skin tone. Its effects can be immediately seen post lactic acid facial treatment, to make the skin immediately whiter.
Avoid any product that contains alcohol because alcohol will dry your skin, leading to overly dry skin. In response, your skin will overcompensate to protect itself, resulting in oily skin or overproduction of melanin as your skin is trying to replace damaged cells, and oftentimes will replace the cells with new cells that are richer in melanin
You must know this before you shave:
As mentioned earlier, shaving can cause the skin to darken. A few ways you can prevent this is to ensure that your razor is constantly wet. If your shaver is constantly moist with water, shaving cream, or shaving gel, it reduces the amount of friction between the blade and your skin.
Additionally, one should never shave against the grain. Shave in the direction your hair is growing to prevent friction as well.
Always exfoliate the area before shaving to prevent any ingrown hair. Ingrown hair can appear darker as well because of the production of melanin. Sometimes ingrown hair is viewed as an infection in the skin, and your skin will find ways to fight the infection.
Alternatively, you can consider Super Hair Removal (SHR). To find out more about SHR and why it's the better hair removal choice, you can find out more in our article "Super Hair Removal: 9 Reasons To Choose SHR To Remove Your Hair Permanently"
Read some of our previous articles
Ways to Solve Hyperpigmentation
There are ways to solve hyperpigmentation. As mentioned earlier: lactic acid. Another ingredient that you can use is glycolic acid. This doesn’t need to be a chemical peel And can be often found in many skincare products. Glycolic acid works like lactic acid as it exfoliates your face or your skin’s surface, removing the darker melanin-stained skin and dead skin cells.
We recommend chemical exfoliants as opposed to their alternatives, such as face scrubs, because physical face scrubs can often cause mini micro-tears, which can damage your skin and even lead to more pigmentation. With a chemical exfoliant, all you need to do is apply it to your skin. There is no physical force used, and it results in a more even application. This also further helps with lightening your skin overall because an uneven exfoliation can result in an uneven skin tone.
For example, using a walnut scrub, one might tend to focus on their nose because they might think, “Oh, no, I saw many blackheads there. I’m going to scrub my nose more.” That causes their nose to be slightly lighter than the other parts of their face, which doesn’t look nice either. With a chemical exfoliant, you apply one layer. There’s no need to scrub constantly. There’s no need for you to do anything other than continuing with your life.
How To Take Care Of Your Skin Post Facial treatment
While a facial does help cleanse your skin very deeply. A new layer of skin replaces the previous layer because of the removal of dead skin cells. You’re then left with very soft, very supple, fresh new skin, which is all fine.
Provided the aftercare is very thorough.
- Be GOOD to your skin. Apply your moisturizer.
- Apply your sunblock.
- Don’t go out in the sun for seven days.
If you don’t take care of your skin, especially after a facial, it can be more prone to melanin or become dark easily because of the lack of excess melanin in your skin.
Why is Re-applying Sun Block very Important?
Once one of our clients went to Batam, a widely known beach resort, for a holiday over the weekend. Understandably, they wanted to go to the beach, suntan, and stay in the sun.
Two days later, she called us panicking because sunspots had started to appear on her face.
While she did apply sunblock, what she didn’t do was reapply it constantly. She even went suntanning, which is fine if you already have that layer of dead skin with a lot of melanin in it. However, she went right after her facial.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some tips to help whiten your skin fast :
- Get sufficient sleep.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Wear sunblock (SPF 50) before going out.
- Moisturize every day.
- Take Facial steams.
- Cold rose water can whiten the skin.
- Exfoliate frequently.
- Get whitening treatments such as acid peel or a laser procedure such as pico.
Yes, Although it is very slow and may take about 2-3 years, it's evident that there are some natural methods to achieve skin whitening. One amongst them is given below.
Lemon juice has an amazing bleaching effect making it an excellent choice to whiten the complexion. Lemon juice will lighten your complexion and will brighten and minimize your skin tone and wrinkles.
In Singapore, the cost to skin whitening treatment would vary between $150 - $400 per session depending on the location and the treatment.
Yes, Skin whitening helps you decrease the melanin, enhance your appearance, lighten the complexion, and reduce dark spots and freckles all in a very short period, these things would also happen naturally but would take 10 times longer that way.
According to our clients, our Snow White Facial Treatment (Kosme Aesthetics at Orchard Gateway, Singapore) is something not to miss.
We carefully select the ingredients and products to help you achieve a lighter skin tone, reduce skin pigmentation and encourage collagen production for your skin. Best still, we're on a mission to make hard-selling and big packages a thing of the past. This means you get a great facial with whitening effects, without the hard-selling you hate.
Yes, Skin whitening treatments help in reducing skin's melanin content, and help treat dark spots and freckles. This treatment helps reduce fine lines, scars, and wrinkles. The lightening of the skin gives the skin an uneven tone.
Whitening Facial is the latest innovative aesthetic technology for the reduction of skin imperfections such as pigmentation, acne, pimples, open pores, and uneven skin tone.
No, Skin bleaching is a big no, it's just not worth the risk, it doesn't provide you guaranteed skin whitening and also has some serious side effects like redness and swelling (skin irritation and inflammation), a burning or stinging sensation, itchy and flaky skin.
Yes, Whitening facials do work, it helps in
- Reduction of pigmentation, uneven skin tone, and scar
- Reduction of acne and pimples
- Tightening of open pores
Although the results depend on the treatment center. At Kosme aesthetics, customer satisfaction is first and foremost and our treatment is proven to provide better results.