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Skin bleaching treatments can produce long-lasting effects that last from months to years if properly maintained. However, if you fail to take proper care of your skin, those results may fade over time.

Many people seek out skin lightening treatment in an effort to achieve a lighter, brighter complexion. The WHO reports that 77% of women in Nigeria use skin lightening products, the world’s highest percentage.

There are various treatments available; consulting with a board-certified dermatologist will help you determine which one is most beneficial for your individual needs.

How Skin Lightening Creams Work

The primary objective of skin lightening products is to decrease melanin (pigment) levels in your skin, thus helping to even out skin tone and minimize dark spots or freckles.

Skin Lightening Treatment – What Are the Best options?

laser skin lightening treatment

Skin lightening treatments can effectively reduce hyperpigmentation, age spots, acne scars and other discolorations caused by sun damage, aging or hormonal changes.

Skin lightening creams are readily available over-the-counter that work by decreasing melanin in your skin. Be sure to read the product label and only use what your doctor has prescribed for safe and effective results.

Over the Counter Bleaching Creams

Over-the-counter bleaching creams can be effective in lightening dark spots, discoloration and melasma; however they should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Hydroquinone, an ingredient commonly used in skin lightening creams, works by decreasing the number of melanocytes (cells that produce melanin) present in the body.

Some over the counter bleaching creams contain other active ingredients which help reduce melanin production in our skin, such as vitamin C and glycolic acid.

Although over-the-counter bleaching creams tend to be less effective than prescription products, they can still provide an affordable and speedy solution for lightening skin discoloration or even melasma.

However, it is essential to be aware that skin-lightening products can contain hazardous chemicals like hydroquinone and mercury. Both of these elements have serious side effects including rashes, facial swelling, and permanent discoloration of the skin.


Lasers are a safe and efficient way to lighten darkened skin. They shatter and destroy pigment without harming surrounding tissue or causing any additional irritation or discoloration.

Some lasers have the ability to treat skin hyperpigmentation and melasma with pulsed light that penetrates deep into the skin. 

Unfortunately, many lasers, particularly ablative lasers, may make hyperpigmentation worse for some individuals who are genetically predisposed or who had an earlier acne breakout.

Lasers used to treat skin dark spots can make the skin photosensitive for up to one year following treatment, so it’s essential that you limit sun exposure during this time and apply sunscreen daily in order to maximize results. 

Doing this helps prevent further premature aging and sun spots on your face.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are a non-invasive way to improve skin tone and texture. They involve applying an acid solution onto your skin which exfoliates and removes damaged layers without harming it.

Chemical peels provide skin that’s healthier, brighter, smoother and more radiant – but they can be painful and have side effects you should be aware of.

Chemical peels should always be administered by a board-certified dermatologist, licensed healthcare provider or trained skincare specialist to guarantee the safest possible treatment.

Furthermore, it’s essential to adhere to pre and post peel instructions for best results.

Before having a peel, avoid waxing, scrubbing, bleaching or other cosmetic treatments for at least a week and stop using retinol/retinoids 48 hours prior to your appointment. 

Furthermore, do not shave, use electrolysis or depilatories on the areas being treated as these can weaken the skin’s surface.

Intravenous Glutathione

Glutathione is an antioxidant that shields the body against free radical damage and evens out skin tone. It’s commonly included in skincare treatments but can also be taken orally.

Glutathione can also be administered via injection. Unlike oral glutathione, intravenous glutathione bypasses your digestive system and is delivered directly into your cells for maximum benefit.

Intravenous glutathione is an ideal choice for those who have difficulty swallowing tablets or need the quickest, safest, and most efficient skin lightening results. With close to 100% bioavailability, you get a powerful anti-oxidant directly into your bloodstream.

In addition to its antioxidant effects, glutathione acts as an antimelanogenic agent by inhibiting tyrosinase – the enzyme responsible for hyperpigmentation and skin darkening – from activating. 

These effects are most noticeable when applied directly onto areas with pigmentation issues like the face.

How Long Do Skin Lightening Treatments Take to Show Results?

Laser skin lightening is a non-invasive procedure that can effectively reduce unwanted dark patches and blemishes on the skin by targeting melanin pigment in the dermis.

Laser lightening treatment involves the doctor using intense and focused beams of light to destroy melanin pigment in a targeted area. This activates the immune system of the body to clear away any remnants of melanin present, giving your skin a radiant new look with improved texture and tone.

Typically, laser lightening treatments take around four weeks for their full effects to manifest on your skin. You may experience some redness and bruising in the treated area during this time.

If you use skin lightening creams, they may take up to three or four months before you start seeing results. You may need to use them repeatedly in order to achieve your desired outcomes.

Skin lightening creams prescribed by your doctor are generally safer than over-the-counter products, though they may not work as quickly.

Skin lightening creams that have not been prescribed by your physician can be hazardous, as they contain ingredients like hydroquinone and corticosteroids which have serious potential side effects if misused.

Some skin lightening creams contain mercury, which is prohibited in the UK. These contain levels of mercury higher than what the FDA allows for cosmetic use.

best skin lightening treatment

What Are Some Natural Alternatives to Skin Lightening Treatment?

Natural treatments can help lighten skin tone and remove discoloration caused by dark spots, hyperpigmentation, age spots and freckles without the detrimental side effects that chemical-based treatments may cause. 

They’re also great for treating conditions like rosacea, eczema and other sensitive skin conditions without having any negative reactions that chemical-based ones may.

Some of the best natural skin lightening ingredients include:

Shea Butter

Shea butter has long been used to brighten and tone dark areas on the body, including patches. It contains antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamin A and other anti-inflammatory compounds which aid in wound healing by helping repair damaged skin tissue.

Kojic Acid

Mushrooms contain kojic acid, an organic compound that can effectively lighten dark skin patches and even out skin tone. It works by inhibiting melanin production – the pigment responsible for skin’s color – thus making dark patches less prominent.


A natural exfoliant, honey is ideal for exfoliating skin cells and brightening it. Not only that, but honey also protects against sun damage, moisturizes skin cells and improves its texture.

Clear Essence Adure Natural Fairness Creme

This creme was specifically created with plant-based ingredients to lighten and treat dark spots, discolorations and blemishes caused by sun damage. 

Additionally, it hydrates and rejuvenates skin cells – making it the ideal natural treatment for aging, dry and normal skin types alike.


Yoghurt is a widely sought-after skin whitening ingredient due to its lactic acid, which helps diminish dark spots and even out skin tone. Plus, it’s packed with Vitamin B complex which makes your complexion appear brighter and more vibrant.