As people age there are many changes that affect the skin. The loss of collagen may create fine lines or wrinkles and sagging. Sun exposure will also affect ones skin color over time, which is why many people have fairer complexions as children than they do as adults. In the US, a tan is considered attractive by many people, and it is often equated with a “healthy glow”. Unfortunately, tanning is actually damaging, and over time it can create an uneven pigmentation that is not nearly as desirable. For this reason, many adult women want to learn how to lighten skin after having spent so many years trying to tan it.
Uneven pigmentation is very common, especially in women who in their thirties and older. It is usually caused by sun damage, but it can be hormone related as well. Melasma is a condition characterized by dark patches over the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. It will often show up during a pregnancy and disappear after the birth of the baby, but sometimes women have it from hormone fluctuations not related to pregnancy. Other skin pigmentation issues are usually related to age or past sun exposure, which causes dark spots or moles to form. One should always see a dermatologist to have any skin changes evaluated before trying to treat the areas.
If the problem is not serious and one wishes to know how to lighten skin, there are ways to do this at home. Commercial skin bleaching creams formulated with hydroquinone are very easy to find in most skincare aisles. Over the counter creams contain a maximum of 2% of this ingredient, so if a stronger solution is necessary one will need a prescription strength cream. The drugstore varieties may take a few months to show any results, and some people are too sensitive to this chemical to use it, however. One should wear strong sunblock when using this bleaching agent or the spots will come back quickly.
Another home method of removing dark spots is using a mild exfoliant. Exfoliating the skin removes the dead outer layers of the epidermis either manually or chemically. The cells with excess pigment are stripped away, allowing fresh new cells to grow. The new skin cells will not have hyper-pigmentation. A manual exfoliant could be a grainy scrub, loofah sponge, or a wash cloth or sponge with a rough texture. Alpha Hydroxy Acids are examples of chemical exfoliants. These are derived from fruits or sugars. AHA products normally come in the form of a cream or toner. Dermatologists and beauty clinic offer skin peels with very strong AHA mixtures to clients who are interested in deep, fast treatments. Strong peels can be irritating and the healing period may be more than a week. All of these treatments require constant use of sunscreen because the epidermis will be more sensitive to ultraviolet rays. Failure to use a sunblock can cause the pigmentation to return and possibly get worse.
Whether an uneven skin tone is caused by age, sun, or hormones, most women who encounter this beauty concern will need to learn how to lighten skin areas. One should first determine the cause and then tackle it with one of the treatment options available. In the case of sun spots, one should prevent them with consistent use of sunscreen or physical blocks such as clothing, sunglasses, and hats. These prevention techniques should be used during and after skin lightening treatments as well.