If you want the best skin lightening ingredients, look for Niacinamide, Arbutin and Whitonyl, among others.
Avoid skin lighteners with Mercury and Hydroquinone while you’re at it – they’re both linked to greater risk of cancer and can lead to a variety of side effects, from skin discoloration to scarring and, for Mercury, risk of damage to the nervous system.
Relax, this doesn’t mean all skin lightening products are dangerous. It just means you want to stick with skin lighteners made with ingredients that are shown to work and with minimal side effects.
Yes, they’re out there. Pull up a chair and let’s chat about the best skin lightening ingredients – the ones that can help you fade skin blemishes without rashes, scarring and/or the stuff that ain’t got no business on or in your body.
How Skin Lightening Works
A skin lightener is a cosmetic product that helps reduce hyperpigmentation (abnormal darkening of the skin) by lowering melanin where applied. They’re made with cosmetic agents that slough away blemished skin cells and encourage natural turnover of bright, new skin cells from below.
You can use a skin lightener to reduce most skin blemishes, including:
- Sun Spots
- Acne Scars
- Melasma & More
While some people use it all over their body, a skin lightener generally works best on more visible areas, like the face. The skin lightening process can take anywhere from two weeks to three months or more.
Avoid These Skin Lightening Ingredients
We’re not going to coat this with sugar: some skin lightening ingredients are dangerous. The worst offenders include:
Mercury – This is a heavy metal that has serious health risks. You may have heard you should not eat shark, swordfish and several kinds of tuna because their high mercury content can damage the kidneys and nervous system. Mercury in children under six and pregnant women is a particular concern because it can interfere with brain development.
In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates Mercury puts 75,000 children at risk of learn disabilities each year because of maternal mercury exposure – and that number could be much higher.
You may find Mercury in some skin lighteners too, disclosed as ingredients called Calomel, Mercuric, Mercurous or Mercurio.
Mercury is among the worst skin lightening ingredients. Look out for it in any of these names, among others, and, as you can tell, avoid it completely.
Hydroquinone – This is another skin lightening agent you should limit. Hydroquinone can lead to redness, burning and discoloration when used in a concentration over 2%. It may also increase your risk of cancer.
You may not be able to avoid Hydroquinone completely if you use skin lightening creams. But you should watch for redness and discoloration if you use this very common skin lightener, and not use products that have it at 2% or higher.
Try These Skin Lightening Ingredients Instead
Those are the skin lightening ingredients you should avoid. Now, what are the best skin lightening ingredients?
Niacinamide – As the name implies, this is the physiologically active version of Niacin (Vitamin B3). Studies show Niacinamide can help reduce hyperpigmentation and increase skin lightness beginning in just 4 weeks. Niacinamide is involved in over 200 enzymatic reactions and puts a serious dent in skin discoloration.
Case in point, another study, this one in July 1998, which found Niacinamide reduced hyperpigmentation by 25% in 8 weeks among 120 Japanese women between 18 and 30.
Alpha Arbutin – Here’s another heavy-hitter among the best skin lightening ingredients. Alpha Arbutin is a plant-derived compound from bearberry, cranberry and pear trees that helps inhibit tyrosinase activity (the enzyme responsible for hyperpigmentation). Studies suggest Alpha Arbutin can even reduce melanin by up to 70%, which makes it ideal for people with sun and age spots.
Sodium Lactate – Sodium Lactate has been extensively studied for its ability to produce skin lightening. One study found it was responsible for ‘significant lightening’ in 95% of volunteers when used three times daily for 24 days. Sodium Lactate helps suppress the action of tyrosinase, which lowers melanin.
It’s also a great moisturizer, and may have anti-aging effects to go with it.
Whitonyl – This is a patented skin lightening ingredient shown to lower melanin by up to 52%. It helps lower melanogenesis – the process of melanosomes, which leads to hyperpigmentation.
Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate – This is a water-soluble derivative of Vitamin C. It’s even more effective when combined with Sodium Lactate. Combine them and they’re over 200% more effective for skin lightening than if either ingredient is used on its own.
