5 Simple, Effective Ways to Lighten Skin (And How to Use Them)

You’ve seen the advertisements for skin lightening products. You’ve witnessed some of your favorite celebrities get lighter and lighter skin over the years. So you know it can be done.

But you wonder…how do you go through several shades of transformation? It’s not like everyone has access to hundreds of thousands of dollars to shell out for lighter, brighter skin.

Well, guess what – you don’t need much money to get lighter. You just need to know the best ways to lighten skin and cleverly mix and match the techniques to suit your goals and skin type.

In case you’re wondering what your best options are to get lighter and brighter – here’s a roundup of all the methods you’ll want to know about!


microdermabrasion for skin lightening

This is generally a good option for people who have sensitive skin. Microdermabrasion works by exfoliating the skin, removing dark and duller layers, thus revealing brighter and lighter skin underneath.

Here’s how it works, in a nutshell: During the process of microdermabrasion, the superficial layer of dead skin cells is exfoliated and removed through a machine that uses a stream of fine crystals or a diamond tip.

By removing the stratum corneum, your body interprets it as an injury and works to quickly replace the lost, dead skin cells with new, healthy ones.

The result? You quickly and efficiently get to remove the thicker and uneven outer layer of dry, dead skin cells, which fades and lightens a whole host of issues such as scarring, acne spots, discoloration, sun damage, stretch marks, wrinkles, enlarged pores, and hyper pigmentation. Read more about microdermabrasion for skin lightening!

Chemical Peels

best skin lightening peel reviews

Chemical peel is also known as chemexfoliation or derma peeling. It is one of the least invasive procedures for skin lightening and treating other skin conditions which is why a lot of celebrities choose this procedure over others available. It makes use of chemical solutions such as salicylic acid or carbolic acid among others to form a controlled wound that eventually peels off, hence the name. As the skin peels off, a newer and brighter complexion is revealed.

There are three basic types of chemical peels people can choose from based on their wants and needs. There’s superficial or lunchtime peel, medium peel, and deep peel. In lunchtime peel, alpha hydroxy acid or another mild acid is used to penetrate only the outermost layer of the skin with the aim of gentle exfoliation. This is generally for improvement of skin discoloration and for refreshment of the face, neck, chest, or hands.

With medium peel, glyolic or trichloroacetic acid is applied to penetrate the outermost and middle layers of the skin for removal of damaged skin cells. This type of peel addresses issues such as age spots, fine lines, freckles, and moderate skin discoloration, among others.

Lastly, with deep peel, tricholoracetic acid or phenol is applied to deeply penetrate the middle layer of skin to remove damaged skin cells. This treatment has a more dramatic effect than the other two and removes age spots, freckles, scars, and lines, among others.

There are also chemical peels that you can do at home – the best thing about these is that you can find ones targeted for skin lightening. Which simply means that they contain exfoliating ingredients like glycolic acid or lactic acid as well as skin lightening ingredients like kojic acid and licorice root.

By combining both exfoliants and melanin blockers, you can get skin lightening benefits and the exfoliation to reveal your results faster. Read more about skin lightening chemical peels!

Skin Lightening Creams

natural skin lightening cream

Ah, now we’re approaching the most popular method of skin lightening: creams, lotions and serums. Since we’re constantly applying topical products to our skin anyway, it just makes sense to opt for products that contain skin lightening ingredients.

So what are these skin lightening ingredients that can effectively whiten your skin? The most popular one is hydroquinone, which is no doubt effective but can only be used short term and is not for everyone. It works by inhibiting the production of melanin and when combined with retinoids, you can get drastic skin lightening in just a couple weeks.

If the chemical option is not for you, no worries – there are a plethora of highly effective natural skin lightening ingredients that inhibit melanin production and whiten skin without harmful side effects. The best ones are kojic acid, licorice extract, alpha arbutin, mulberry extract and even Vitamin C.

Again, combining these skin lightening ingredients with an exfoliants like retinoids increases their effectiveness. Just keep in mind that as great as retinoids are, they can also cause dryness, redness, and sensitivity to sunlight so try your best to avoid sunlight and slather on the high SPF sunscreen!

Laser Skin Whitening

skin lightening surgery

Another popular procedure among celebs and non celebs alike is laser skin whitening. Laser skin whitening is a procedure wherein short pulsed concentrated beams of light are targeted to remove irregular or damaged skin to stimulate the growth of new skin cells thus giving the person a lighter skin tone. It is used to effectively treat various hyper pigmentation problems such as chloasma, melasma, age spots, liver spots, uneven skin, and other discoloration problems.

Laser skin whitening can be either ablative or non ablative techniques. Ablative lasers generally use older style carbon dioxide lasers that work to vaporize affected tissues. This removes the top layer of the skin as well as part of the underlying sub layer.

Meanwhile, non ablative lasers coagulate the affected tissue whilst keeping the outer layer of the skin intact. This provides for faster healing and recovery.

Additionally there is a third type called fractional skin resurfacing that uses a combination of both ablative and non ablative techniques. Laser energy micro beams are focused on areas of affected tissue in the upper layer through to the dermis below. This provides for more effective results with lesser risks and faster recovery time.

Generally though, ablative techniques provide the best results but with a higher risk of scarring. A practiced surgeon would be able to tell you which type is best suited for you. Yup, this is one skin lightening method that definitely requires a visit to the doctor.

Skin Lightening Pills

glutathione for skin whitening

The usage of pills for skin whitening has been popular for a long time. Because they are ingested rather than applied, a more even complexion is often achieved – and you won’t be missing any spots, which means you won’t have to worry about lightening your neck or your overall body tone later on.

Even better, skin lightening pills are easily found over the counter so you don’t need a doctor’s prescription. Plus, they’re safe to use even for those who have naturally darker skin. Some prevent the oxidation of existing melanin, some quicken the shedding of skin cells with melanin pigment, while some slow down the production of melanin.

The most popular ingredient found in whitening pills is Glutathione, something you may have already heard of especially those who have also been on the hunt for skin whitening remedies. Generally skin lightening pills work for all skin types and are used by both men and women alike.