Melanin is basically a pigment that is produced by cells called melanocytes and melanin is basically what determines the color of your skin, eyes, and hair. The amount of melanin under your skin determines how light or dark your skin tone should be. People with dark skin have more melanin under their skin. Absence of melanin in the skin and body leads to a condition called albinism. The ratio of melanin is determined by your genes basically, but overexposure to sun, hormonal imbalance, and mutations in DNA can alter or increase the amount of melanin. This is the reason why certain areas of your skin tend to get darker over time. UVA/UVB rays and DNA mutations can cause permanent skin darkening unless you undergo effective skin lightening treatments to lighten the skin. There are some skin lightening treatments that can lighten skin tone and reveal bright skin if you have excessively tanned from sun. If you wonder what skin lightening treatment is, read on to know about it in detail below.
Skin Whitening Treatment Procedures:
1. Hydroquinone treatment: Hydroquinone is a controversial skin lightening agent which has a bleaching effect on your skin. Hydroquinone is a topical skin treatment which inhibits melanin production and leads to skin whitening. It is commonly opted to treat hyperpigmentation, melasma, freckles, age and sun spots, and even acne scars. But there are a lot of controversies surrounding the use of hydroquinone and this treatment and all other skin lightening treatments should be strictly undertaken through the approval of a certified doctor. Long-term use of hydroquinone can lead to thinning of skin and also to a cutaneous disorder called as exogenous ochronosis in which blue-black patches develop on the skin and they are extremely hard to get rid of, so use hydroquinone with caution.
2. Glutathione treatment: Glutathione is actually an antioxidant which also inhibits the production of melanin and it speeds up cell turnover by replacing damaged cells. It also helps with anti ageing process. Experts claim glutathione can make skin lighter. Glutathione is usually taken in the form of injections and tablets; however, most doctors opt to inject their patients with injections to get quick results. Glutathione is a costly affair with injections and tablets that cost several thousands. Only a certified doctor can determine the dosage of glutathione for a particular person, so talk with your doctor about glutathione treatment for skin lightening.
3. Bleaching: This skin whitening treatment involves application of bleach frequently which lightens skin tone to some extent, but bleaching effect is not permanent and the results stay only for a short duration. Bleaching can also cause allergic reaction and rashes on sensitive skin.
4. Laser Surgery: During laser skin lightening treatment, concentrated beams of short pulsed light are targeted on the skin and pigment to fade away hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and uneven skin tone. The process stimulates the production of fresh cells which in turn would mean lighter skin tone. The procedure takes anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours and multiple sittings would be needed before you can see desirable results.
5. Chemical peels: Chemical peels involve high concentrations of AHA and BHA (alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids) such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, trichloroacetic acid, which would peel away the top layer of damaged skin and lead to bright and light skin tone. Doctors usually apply chemical peels to exfoliate the pigmented and dark skin. As new layer of skin comes up, desired skin lightening is achieved.
6. Micro-dermabrasion: This skin lightening treatment involves gently sloughing off the dead and damaged surface layer, revealing fresh and bright skin.
7. Cryosurgery: If you can tolerate moderate, short-term pain, cryosurgery may be a good treatment option for you. This procedure involves the use of a very cold substance, usually liquid nitrogen, to freeze and destroy dead skin tissues, which in turn will lead to growth of new and unblemished skin.
Approximately, skin lightening treatment can cost you as follows:
Facial Skin whitening treatment: Rs. 26,000 – Rs. 35,000 ($455 – $550)
Full-body skin whitening: Rs. 1,50,000 – Rs. 2,00,000 ($2325 – $3100)
It’s important to consult a certified doctor before on any kind of a treatment. A doctor would be able to guide you correctly towards the correct skin lightening treatment for you. Keep in mind that not all procedures are ideal for every skin problem. For instance, a chemical peel can help improve irregular pigmentation, dark spots, and wrinkles, but it may not suit sensitive skin and in fact exacerbate skin issues. A qualified and experienced doctor will help you determine what type of cosmetic procedure is right for you. Whatever the case, always remember to use a good broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin and to prevent it from further damage.