A person’s face is, arguably the person. In other words, our face is what the world sees, and having an attractive face is extremely important in order to be able to get on and be successful in our modern society. Attractive people often find it easier to get jobs and are more popular generally
Having a good complexion goes a long way towards making a person’s face attractive, and a lighter complexion is seen by many as being more attractive in general than a darker one. This is not a racial issue but simply the body of popular opinion, in the same way as short skirts are preferred by many women to long ones. A lighter skin colour is fashionable and therefore sought after by many to make them more attractive, although many others, such as light-skinned Caucasians, believe that having a tanned, brown skin is more attractive!
The cosmetic industry tries to cater for all tastes, producing artificial tanning products for those who want darker skin, and lightening products for those with naturally dark skin that want it whiter.
Skin colour depends on the amounts and combination of different forms of melanin, a pigment produced by cells in the skin called melanocytes, and this is largely down to heredity. We inherit the tendency to produce more or less melanin and hence our skin colour is mainly genetically determined.
Some factors can cause more melanin production, often in some but not all areas of the skin, leading to localised patches of uneven colour which can be unaesthetic. Pregnancy, use of birth control pills, and HRT, can be causes of this, and there is no doubt that exposure to sunlight increases pigmentation of the skin as a protective measure.
It is possible to lighten skin to some degree, not by bleaching, but by blocking or at least reducing the production of melanin, and this is done by targeting the enzyme tyrosinase. Many products use a combination of ingredients to block melanin production, along with a sun-screen and a retinoid (vitamin A related substance that improves skin condition). One of the main ingredients often used is hydroquinone in a concentration of between 2-4%, at which strength it is generally considered to be safe applied topically. There have been concerns expressed over the safety of hydroquinone, though, and it may be banned in certain countries or controlled in terms of strength and usage.
There are some naturally sourced compounds that have been shown to be effective in lightening skin, including, Mitracarpus scaber extract, bearberry extract, mulberry, licorice, pomegranate extract, ellagic acid, azelaic acid, malic acid, and kojic acid. These are likely to be safe to use on the skin, but their effectiveness may vary from person to person, and certainly will take time to produce an appreciable result.
It is advisable to seek out natural products, and also the opinions of others on what products are most effective. This can be done by joining a forum on skin whitening, of which there are several, and talking it over with other forum members. It is worth remembering that your skin colour is largely genetically determined and can only be altered to some degree and the process does take time, but, if you want it, it’s worth it!
For much more, free information on skin lightening visit