Do you desire a flawless complexion but are afraid to bleach your skin? Safe bleaching is harmless and often considered beneficial.
Skin bleaching can help even out your skin tone and remove unwanted spots, freckles and scars on your face. Herbal bleaches that contain Ayurvedic ‘Varnya’ herbs enhance your natural tone without adversely affecting your skin health.
"The Varnya herbs are effective when taken internally and applied externally," says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
Scroll down to know which chemical ingredients to avoid in face bleaches and the best ways to safely bleach different types of skin.
- What Is Meant By Skin Bleaching?
- Benefits Of Facial Bleaching
- Ingredients That Are Safe For Skin Bleaching
- How To Bleach Different Types Of Skin Safely?
- Face Bleaches For All Skin Types
- Side Effects Of Skin Bleaching
- How To Treat Skin That Is Damaged From Bleaching?
- Frequently Asked Questions About Skin Bleaching
What Is Meant By Skin Bleaching?
Skin bleaching  is the procedure of lightening skin tone, dark spots and blemishes on the face to achieve a brighter, even-toned complexion. To attain this, several chemical compounds in the form of creams, soaps and even injections are used.
The pigment melanin gives your skin its natural tone. Darker skin tones have more active melanocytes that produce more melanin than lighter skin tones. Face bleaching agents work to reduce the amount of melanin pigment in your skin to give you a light-coloured complexion.
1. How Do Bleaching Agents Work?
Face bleach agents work in various ways to reduce the concentration of melanin in your skin. Certain compounds inhibit the activity of tyrosinase, an enzyme that controls melanin production. Others destroy existing melanin, and prevent tyrosinase to reach its full potential or prevent melanosomes (pigment granules) from transporting melanin to the upper layers of your skin.
2. Is Bleaching Good For Skin?
Face bleaching, like most other cosmetic procedures, has its pros and cons. Using natural ingredients to bleach your skin is often considered harmless and even beneficial. However, certain skin bleaching compounds like mercury, hydroquinone and steroids are better avoided, keeping in mind long-term skin health.
The ancient Greeks used to bleach their skin using mercury and white lead carbonate, ingredients which are now banned for their side effects.
Benefits Of Facial Bleaching
1. Face bleaches exfoliate the upper damaged layer of skin, thereby revealing the healthy skin that lies underneath.
2. Face bleach removes dark spots, suntan, acne scars, blemishes and freckles.
3. Skin bleaching helps remove dead cells and dirt build-ups. This can improve acne conditions.
4. Skin bleaching can be a good temporary solution for skin affected by hyperpigmentation.
5. Facial bleach also lightens the colour of your facial hair, making it invisible. So you don’t need to wax your peach fuzz anymore.
Ingredients That Are Safe For Skin Bleaching
There are several skin bleaches available in the market and most of them contain chemical skin lightening agents. So it is important to know which ingredients are safe for your skin, especially if you are planning for long term use. Most bleaches contain the skin bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide. Others can have hypochlorite, hydroquinone, corticosteroids, and retinoids.
Skin specialists often recommend herbal face bleaches due to the serious side effects that occur from chemical compounds used in bleaches. Herbal bleaches contain botanical or plant-based natural skin lightening compounds that are non-toxic and suitable for all skin types.
The natural ingredients  listed below are considered safe for skin bleaching.
4. Kojic Acid
5. Other Fruit Acids
6. Ascorbic Acid
How To Bleach Different Types Of Skin Safely?
A. How To Safely Bleach Dry Skin?
- Prepare your skin two to three days in advance before you bleach. Moisturize twice daily. You can even massage almond/ coconut/ sesame oil twice a day to keep it hydrated.
- Avoid harsh cleansing products before you bleach. You need your skin to be hydrated to tolerate the effect of the face bleach.
- Look for herbal bleaches that contain natural ingredients. These are considered the best bleaches for dry skin. Do a patch test 48 hours before, to check for skin irritations.
- Avoid keeping the bleach beyond the specified time. Use cool water to wash it off.
- Do not scrub after bleaching your face.
- Apply a skin-soothing moisturizer after bleaching.
- Wear sunscreen to protect your dry skin from sunlight.
B. How To Safely Bleach Oily Skin And Acne Prone Skin?
- Bleaches for the face are often considered beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin, as they unclog pores and remove acne scars. However, one must check for open acne lesions. Consult your dermatologist if you have a severe inflamed acne condition before applying your face bleach.
