How to Lighten Skin Fast: Is It Even Possible to Get Lighter Skin Overnight?

Whether it's a bad tan that's got you down or just a burning desire for a lighter skin tone, you wish to know how to lighten skin fast. And you’re wondering exactly how fast it can be accomplished.

Well, that really depends on two things: your definition of "fast", as well as the sort of skin lightening you're looking for.

If you're dealing with a bad tan or looking to quickly brighten a dull, uneven skin tone for an important event, a number of tips and tricks can help you get an instant lightening effect.

But if you're hoping to lighten your skin by several shades – aka actual skin whitening– you'll need a bit of patience because these results don’t happen overnight. That's because the ingredients that can actually lighten your skin tone are melanin inhibitors and these work by gradually interfering with the melanin production in your skin.

The process isn’t instantaneous. In fact, it can take a few months to really see results.

That being said, on your quest to getting lighter skin, you don't really have to choose between the short-term and the long-term options. Many skin bleaching methods work very well together so you can mix and match to get faster short-term results while working toward getting lighter skin overall in the long term.

Below we’ll give you the best options to lighten skin fast. They may not produce lighter skin overnight but by combining them together, you'll be able to reap results faster.

How Fast Can I Lighten my Skin?

Just as with any other urge to get to an instant beauty change, overnight skin lightening is hard to achieve safely. If you’re researching how to get to lighter skin in a week, you’ll likely fall prey to risky ingredients. Some creams out there actually contain dangerous ingredients that can cause permanent damage to your skin.

Even if you can get relatively fast results in a safe way, it simply won’t fit well with the natural processes of your skin. This means it won’t last. Natural and safe ingredients take time to start showing results, but these effects will be long-lasting.

Checking your mirror every day for any changes in your skin tone isn’t the most useful approach either. Instead, learn more about melanin inhibition, natural skin brightening ingredients and how to choose a good-quality skin lightening product.

Skin lightening is an intricate process. You can achieve best results only if you approach it the right way. You’ll need to treat your skin holistically and work with it, instead of trying to trick it.

Any invasive method that relies on pushing your skin to look a certain way is very likely to backfire eventually.  On the contrary, going about skin lightening the natural way can produce some gradual but long-lasting effects.

Reach for Instant Brightening Home Remedies

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Skin lightening home remedies are popular for a reason. They allow you to reach into your kitchen or bathroom cabinets for a dose of instant gratification. If your concern is how to make skin whiter though, keep in mind that home remedies aren't very potent. Most of them aren’t effective melanin inhibitors. However, they do deliver instant whitening and brightening that can be useful when you're in a pinch and just want a little touch up, pronto.

So what should you use? Raw potatoes are starchy, which provides an instant whitening effect. Potatoes also contain the enzyme catecholase, whose mild bleaching properties reduce melanin production. You can easily whip your own lightening cream at home.

Another great option is orange peel. You can either dry the peels out in the sun and then blend them to make your own orange peel powder or you can even use them wet.

Make sure to go for organic oranges since the last thing you want is to give your skin a dose of pesticides!

Simply pass the orange peels through a food processor and then apply the pulp to your skin. Orange peels are famously rich in Vitamin C, which boosts skin brightness by exfoliating dead cells and reducing melanin activity.

Get Lighter Skin Fast with a Natural Lightening Serum

Amaira Natural Lightening Serum, $41.99

Now, if you want to go for a deep-action long-term lightening you have to rely on science. And why wouldn’t you? The cosmetic industry today is so advanced that it successfully combines the gentle action of all-natural ingredients with scientific methods that maximize their potency.

Sometimes, by using natural skin lighteners in their raw form as extracted from fruits for example, you can only benefit as much. Used in scientifically-formulated skin care products though, natural ingredients can bring you better results while staying safe.  

Having written about skin lightening, whitening and brightening for a while, we’ve tested a whole lot of relevant products so far. We can say that the skin lightening market is populated with some well-established brands and a bunch of useless stuff. What’s really exciting and worth your money though are up-and-coming high quality brands.

