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What’s the difference between skin lightening and skin brightening products?

Published on:3 October 2021, 12:00pm IST
Various skin lightening and brightening products are available in the market. A dermatologist helps us decipher the difference between them.
Grace Bains
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skin care product
An expert weighs in on the difference between skin lightening and skin brightening products. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Many of us are extremely conscious and vigilant when it comes to skincare. In order to improve the health of our skin, we gravitate towards cosmetic and beauty products which are available in numerous variants and target specific skin issues. In this long list of products, skin lightening and brightening products are widely used by millions of people the world over. So, if you want to include these products in your skincare routine, then perhaps an expert’s insights would come in handy!

In order to understand the nature of these products and the difference between them, we spoke to Dr Swati Mohan, senior consultant, Dermatology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad.

skin care products
You must know the difference between skin lightening and skin brightening products. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Is there a difference between skin lightening and skin brightening products?

“As dermatologists, we don’t endorse the usage of the term skin lightening. Both the processes are similar and have certain overlapping aspects”, Dr Mohan told HealthShots. She explained how skin lightening may be deemed as a misnomer in the Asian context, as it may not be perceived in the right way. This is due to the fact that skin lightening products may be seen as promoting fair skin as a standard of beauty.

Before throwing light on the difference between skin lightening and skin brightening products, Dr Mohan stated that it is important to understand both processes.

So, let’s dive right in!

What is skin lightening?

“When we say skin lightening, we are referring to a decrease in the skin’s melanin, which will lighten the skin, be it the face or the entire body”, informed Dr Mohan. This is achieved through topical application.

What is skin brightening?

Dr Mohan explained that skin brightening products are about achieving healthy and improved skin. This includes a reduction in scars, hyperpigmentation, and acne, amongst other things. She said that such products would promote having nourished, supple, and even-toned skin.

skin care products
Make the right choices when it comes to skin lightening and skin brightening products. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
How are skin lightening products different from skin brightening products?

When it comes to skin brightening products, Dr Mohan recommended AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), BHAs (beta hydroxy acids), and retinol. These ingredients in a product can definitely enhance the health of your skin, helping you steer clear of woes such as acne, whiteheads, scars and hyperpigmentation. Regularly applying these ingredients will make your skin healthy inside and out, giving you a natural glow.

With regard to skin lightening products, the expert said that hydroquinone and glutathione may be used. However, she warned that hydroquinone and glutathione may have side effects as their impact is intense for the skin.

Dr Mohan concluded by pointing out that skin brightening is focussing on hydrating the skin, repairing the skin barrier, and eliminating build-up. On the other hand, skin lightening products are an aggressive form of skin therapy that could promote colour bias.

So, ladies, be mindful of these differences, and make informed choices when it comes to taking care of your skin!

Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.