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by Dr.Pei-Chi Lin

Bust the Skin Whitening Myth!
Dermatologist teaches you how to choose proper whitening products.

As a skin whitening maniac, have you ever done the same as I have? To achieve a fair skin tone, I would use an UV umbrella, apply sunscreen, and wear long trousers and skirts when I go out. In summer time, to avoid exposure to the sun, the protection measure needs to be done soundly. Besides sun protection, it is also very important to choose whitening product properly.
Have you ever wondered if you use the right whitening product? Some people use the wrong approach to achieve whitening effect; it might bring the opposite result!

Myth No.1: Lemon is the ultimate whitening holy grail?

There has been a case where the patient prefers natural skincare and likes to apply lemon slices to her face as a skin nutrient but fails to wash it off thoroughly. After long-term exposure to the sun, spots appeared on her face. After consultation with the doctor, she realized that lemon peel contains fruit acid and produces a strong sensitization reaction. If it remains on the skin, it would cause hyperpigmentation. Whitening products that contain acid, due to its light-sensitive factor, if used improperly, it’s more likely to cause hyperpigmentation.


Myth No.2: Whitening ingredients are better with higher concentration? The more amount applied the better?

Each ingredient has its own applied limit, it’s not "The higher concentration, the better" or "the more added whitening ingredients, the more effective." These are mistaken myths. When selecting whitening product, read ingredients labeled on the box to review its formula as reference; of course, before purchasing, you must understand your skin type in order to avoid certain ingredients. For example, L-ascorbic acid, retinoic acid, fruit acid and other acidic components are not recommended to dry and sensitive skin type.

Myth No.3 The faster whitening result, the better?

There are a lot of skin care products on the market, some advertise whitening result in just 7 days or 14 days, with all kinds of marketing gimmick that’s driving the consumer to make a purchase. But the reality is that after actually using the product, it turns out the whitening result doesn’t come as fast and effective as it claims. The metabolic cycle of skin is 28 days long. When testing a whitening product, one should use the product for a long period of time and observed its result in order to evaluate its effectiveness. If brightening result shows in just 7 days, there is a high probability that high concentrations of acids is added to the product to allow rapid cell turnover and thinning the skin's epidermis, which makes skin look brighter under refraction of the sun temporarily. However, after using the product for a longer period of time, stratum corneum will grow thinner, it will likely cause redness, swelling, itchiness, or make skin sensitive. It will take lengthy effort to return the skin to its healthy state. Also note that, the whitening products that contain acid are light  sensitivity, it’s recommended to avoid using them during the day. Without proper sun protection, it’s likely to cause hyperpigmentation.

Choose the right whitening skincare product + diet control + adequate sun protection to achieve exceptional whitening result

Due to long-term external factors, such as intense ultraviolet radiation, environmental pollution, or internal stress and emotional fluctuations, abnormal life schedule, they cause oxidation of body cells with free radicals and accelerate melanin precipitation that causes skin aging and dullness. In order to achieve exceptional whitening result, it is important to choose products that only contain ingredients approved by Department of Health and whitening ingredients with anti-oxidation, the two factors combined create better results, such as glutathione with high anti-oxidation properties; it can fight free radicals, inhibit the secretion of tyrosinase, and avoid melanin production. That’s why it is often used in medical whitening treatment. Although whitening injection shows result right away, it cannot last long. The result is more effective from using skincare products. In addition, some foods are rich in glutathione, such as asparagus, avocado and okra. Apply skincare product and food-intake at the same time can achieve the best results. This ingredient will be applied in other fields and develop diversified utilization in the future.

The pursuit of fair skin tone requires long term commitment, the skin may appear lighter but one cannot completely change the skin color. Do not try false method for whitening and damage sebum barrier, causing long-term chronic inflammation; it is not worthwhile. In addition to choosing the right skin care products, the basic rule is to apply adequate sun protection. It is not hard to get healthy and glowing skin!