Skin Whitening & Skin Lightening – Latest advances

Skin Whitening Treatment Mumbai

Skin whitening, skin lightening, and skin bleaching is a process by which the skin tone is lightened with the help of using chemical substances. By this method the melanin concentration in the skin is reduced and it gives and even skin complexion and tone.

What determines our skin colour?

The melanin content in the skin decides the colour of the skin. Melanocytes are responsible for the production of melanin which is a skin pigment. Individuals with dark complexion are said to have more melanin.

The melanin content in your skin is determined by your genetic makeup. Certain factors such as hormones, skin damage, exposure to sunlight, exposure to some chemicals may also affect the production of melanin.

The skin colour can alter. For example, when direct exposure to sunlight is decreased, sun tans get reduced. However, as time passes, some discolorations such as “liver” spots or “age” spots become more or less permanent.

Skin Bleaching – What is it?

Skin bleaching is a kind of cosmetic procedure that reduces skin discolorations/pigmentations and helps to even out the skin colour.

Some individuals apply skin lightener to their whole body in order to change their complexion, but this may be dangerous. Since some of the skin lighteners have mercury in them, so skin bleaching may result into mercury poisoning.

Mercury produces toxic effects and may give rise to neurological, psychiatric, and kidney troubles. Pregnant women who make use of skin lighteners containing mercury can even pass the mercury to their unborn child, leading to birth defects.

What are the uses of Skin lightening?

  • Particular areas of abnormally high pigmentation like birthmarks and mole may be depigmented to match the skin around that area.
  • On the other hand, in case of Vitiligo, unaffected skin may be whitened/lightened in order to give a more uniform look.
  • If used for a prolonged period of time skin whiteners may result in pigmentation increasing to joints of toes, fingers, ears, and buttocks. The facial skin may get thinned and the region surrounding the eye may have more pigmentation resulting in a ‘bleach panda effect’.
Skin Lightening Treatment Mumbai

Skin Lightening – Before & after treatment


Skin whitening treatments:

Combination Treatments:

Most of the skin-lightening treatments, which can diminish or block some amount of melanin production, target inhibition of tyrosinase. Majority of treatments make use of mixtures of gels or topical lotions comprising of melanin-inhibiting ingredients along with a sunscreen, and a prescription retinoid. Based on the skin’s response to these treatments, exfoliating agents – either in the form of chemical peels or topical cosmetic agents – and lasers may be used.

Hydroquinone treatment:

Hydroquinone is thought to be the main topical component for stoppage of melanin production. Its ingredients have strong antioxidant properties.

Hydroquinone is a strong inhibitor of melanin production, such that it arrests the process of making of substance responsible for skin colour. Hydroquinone lightens the skin and can only disturb the synthesis & production of melanin hyperpigmentation. Its use is banned in certain countries (like France) due to fears of a cancer risk.

Topical hydroquinone comes in 2% (available in cosmetics) to 4% (or more) concentrations (available by prescription or from a physician), alone or in combination with tretinoin 0.05% to 0.1%.


Arbutin is obtained from the leaves of cranberry, bearberry, blueberry, or mulberry shrubs, and may also be present in most type of pears. It may have melanin-inhibiting properties. Arbutin and other plant extracts are thought to be safer options to commonly used depigmenting agents in order to make the skin fairer. Arbutin exists in two isomers, alpha and beta; out of the two, alpha provides higher stability over the beta. Hence, alpha is preferred to beta for skin lightening.


Glutathione is a tripeptide molecule seen in mammals. It prevents oxidative damage to skin as it has strong antioxidant properties. Glutathione is also linked with skin lightening ability. Glutathione uses various mechanisms for exerting action as skin whitening agent at different levels of melanin production as follows:

  • It prevents the synthesis of melanin.
  • Its antioxidant property provides protection to skin from UV radiation and other external as well as internal stressors generating free radicals responsible for causing skin damage and hyperpigmentation.

Glutathione can be used in combination with many other agents like vitamin C to increase its absorption, N-acetyl cysteine to boost its level, and other antioxidants like vitamin E. Some oral intake of glutathione could have harmful effect when used in combination with other skin whitening agents like hydroquinone which is a cancer producing element and monobenzone which causes irreversible depigmentation.

Glutathione for skin whitening is available in soaps, lotions, creams, injectables and in the form of nasal sprays.

Topical application of Glutathione does not result in efficient absorption by skin cells.

The intravenous mode of administration provides direct absorption of glutathione in the systemic circulation and hence is the most preferred one.

Other components that can be used as Skin whitening agents include – kojic acid, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), azelaic acid, Alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs), Niacinamide, licorice extract, etc.

Skin Lightening Treatment India

Skin Lightening – Pre & post treatment


Other treatment options:

A small amount of research has shown that oral supplements of ellagic acid, pomegranate extract, ferulic acid, vitamin E, can prevent production of melanin.

Laser Treatment:

Ablative as well as non-ablative lasers can have an overpowering effect on melasma. However, outcomes are inconsistent. It may result in either increased or decreased pigmentation. Generally, individuals having dark complexion pose problems with Laser treatments.

The q-Switch Nd:YAG laser releases high energy light towards the affected region, thereby destroying unwanted skin cells which then permits the skin to generate new cells to replace old ones. In q-Switch mode, the laser produces 2 wavelengths; which are useful to address skin lesions. The laser penetrates the skin deeply without harming the uppermost layer of skin and stimulates production of collagen and vital proteins that are beneficial for a young and healthy skin.

Best Laser Treatment for Skin lightening India

Laser Treatment for Skin Lightening


Apart from lightening your skin tone, this laser procedure also helps to improve complexion, resulting in smoother and fairer skin.

In summary, Skin lightening or skin whitening is a cosmetic dermatological procedure which uses chemical agents for lightening the skin tone. Skin conditions such as age spots, liver spots can benefit from Skin lightening. Skin whitening may prove to be a beneficial treatment for skin disorders such as vitiligo, melasma where the functioning of skin pigment melanin is either hyperactive or impaired. Treatment options for Skin whitening include hydroquinone, glutathione injections, usage of components such as kojic acid, aelaic acid, licorice extract and Laser treatment viz. q-Switch Nd:YAG laser. Always keep in mind that, beauty of skin is not just about the skin colour, but even skin tone. Hence while deciding on to any skin lightening and skin whitening treatment, the first and the foremost thing is to consult the best Cosmetic Dermatologist who can address all your queries and put all your concerns to rest. It is the matter of your skin after all.


 Dr Rinky Kapoor- Best Cosmetic Dermatologist (Cosmetologist) in Mumbai, IndiaDr. Rinky Kapoor is a top/ Best dermatologistCosmetic DermatologistLaser Skin Expert Doctor, currently based in Mumbai, India. She has won many awards as the Best Dermatologist in India, Top 10 Skin Doctor in India, etc. She specializes in all skin diseases & conditions and given her training as a dermato-surgeon, provides non surgical liposuction surgery, laser lipo & lipoplasty etc for weight reduction & cellulite reduction. Dr. Rinky Kapoor is trained at the iconic National Skin Centre, Singapore and completed her Fellowship in Cosmetic Dermatology & Lasers at the world renowned Stanford University, USA.

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