As the name suggests, skin bleaching agents are products which are designed to make the skin lighter in color. The degree of change in skin tone usually depends on the type of product one uses; some very strong skin bleaching agents can make one have Caucasian-like skin even if they previously had very dark skin. Skin bleaching is not a modern phenomenon; there is evidence that it has been practiced as early as during the Elizabethan period in Europe.
How the Skin Becomes Dark
Understanding the mechanism of action of skin bleaching agents requires one to understand how skin looks dark in the first place. Having dark skin is mainly due to genetic factors. Cells known as melanocytes produce melanin, which is responsible for the darkening of skin and hair. People who naturally have light skin tend to have lower levels of melanin, while those who are dark have more of it. The melanocytes are located just beneath the skin, and actively reproduce to create more melanocytes as older ones die. Some cells can also transform into melanocytes as well. The role of melanin in the skin is to protect the underlying tissue from UV radiation.
How Skin Bleaching Agents Work
There are several ways in which skin bleaching agents work to make skin lighter. The most common are to induce the melanocytes to produce less melanin. Some creams also reduce the number of melanocytes and prevent stem cells in the skin from transforming into melanocytes to replace them. In this way, the total number of melanocytes reduces. Some skin bleaching agents also affect enzymes and systems that are responsible for the formation of melanin in melanocytes. Inhibition of these processes reduces total melanin content in the skin.
How are Skin Bleaching Agents Used?
Skin bleaching agents are usually in the form of creams which are applied on the face. If you are interested in lightening your whole body rather than your face only, you would need to apply the cream all over your body. To make the transformation look natural, it’s important to evenly distribute the cream all over your body. You may require help to do this, particularly in hard to reach areas such as your back. Depending on the type of product used, you may have to wash it off later, or simply apply it as you would any other facial cream. Other variables between different bleaching agents include how frequently you need to use them as well as how long it will take for you to see results.
Understanding the Issue of Safety
To protect your skin, it’s essential to choose a quality product if you intend to use a skin bleaching agent. Products that are made with quality in mind are usually tested to ensure that they don’t do short or long term damage to the skin. They are also likely to have other additives which make the skin healthier, such as vitamins and chemicals to keep the skin hydrated and supple. Homemade bleaching agents are popular in some areas, though using them is highly discouraged since they usually contain products that might irreversibly damage your skin.