Skin Brightening vs Skin Lightening

Skin Brightening vs Skin Lightening

The skincare industry is filled with different kinds of terms and navigating through them can be hard sometimes! Skin brightening is often confused for skin lightening and vice versa but we are here to clear up that confusion once and for all so that you can make an informed decision about the choices you make regarding your skin. 

What is Skin Brightening?

Restoring your skin's general natural radiance is referred to as skin brightening. It focuses less on specific pigmentation patches and more on removing dead, dull skin cells from the top layer of your skin to produce a more glowing appearance for your skin. Overall, a variety of techniques, items, and chemicals can result in skin that is more radiant. The elimination of dullness and dead cells is a crucial step in improving your radiance and glow. Exfoliation, both chemical and physical, is the main method used to do this. Beyond that, maintaining basic skin health through hydration, sun protection, and moisturizing is also necessary for having glowing skin.

What Ingredients Should You Look For? (Glowy Ingredients)

Skin brightening is basically the process of using products or treatments to increase the radiance and brightness of the skin. This can be achieved through the use of topical creams, serums, or masks that contain ingredients such as vitamin C, niacinamide, retinol, lactic acid, mandelic acid and beta hydroxy acids. Fruit enzymes like those found in papayas also help with skin brightening. Skin brightening treatments may also include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or laser therapy. The goal of skin brightening is to achieve a more even, radiant, and youthful complexion.

What is Skin Lightening?

As opposed to skin brightening, skin lightening has more to do with depigmentation and lightening the skin tone by reducing discoloration and evening out the skin tone. Your skin must be thoroughly bleached or whitened using prescribed drugs under a doctors supervision. Skin lightening treatments usually also help inhibit melanin production which in turn helps reverse sun damage and post acne scarring. Targeting pigmentation is desirable for general aesthetic and cosmetic purposes to lessen the appearance of age spots, photodamage, melasma, scars, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

What ingredients should you look for? (Melanin inhibiting ingredients)

Tranexamic Acid, Hydroquinone, Kojic Acid, Alpha Arbutin, Retinoids, Mushroom extract, Azelaic Acid and even Vitamin C are all good ingredients to lighten your skin and even out any discoloration.

The Final Verdict

The crossover between brightening and lightening is very common. Some substances can produce both lightening and brightening effects. Vitamin C and retinol are two examples of substances that can be used to target discoloration, even out skin tone and also provide a certain glow to the skin. Based on how they function, each of these substances would also be considered brightening agents as well. Pitting brightness and lightening against one another is only semantics.

The bottom line is that you must adopt a strategy that addresses the issues you are facing and the end results you desire. It is always advisable to speak to your medical esthetician or dermatologist before incorporating these ingredients into your skincare routine or going in for a procedure.

Thank you for reading! 

This article of the Skinsider Scoop was graciously written by Licensed Medical Esthetician, Dr. Pavitra Patel, and edited by the Clean Skin Club team. If you're interested in more from Dr. Pavitra, please shoot us an email, and follow her Instagram