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May 23, 2014

THE DO's & DON'Ts OF SKIN LIGHTENING




THE DOs

DO understand that skin lightening is a journey. Ensure that you are not only physically prepared but mentally and financially prepared as well. Skin care is a lifetime commitment and skin lightening is no different. You will not go to bed as a NC55 and wake up an NC45. You must exercise patience and you must be consistent.

DO educate yourself on the science behind skin lightening. Understand the functions of your skin, research on the formation of melanin in the body. Understand how different skin lightening actives work to slow down melanin production or eliminate it all together. Understanding the science behind lightening will afford you the opportunity to make wise decisions when it comes on to choosing products. After all it's your skin, at the end of the day you should be responsible for how you treat it. The information is out there, make use of it.



DO know the various safe and unsafe skin lightening ingredients available. There are several skin lightening actives manufacturers may chose to use in their product, however it is up to you to know which is safe enough for you to use and which is not. My old blog post here gives you a list of safe skin lightening ingredients to look out for when buying products.


DO read product label. The ingredient list of a product (assuming the manufacturer is being truthful) will tell you a lot about a product and whether it's worth buying or not. If a product states no significant lightening ingredients but promises to lighten in 10 days then you'll know that it's suspicious. Also if a product's only lightening active is kojic acid yet kojic acid is the second to last ingredient on the list of 20 other ingredients then of course that product will be quite weak. The higher the concentration of a specific active, the further up on the ingredient list it will be. A general rule of thumb that I use is to search for products that include at least one lightening active right after the base liquid of the product (usually at least 3-5 ingredients down) preferably no more.


DO exfoliate before beginning the lightening process - This is possibly one of the single most important aspect of your skin lightening journey. Proper exfoliation as you should already know, lifts all the dead skin and allows for better penetration of your creams. Many persons who complain that their products aren't working haven't exfoliated properly (or long enough). One can easily get rid of permatans through exfoliation alone if it is done the right way.


DO invest in a good sunblock. As with exfoliation, there are NO shortcuts around this one - sunblock is an integral AND permanent product in your skin lightening regimen (every skin care regimen actually). There is no "best" sunscreen out there, your specific preference will factor in when choosing one. The only feature that remains constant is that your sunscreen should be broad-spectrum .... meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Without proper sun protection you will just be wasting your money and damaging your skin in the process.

DO use a vitamin C serum. Now this is actually my personal preference, but I believe that topical vitamin C is an essential part of every skin care routine. The benefits are endless - it promotes the production of collagen and works as a very powerful antioxidant to reduce sun-burned cells, protects against and reduces UV damage (especially when used in conjunction with a sunscreen). Vitamin C gives a healthy-looking natural glow to the skin when incorporated as part of your regular routine.

DO nourish your body from the inside out. Ensure that you are eating properly, taking regular vitamins, drinking enough water and getting enough rest. Try to cut down on smoking and drinking as much as you can. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and cut out the excess sugar. What we put inside our body greatly affects our skin.

DO fix any other skin issues you have before jumping into lightening. For example if you have acne or eczema-related issues, try to get those under control before starting this process. Multitasking with skin issues is hard and dealing with chronic eczema flare-ups while peeling will prove to get tiring after a while. Take it one step at a time.

DO use products for at least 4 weeks before evaluating their efficiency. Yes we would all love a product that starts to show results the next day - however that's not possible. Give your skin some time to get used to the product. Also sometimes we may not see the changes because we see ourselves in the mirror everyday - but other persons will. Be patient.

DO apply products in the correct order. Now many persons overlook this simple but important factor. How we apply our products can greatly increase their productivity. For example, the best time to apply our products is on clean, damp skin (basically right out of the shower) as your skin absorbs it better. Also the general rule of thumb is to apply products in order of consistency: from lightest to heaviest.

DO pamper and nourish your skin. Between all the peels and chemical ingredients, take a break to strengthen your skin. Many of these products can cause thinning and weaken your skin's resilience overtime. Stretch marks or prominent veins ain't cute so don't forget to involve preventative measures into your routine. Use collagen-producing ingredients: natural oils, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, vitamin E and the list goes on.


THE DON'T s


DON'T use steroids. Now again this is just a PERSONAL opinion and I'm not judging persons who currently use steroids, because that's your decision and it's your skin. I however don't think it's necessary as it's a temporary shortcut. I don't support the "only use it for a few weeks" theory either. We've all read and seen pictures of how steroids have completely messed some persons up. It's not worth it and there are much safer alternatives out there. Reversing the effects of steroids will end up delaying your routine much longer than waiting an extra few months with safer ingredients. Again this is just my opinion.

DON'T over-exfoliate. Over-exfoliating is worse than not exfoliating at all. Know your skin, acids burn - don't overdo it. You don't need to peel in layers, nor do you need to apply 90% LA peels directly to your skin or douse yourself in GPO for 2 months straight .... All of that is doing too much.


DON'T set unrealistic goals. Don't expect to jump 10 shades by summer or complain that a product isn't working when you've used it for less than a week. Be realistic with yourself - if for whatever reason you feel the need to go from Lupita to Mariah Carey, ensure that you have a set plan in mind. What SAFE products will you use? How will you maintain? Are you willing to basically hide from every inch of sun for the rest of your life? Don't over-do it, unless you are planning an extravagant makeover with plastic surgery - the more shades you drop, the more obvious it becomes so go safe and steady.


I hope arming yourself with these simple rules will help in achieving your skincare goals.

Until next post...remain beautiful,


4 comments:

  1. Other than skin lightening, I read some wise advice in your article. Quoting "..There is no best sunscreen...eating properly...drinking enough water...getting enough rest...use products for 4 weeks before evaluating", among others.
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pls Onome there is a lotion I have been looking for "lighten up" lotion. Any suggestions where I can find in Lagos. Thanks for ur quick response cos I have not applied in the last one month cos I can't find it.

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. Love the way you wrote the article Miss Onome.. I'm totally agree with your Dos and Don'ts in skin lightening.. and its pretty advantage to use all natural skin care products so that it won't harm your skin.. One of the best natural skin care I've used is LifeCell cream, its really very friendly and My skin loves it..

    ReplyDelete

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