Skin whitening, also known as skin lightening and skin bleaching, refer to the practice of using chemical substances in an attempt to lighten the skin or provide an even skin color by reducing the melanin concentration in the skin. Several chemicals have been shown to be effective in skin whitening, while some have proven to be toxic or have questionable safety profiles.
How Skin Lightening Works
The goal of skin lightening is not to bleach your skin, but to fade out unwanted blemishes by inhibiting melanin, which gives your skin its color.
Within the many different layers of our skin, there is a layer called the basal layer. In this layer, our skin cells form and divide to create the outer skin layer. In this layer, there is a cell called a melanocyte. This cell is responsible for transporting melanosomes which are cells that contain pigment (melanin) which gives us our skin color. Located in the melanocyte is an enzyme called tyrosinase. This enzyme is responsible for the production of melanin. Hyperpigmentation is caused by this enzyme over producing melanin.