Whitening creams are often used to get white and bright skin. However, to get the maximum benefits of whitening cream, you need to know the ingredients contained in it and adjust it to your skin type.
For some people, having white skin is believed to increase self-confidence. Whitening cream is also one way to get bright and white skin. Currently, there are many whitening cream products on the market.
However, before deciding to use a whitening cream, it's a good idea to know exactly what factors affect skin color and how whitening cream products work on your skin.
Factors Affecting Skin Color
The main factor that determines the color of a person's skin is melanin or the natural pigment that gives color to the skin, eyes and hair. Melanin has an important role in the body, namely to protect the skin from damage caused by solar radiation.
The more melanin levels in the body, the darker a person's skin will be. On the other hand, if the melanin content is low, the skin color will be brighter or whiter. In people who have fair skin, an increase in the amount of melanin can cause dark spots or freckles freckles.
The amount of melanin in the skin is determined by various factors, including:
- Genetic or hereditary factors
- Sun exposure
- Exposure to certain chemicals on the skin
- Hormone influence
- Inflammation of the skin, for example due to irritation, infection, or autoimmune disease
High levels of melanin in the skin due to genetic factors generally cannot be avoided or changed. However, if you have fair and fair skin, you can prevent an increase in melanin levels by avoiding excessive sun exposure.
In addition, to restore the skin color to make it bright again, you can also try using skin care products, such as whitening creams. Not only brightening, whitening cream can also remove black spots, acne scars, or freckles due to aging.
Some of the content of whitening cream and its benefits
Whitening creams contain active ingredients or a combination of ingredients that can reduce the amount of melanin in the skin. The following are some of the ingredients that are often mixed in whitening creams:
1. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA)
Whitening creams generally contain AHAs. This substance is known to stimulate skin exfoliation (peeling), removes dead skin cells, and inhibits melanin production and makes skin look whiter.
However, this substance can cause side effects in the form of mild irritation of the skin and the skin becomes sensitive to sunlight.
Therefore, it is recommended that you use sunscreen when using creams that contain AHAs. If you are not used to it, you can start by using products that contain low AHA levels and adjust to your skin reaction and skin type.
2. Kojic acid
Kojic acid is a substance produced from the fermentation process of rice, for example in the production of sake or Japanese alcoholic beverages. Several studies show that kojic acid can inhibit the production of melanin, so it can whiten and brighten skin color.
Kojic acid usually contained in various skin care products, such as whitening creams or serums.
Technically referred to as a natural source of hydroquinone or hydroquinone-β-D–glucoside. Arbutin comes from leaves bearberry, cranberries, mulberry, or pears. This compound is also believed to lighten the skin.
4. Vitamin C and Vitamin E
You may have often seen whitening creams containing vitamin C or vitamin E. Both types of these vitamins have antioxidant properties that are good for repairing damaged skin.
Several studies so far have also shown that vitamin C and vitamin E can brighten and whiten the skin, and prevent the appearance of signs of premature aging.
5. Hyaluronic acid
This substance is also often added in whitening creams or other skin care products, such as moisturizers and facial serums.
This is because hyaluronic acid not only can brighten skin tone, but also has antioxidant properties that are good for skin rejuvenation. Hyaluronic acid can also moisturize the skin and overcome dry skin and wrinkles.
Some of the Whitening Cream Ingredients to Avoid
In addition to the ingredients above, there are whitening cream ingredients that do have the ability to reduce melanin production but are known to be harmful if used on the skin, namely:
Hydroquinone is a substance that can inhibit the production of melanin and prevent darkening of the skin. However, these ingredients can cause dangerous side effects, ranging from damaging the skin, causing severe stinging and irritation on the skin, as well as interfering with kidney function.
This is the reason why this ingredient is not allowed to be added in over-the-counter whitening creams.
The Indonesian government through BPOM has also banned distribution permits for whitening cream products containing hydroquinone because of the risk of causing harmful effects to health. This substance should only be used as prescribed and directed by a doctor.
Mercury also has a skin whitening effect, but it is highly toxic and can be harmful to the body, especially if used long term or in high doses.
Mercury is known to cause various side effects, such as kidney and nerve damage, skin irritation, and poisoning. Exposure to high levels of mercury in pregnant women can also cause miscarriage, birth defects, and developmental disorders in the fetus.
Before buying, it is important to ensure the safety of whitening cream products so that you avoid the dangers of disease and unwanted side effects. Therefore, make sure the product you want to choose has received a distribution permit from BPOM.
After buying a whitening cream, do not use it directly on the face or body parts as a whole. Do an allergy test first by applying the cream on the arm and waiting for about 24 hours to monitor the reaction.
If irritation, burning, itching, or other complaints appear, stop using it immediately and consult a doctor if necessary. It would be better if you consult a doctor first to determine what whitening cream is suitable for your skin condition, so that its use is safe and has maximum benefits.