- If you are undergoing topical acne treatment, consult your doctor to know if the ingredients in your bleach are safe to be used with the acne medication.
- Do a patch test 48 hours before use.
- Wash your skin with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt and oil for the face bleach to be more effective.
- Moisturize your skin after washing off the bleach and keep it sun protected.
C. How To Safely Bleach Sensitive Skin?
- Most face bleaches meant for sensitive skin have herbal extracts like aloe vera, turmeric, calendula along with the main bleaching agent. Read the ingredients carefully to check for skin allergens.
- Keep your skin moisturized and check for skin allergies before you bleach. Bleaches for the face are better avoided if your skin is already suffering from an allergic reaction.
- A patch test 48 hours before is mandatory when it comes to bleaching sensitive skin. Follow the bleaching instructions carefully.
- Apply an ice pack and aloe vera gel after bleaching. This helps soothe possible skin irritations and prevent breakouts.
- Moisturize and protect your sensitive skin from the sun after you’ve bleached.
- Give your skin a settling time of 6 to 8 weeks before you bleach again.
Face Bleaches For All Skin Types
A. Natural And Homemade Face Bleaches
1. Lemon And Honey Bleach
Ascorbic acid, a form of Vitamin C present in lemon juice, is a natural skin bleaching agent. Considered as one of the best natural bleaches for your face, it helps to reduce melanin production and lighten skin tone.
Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant that can combat oxidative stress, making your skin look younger and more vibrant. A lemon and honey bleach can also reduce acne conditions and skin inflammations.
How To Use
Squeeze a full lemon and add honey to it. Apply for 10 to 15 minutes and wash off. Repeat as required.
2. Goji Berry And Kiwi Bleach
Rich in antioxidants, goji berries are known for their depigmenting abilities, making them a popular ingredient in skin lightening skincare products. They also fight free radical skin damage and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on your face. Kiwis are rich in flavonoids and display tyrosinase inhibiting properties.
How To Use
To bleach your face at home, blend goji berries and a kiwi. Apply on the skin. Wash off after 30 minutes.
3. Potato Bleach
Potato juice has a mild bleaching capacity that can reduce hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone with regular use. It is also rich in Vitamin C that boosts collagen production, helps with acne conditions and prevents premature skin ageing.
How To Use
Peel and grate a raw potato and extract its juice. Apply this on your face and wash off after 15 minutes. You can also peel and cut the potato into small pieces and rub it all over your face.
4. Papaya Or Pineapple Bleach
Both papaya and pineapple have natural skin bleaching abilities. Papaya contains the enzyme papain that can reduce skin pigmentation and is known for its tyrosinase blocking abilities. Bromelain in pineapple is a good exfoliator that removes the upper tanned, damaged layer of your skin and brings to the surface a more even-toned, healthy layer.
How To Use
To bleach your face naturally, mash ripe papaya or pineapple and apply it on your face. Leave it on for 20 minutes and wash off.
5. Grapeseed Extract Bleach
Grapeseed  is rich in a powerful polyphenolic antioxidant known as proanthocyanidin. Recent research in the cosmetic field shows its amazing capacity as a tyrosinase inhibitor. Regular application of grapeseed extract can reduce sun tan and other types of pigmentation formed from melanogenesis.
How To Use
Grapeseed extract is often available in the form of oils. Check your skin sensitivity to the product before applying or mix it with a carrier oil. Leave it on for half an hour and wash it off.
B. Ayurvedic Herbal Bleaches For Skin
According to the ancient science of Ayurveda, your skin reflects your inner health. Hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tones, scars and blemishes occur when the fine balance of your doshas (bodily humours) is disturbed. The Bhrajaka Pitta, a sub-dosha of pitta dosha, regulates the production of melanin in your body.
Bhrajaka pitta dosha vitiations can cause excess melanin production, giving you a darker skin tone. To treat the condition, Ayurveda recommends the use of Varnya herbs that lighten your skin tone, remove scars and spots and enhances your overall skin health.
1. Milk, Turmeric And Sandalwood Bleach
Turmeric and sandalwood are known skin lightening herbs. Additionally, lactic acid in milk helps exfoliate skin and remove dead cells, bringing about an enhanced brightening effect.
How To Use
To bleach your face naturally at home, make a paste with raw turmeric, sandalwood powder and milk. Apply this on your face and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes before washing off.
