The dangers of hydroquinone and some other skin whitening ingredients are widely accepted in most parts of the world. People searching for effective skin lightening products are concerned about finding products that contain safe and natural ingredients. Here are the top 10 most popular safe and naturally derived ingredients that are used in skin lightening products today.
1. Kojic Acid
Kojic acid is derived from Koji (a Japanese mushroom). Kojic acid lightens the skin by inhibiting the production of an enzyme in the skin called tyrosinase which in turn reduces the amount of melanin produced. Kojic acid is one of the most popular natural ingredients found in skin lightening products.
This skin lightening ingredient is extracted from the roots of the paper mulberry plant. Mulberry is said to be more effective than hydroquinone and kojic acid in the sense that significantly lower concentrations are needed to have the same effect as higher concentrations of kojic acid and hydroquinone.
3. Alpha Arbutin
Alpha arbutin has a stronger effect than beta-arbutin and is also commonly found in skin lightening products as a safer alternative to hydroquinone.
4. Beta Arbutin (Bearberry Extract)
Beta arbutin (commonly known as just arbutin) is derived from the leaves of bearberry, cranberry and blueberry plants. It works in a similar way to kojic acid, in that it inhibits the production of tyrosinase to restrict the amount of pigment produced. Although naturally derived, it can cause skin irritation in some people with sensitive skin.
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that has several health benefits including boosting the immune system and cleansing the liver. The only known side effect of glutathione is skin whitening. All these health benefits plus a smooth, glowing, lighter skin tone – amazing! Glutathione is commonly found in skin lightening pills but can also be used topically when found in skin lightening soaps.
6. Licorice Root
Licorice is commonly used in the skin lightening industry. Licorice also works to inhinit the enzyme tyrosinase to limit the amount of pigment produced. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is particularly effective at fading suntans.
The papain enzyme found in papaya works to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and reveal new, brighter skin cells beneath. Orange and green papaya are both effective but green papaya contains more of the papain enzyme. This ingredient is most often found in soaps but sometimes in skin lightening creams too.
8. Vitamin A (Retinol)
Vitamin A Acid, also known as retinol or tretinoin increases the rate at which skin cells are renewed. Increased skin cell turnover means that the brighter, fresh skin underneath can be revealed.
9. Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)
Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide or Vitamin B3 has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is an effective topical skin lightener and works by inhibiting melanin production in the skin. Vitamin B3 is found in some skin whitening products and sun screens but it is also possible to buy Niacinamide capsules where the contents can be applied directly to the skin.
10. Vitamin C
At concentrations of about 10%, Vitamin C works to suppress the production of pigment in the skin. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate is a derivative of Vitamin C and this is the form of the ingredient that is commonly found in skin whitening products. Vitamin C can also protect the skin from ultraviolet rays.
These ingredients are not usually intended to work in isolation. An effective skin lightening treatment combines several of these ingredients as they tend to work well together to produce the desired results.