Do skin whitening products and procedures work? Here’s what a Dermatologist has to say

From lightening pills to creams to injections, there are a plethora of products available that claim to lighten the skin tone. But do they really work? Dr Sirisha Singh tells the truth about these procedures.
Health & Fitness,Skin Diseases,skin whitening,skin lightening proceduresDo skin whitening products and procedures work? Here’s what a Dermatologist has to say
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Skin whitening is a booming business in India, and it has only been increasing year over year. A visit to the local pharmacy or a peek into an online pharmacy, and you will find an array of products and supplements promising visible and long-lasting fairness. However, is this promise justified? Can we change the colour determined by our genetics simply by applying a cream or taking some shots?To arrive at a conclusion, let’s start with what gives us our colour.  

Our complexion is predominantly determined by our genes. The genes decide the amount of melanin produced by the skin. However, some external factors may affect melanin production to some extent. These are UV exposure, age and hormones. We all know that UV exposure causes the skin to produce more melanin which can present as tanning or sometimes as irregular pigmentation. Many women are familiar with the mask of pregnancy (the pigmentation that happens during pregnancy or within a year of childbirth). Pigmentation may also be the first sign of ageing of our skin.  

The lifestyle factors are partly under our control. We may be able to reduce or control tanning or irregular skin tone by using a sunscreen regularly and eating a diet loaded with antioxidants. The healthy lifestyle may be coupled with a good skincare regime. This strictly is not skin whitening; it gives the skin a regular tone and texture and a healthy appearance.  

Glutathione injections have become hugely popular in the recent past. These are loosely sold as whitening shots. Regular glutathione along with Vitamin C gives the body a bonus supply of fantastic antioxidants which can take the tan away and give a healthy glow to the skin. This is mistakenly sold (often deliberately) as skin whitening shots. I would like to conclude by saying that skin whitening is not possible and should not be aspirational. What is achievable is a healthy glowing skin which has an even tone and texture. It is vital to follow a healthy lifestyle with a good skincare routine. Glutathione tablets or shots can only be a bonus addition.  

About the author: By Dr. Sirisha Singh, Dermatologist

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