2. Yashtimadhu Or Licorice
Yashtimadhu contains the natural bleaching compound glabridin. Owing to its powerful melanin reduction abilities, licorice extracts  are used in many herbal bleaches. It also contains anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing properties that prevent various inflammatory skin conditions (acne, eczema) and keep your skin looking younger.
How To Use
Licorice powder can be mixed with milk or honey to bleach your face naturally. Wash off after 20 to 30 minutes of application.
3. Kumari Or Aloe Vera Bleach
Aloin in aloe vera is a natural depigmenting compound. Applying aloe vera regularly can help lighten skin tone and reduce tans, dark spots and blemishes on your skin.
How To Use
Kumari or aloe vera gel is harmless and can be left on the skin for long hours for the best bleaching effects.
4. Vetiver Bleach
Vetiver is a medicinal Ayurvedic herb used to treat various skin conditions including hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. Its biological properties as a natural skin bleaching agent make it a popular ingredient in many skin lightening products.
How To Use
Vetiver root extract is available in oil and powder form. For using vetiver essential oil, mix it with a carrier oil and apply to your skin. In case you are using vetiver powder, make a paste with honey and apply it to bleach your skin naturally.
Vedix Tip: Include ginger, garlic and onion in your diet after bleaching your face. These foods reduce skin inflammation and assist in skin healing.
Side Effects Of Skin Bleaching
Due to their numerous side effects, various skin bleaching products, especially the ones available over the counter, are banned in many European countries and the US. The commonly observed side effects of skin bleaching are mentioned below:
1. Exogenous Ochronosis
This skin condition is caused by long term usage of skin lightening creams that contain hydroquinone. It is more common in dark skin tones. Exogenous ochronosis  causes blue-black pigmentation to appear on your skin and is often quite difficult to treat.
2. Steroid Acne
The use of skin bleaches that contain corticosteroids can lead to steroid acne. The lesions commonly appear on the chest, arms, back and face. It is characterized by small comedones or inflamed acne pustules, papules and nodules.
3. Mercury Poisoning
Mercury as a bleaching ingredient is banned across several countries due to severe skin side effects. Mercury poisoning  can cause nerve damage, mood swings, skin irritations, kidney failure, numbness and other undesirable effects.
4. Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis resulting from exposure to face bleaching creams can cause skin rashes, inflammation, dry, scaly patches and redness. The three ingredients that usually prompt such skin conditions are hydroquinone, corticosteroids and mercury.
5. Potential Risk Of Skin Cancer
Melanin protects your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. With face bleaches constantly inhibiting melanogenesis, your skin is put at a greater risk of developing sun-induced skin cancer.
How To Treat Skin That Is Damaged From Bleaching?
Various skin conditions can occur from the use of face bleaches amongst which skin sensitivity, skin rashes and bleach burns are the most common ones. The below-mentioned home remedies are useful in treating these skin problems.
1. Aloe vera gel and cucumber
2. Coconut oil.
3. Paste of marigold petals, leaves and neem leaves
4. Ghee/ honey/ gingelly oil/ tea tree oil
5. Gotu kola with ghee
6. Red or white sandalwood paste with ghee
If the conditions after skin bleaching persist for more than a week or do not respond to the above-mentioned remedies, seek immediate medical advice.
Frequently Asked Questions About Skin Bleaching
1. Which Bleach Is The Best For All Skin Types?
Bleaches that contain herbal ingredients such as turmeric, aloe vera, citrus extracts, licorice extracts etc are considered the safest. Avoid bleaches that contain harmful chemicals like corticosteroids, mercury and hydroquinone.
2. How Long Does Skin Bleaching Last?
Skin bleaching effects can last around 3 to 4 weeks depending upon your sun exposure. Once the effect of the bleach begins to wear off, your skin’s melanin production will return to normal, bringing back your natural skin tone.
3. How Often Can We Bleach Our Face?
Frequently bleaching your skin with harsh chemicals is considered unhealthy. Give your skin a resting period of a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks before you bleach again.
The Last Word
The side effects of skin bleaching have been frequently discussed in several medical articles. However, safely bleaching your skin with natural ingredients can help you attain your desired look without causing any damage to your skin. So read the label of the bleach carefully, do a patch test and give your skin a lengthy recovery time to maintain both health and beauty.Know Your Dosha Now
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