The Amaira Natural Lightening Serum is a gem that falls squarely in this category. This is an effective blend of several plant-derived skin lighteners without harsh chemicals or artificial perfume. It’s unassuming and makes no bombastic claims. It delivers precisely what the manufacturer promises and it has thoroughly amazed us.

It gets you whiter skin using its melanin-inhibiting mechanism, as we know that melanin is the pigment that gives your skin its color. Sometimes, there’s melanin overproduction that can cause hyperpigmentation, dark spots or a generally darker tan. By reducing tyrosinase - the enzyme responsible for melanin synthesis, it makes your skin lighter in the long run.  

The Amaira Lightening Serum effectively clears dark spots on the face, reduces discoloration and evens out skin tone. Even more, the serum can work wonders to lighten skin on sensitive areas such as the armpits and the inner thighs.

The serum is a luxurious skin whitening cocktail that packs potent plant extracts such as mulberry leaf, root and bark extracts, glycolic acid, kojic acid and Asian orchid extract - to name but a fw. Finally, it also contains one of the 50 most important traditional Chinese medicine plants, the Dendrobium Phalaenopsis flower.

As we pointed out before, relying on natural ingredients, the product is potent but it won’t give you super fast results. What it will give you is results that last much longer! We’re going through the third bottle with a break between the second and this one and there’ve been no signs of relapse.

On top of all, Amaira gives a whooping 60-day money-back guarantee, so you really shouldn’t worry about investing in this skin lightening serum .

Pamper with Face Whitening Masks

Another quick, self-pampering way to answer your quest of how to get lighter skin are whitening face masks. The best of them usually come from Asia and contain a medley of skin lightening and brightening ingredients. They often produce an immediate, noticeable lighter difference to your skin tone.

Which ones should you pick up? Sheet masks are awesome because the cover that the sheet provides allows increased penetration so the product can be delivered deep into the skin in a concentrated way. Originally invented in Korea, sheet masks are the real hype now everywhere. They’re easy to use, practical and effective.

Of course, the ingredients used matter just as much. For quick whitening benefits, go for pearl masks like Mothermade's Pure Pearl Brightening Mask and My Beauty Diary's Royal Pearl Mask. Pearl powder, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, contains a unique protein called conchiolin, which regenerate and revitalize the skin while boosting exfoliation of dead skin cells and speeding up ​skin cell turnover. Its antioxidant properties may even slow down melanin production.

But it's not just pearl powder that will give you quick results - Kose's Turn White Vitamin C Facial Masks are super affordable whitening masks loaded with Vitamin C that produce an immediate, noticeable lighter difference to your skin tone.

Another one we love is HadaLabo's Medicated Whitening Facial Mask, which contains a good dose of arbutin, an all natural skin lightener to quickly lighten dark spots and brighten overall complexion. There are a lot of great masks out there that give you the instant gratification of lighter skin so try out the range and see what delivers best for you!

Sudsy Up with a Skin Lightening Soap

Here's the deal, let’s make it clear from the outset: skin lightening soaps are not an instant skin lightener. After all, they only stay in contact with your skin for a few minutes, so they're not able to transform your skin tone into a drastically lighter shade.

That being said, small things make a big difference in the long run. And since skin whitening soaps aren't harsh and can be safely used alongside pretty much every other skin lightening product, it's a good idea to add them into your overall skin lightening regimen.

Plus, the beauty of soaping your way to lighter, brighter, more even skin lies in the fact it won’t take up any extra time. All you’ve got to do is wash the way you usually do - and let the suds sit on your skin for a while for best results.

As scary as it sounds, kojic acid isn’t bad for you! In fact, kojic acid is one of the best natural skin lighteners. Yes, that’s right, there’s nothing chemical about it. Kojic acid is a by-product the fermentation of sake, the Japanese rice wine. Kojic acid lightens skin in a similar way to the chemical hydroquinone. It penetrates the upper skin layers to inhibit the enzyme called tyrosinase, which is vital in the producing melanin. This way, it causes the skin to whiten over time.