Tocopheryl Acetate – This helps ingredients absorb deeper into your skin layers. It helps the body use Sodium Lactate and assists with pH balance. It also helps moisturize the skin and has antioxidant properties as well.
Camellia Sinsensis (Green Tea Extract) – You can add ‘best skin lightening ingredients’ to the growing list of reasons you should love Green Tea. This is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent just packed with antioxidants. Some evidence suggests green tea may lower skin redness too.
Ronaflair Softshade – This is a cosmetic ingredient that helps absorb excess oil. If you’ve got skin blemishes, pay attention – Ronaflair Softshade helps scatter light along your skin, so they’re less visible.
Why We Like Illuminatural 6i
Now you know the skin lightening ingredients you want, and which ones to avoid. With that considered, which skin lightening product do you buy?
We’re kinda partial to Illuminatural 6i by Skinception. Here’s why:
Ingredients – Iluminatural has all the ingredients we’ve talked about so far – except Mercury and Hydroquinone. That means it works (!) without the side effects.
Made In the United States – This is important because skincare products made abroad are at higher risk of undisclosed toxins. Mercury may be among them. Illuminatural scores additional points in that it’s made at a CGMP-compliant facility in the United States. That means you know when and where it was made.
It’s a Skinception Product – Skinception makes Illuminatural – a small company that makes exclusive skin care products with exclusive results. For example, one of its products, Kollagen Intensiv, is clinically shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles by up to 354%. We also like that they’re a small business, which need all the help they can get in 2020.
Doctor-Approved – Illuminatural 6i is approved by Dr Dave David, a former Harvard lecturer and cosmetic surgeon for over 40 years.
A 67 Day Money-Back Guarantee – This is also important. You can return the product and get your money back at any time within two months if you don’t like it.
The best skin lightening ingredients include Niacinamide, Alpha-Arbutin, Sodium Lactate and Whitonyl. They’re ‘the best’ because they’re well-tolerated and, wait for it, they actually work.
Apply a skin lightening cream, like Illuminatural 6i to your skin and you’ll reduce sun and age spots, moles, freckles, melasma, acne scars – most skin blemishes that you would like to reduce.
Avoid products with Hydroquinone and Mercury in its many forms. Again, the latter is sometimes listed as Calomel, Mercurous, Mercurio and Mercuric.
Finally, the best skin lightening ingredients should also be well-tolerated. Stop using a skin lightening cream at the first sight of redness or skin irritation. Opt for one of the better skin lightening creams with the ingredients we’ve discussed and you can most likely avoid that.
FAQs About Skin Lightening Ingredients
Still have questions about skin lightening ingredients? Find your answers here. Also, don’t hesitate to call the customer care department of any skin lightening cream that interests you. That’s why they’re there.
How Does Skin Lightening Work?
A skin lightening cream helps lighten skin blemishes like sun and age spots, moles, freckles and melasma. It helps interrupt melanin, which is responsible for skin discoloration, and sloughs away dead skin cells, which are replaced by new, brighter skin cells as part of the skin’s natural 28 day regeneration cycle.
What Are the Best Skin Lightening Ingredients?
The best skin lightening ingredients according to clinical studies and our experience are Niacinamide, Alpha Arbutin, Sodium Lactate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Whitonyl and Ronaflair Softshade. That’s because they’re very effective and generally well-tolerated.
You should always look for, and avoid, Hydroquinone and Mercury in skin lightening creams.
Are Skin Lighteners Safe?
Generally speaking, yes. But you should stop using skin lighteners if you experience redness, burning, scarring or any kind of side effects. Mercury and Hydroquinone, which we’ve talked about at length, are potential carcinogens, and Mercury is not safe for pregnant women or children under 6.
This is another good reason to buy a skin lightening cream made in the United States over a product made in China. Skin care products made abroad may be at high risk of undisclosed – and dangerous – ingredients.
How Quickly Do Skin Lighteners Work?
You will probably see results with a cream that has quality skin lightening ingredients within several weeks. Expect noticeable fading (lightening) of skin blemishes between one and three months. Note that you can most likely use a skin lightening cream with other skincare products, but speak with your doctor if you have any adverse effects.