Skin color is something that concerns some people. It is usually a matter of person preference, and they believe that a lighter skin is preferable. Their skin may have some sort of imperfection, such a mole or blemish, and they seek to lighten it so that it matches the rest of their skin. Others have a condition called vitiligo, which causes a whitening of the skin, sometimes in patches; in this case a skin whitening treatment may be desired so that the color of the skin is consistent. Other simply prefer a lighter skin color.
Finding the right skin whitening treatment can be difficult; most treatments carry health risks, and the safer treatments cost more than the more toxic ones. Although laser treatment is possible, it carries its own issues, and may not work out the way that the person desires. Cryosurgery may also be a solution, where the skin is frozen through liquid nitrogen; success of the surgery depends on the depth of the skin pigmentation. Melanin rises to the surface after a few days of treatment and may be peeled off, this process leaves no scars, but if the melanin goes too deep, then it may not work completely.
A number of treatments contain potentially hazardous chemicals. Mercury is the most common, and is banned in most countries; it is highly advised that a person pay special attention to the chosen skin whitening treatment, as it may contain mercury. It is believed that mercury may seep into the skin over time. Another problematical compound is hydroquinone, which disrupts the creation of melanin, can cause cancer if used in too high of a concentration. It is also an irritant. Nonetheless, it can be effective skin lightener if used in moderation, and is usually safer than mercury.
There are a number of safe alternatives. A number of skin whitening treatments involve natural products, such as Arbutin, which is derived from the leaves of pear and some berry leaves. Also, alpha hydroxy acids also work, but through increasing the turn-over rate of skin cells; in and of themselves they do not work towards skins lightening, but they can help lighten skin by acting as an effective exfoliant. An acid peel is made of concentrated alpha hydroxy acids, but it is advised that only a physician administer one due to the potential for harm, especially skin discoloration.
Regardless of the skin whitening treatment chosen, a certain amount of care is advised. Each treatment has its own problems, and may not lighten the skin as completely as desired. It is advised that a person be monitored during most treatments so as to ensure that the person suffers no ill effects. However, with a little care, any of the listed treatments can have the desired effect leaving the person with lighter skin. Nonetheless, the option to take the risk is up to the person taking the treatment, and that risk may be worth it should she succeed in attaining the skin color she wishes.