You can read some tricks here on how to choose the best kojic acid skin lightening product.

So if you were wondering how to whiten body skin, soaps are the way to go. It makes for a brilliantly simple, yet effective method of gradually lightening your overall body skin tone and fading anything from freckles to unwanted tan lines. And all it takes is a few minutes in the shower.

Lather on a Skin Lightening Lotion

Lightening soaps are great as they provide a convenient way to get skin lightening ingredients to work on your skin everyday. The real magic, though, lies in creams and lotions. These tend to contain a more potent dose of melanin-inhibiting ingredients. What’s more, they stay on your skin long enough to make a visible difference.

As you probably know already, there's a huge range of skin lightening lotions, creams, and serums on the market. Which ones are the best for you? How to pick the most effective ones? Well, it all comes down to two things: the ingredients used and the potency.

The most popular skin lightening ingredient is hydroquinone and you can get it over the counter at concentrations of up to 2%. Even when used on its own, it is potent enough to correct hyperpigmentation and lighten overall skin tone. When combined with retinol though, it can effectively and visibly lighten your skin within a month or two.

But just because it works, it doesn't mean that hydroquinone is the best skin lightening ingredient for you. In fact, it can be too harsh and strong for sensitive skin types and even cause adverse effects for those with darker skin. Even if your skin can handle hydroquinone, you definitely want to adhere closely to guidelines to make sure you use hydroquinone safely.

If you don't want to deal with the potential risks of hydroquinone, rest assured that there are plenty of other all natural skin lightening ingredients. You've probably already heard of many of them, like kojic acid, alpha arbutin, licorice extract, mulberry extract and a whole lot more.

These natural skin lighteners may not work as quickly as hydroquinone, but when they're effectively combined and regularly used, they’re also capable of delivering much lighter, brighter skin tone – without the risk of adverse side effects.

The best ones to use? Besides our favourite pick, the Amaira Natural Lightening Serum that we told you earlier about, Meladerm cream packs a clever combination of licorice extract, bearberry extract, alpha arbutin, kojic acid and Vitamin C.

See more all natural skin lightening creams!

Exfoliate with Skin Lightening Peels

Here's a little secret to help you see results a lot faster: In order to help the skin lightening ingredients do their job, you must set the stage.

The best way to do it? With a skin lightening chemical peel.

Chemical peels are in a category of their own because unlike soaps, masks or lotions, you can't use them every day. In fact, at-home chemical peels should only be used about once a week. At most. The other option is to go for one at your dermatologist. Those can get a little more expensive.

They only stay on your skin for a short amount of time, around 5 minutes. Yet, despite their brief period on your skin, they’re able to produce drastic results.

How? It's because most chemical peels contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid and lactic acid or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid.

Both AHAs and BHAs are amazing, non-abrasive, potent exfoliators that work by bringing the pH of the skin to a higher acidity level in order to chemically loosen the “glue” that binds the dead and damaged skin cells.

This exfoliating action naturally promotes new cell growth leading to clearer skin, increased collagen production, fading spots and scars, and overall more radiant and youthful skin.

The benefits don’t stop here. There’re a number of skin lightening chemical peels that not only exfoliate but also contain melanin-inhibiting ingredients so you can get long-term skin lightening benefits and the exfoliation to reveal your results faster.

It’s more invasive than the best skin lightening serums and creams, but it will help you lighten your skin fast. The best part? These can be combined with every other technique on this list.

This was all from us, so take your pick. Choose one, two or several of the quick skin lightening methods discussed above and you'll be well on your way to lighter, brighter skin. Some we  haven’t covered, such as the hydroquinone product or glutathione injection. We do recommend the above ways to get whiter skin the most though. It may not happen overnight but you'll start seeing long-lasting results in a few weeks and isn't that worth the wait?