Bleaching skin products

In the market for the best Bleaching Skin Products? Bleaching or skin lightening creams or ointments are widely used worldwide either to attempt to remove localised dark patches (eg, melasma or postinflammatory hyperpigmentation) or as a fashion trend aiming to reduce normal melanin in the skin. Today, we will review the best skin whitening products, skin bleaching cream for dark spots and list of banned skin lightening creams.

Skin bleaching products are chemical-based creams or lotions that aim to reduce dark pigmentation in the skin. Besides skin lightening though most skin bleaching products either contain Hydroquinone, Tranexamic acid or Licorice extract. Above are three of the best skin bleaching products used by men and women worldwide due to its’s natural ingredients that aid in whitening the skin.

Bleaching Skin Products

What do bleaching creams contain?

A bleaching cream may contain a variety of ingredients. Some of these are more effective than others. In many areas, unregulated products are sold, often without listing their contents or they are labelled incorrectly. They may be safe but completely ineffective, or the chemicals may result in side effects and toxicity. The risks depend on which ingredient is being applied to the skin, in what concentration, over what area, and for how long it is used.

Skin lightening agents may include:


Hydroquinone is an effective skin lightening agent. It is no longer available in some parts of the world because of the damaging effects of long-term use. The recommended concentration over the counter is 2%, but up to 4% is available from a dermatologist in some countries. It should be used daily for no more than 6 months.

Its initial effect of inhibiting pigmentation is lost with prolonged application and sun stimulation.

Exogenous ochronosis is the main risk of continued use of hydroquinone. This results in an irregular blue-black staining affecting sun-exposed skin and nails. It is due to deep deposition of the same pigment that occurs in alkaptonuria (endogenous ochronosis). Exogenous ochronosis may also occur from phenol, quinine or resorcinol.

Ochronosis may also result in loss of elasticity of the skin and impaired wound healing.

In some subjects, excessive use of hydroquinone in combination with certain foods in the diet (fish, eggs, offal, beans) can result in an unpleasant fish odour in the body secretions such as sweat and urine (trimethylaminuria).

Hydroquinone is sometimes given another name, such as:

  • 1, 4-Benzenediol
  • Quinol
  • Benzene-1
  • 4-Diol
  • p-Diphenol
  • p-Dihydroxyl benzene
  • Hydrochinone
  • p-Hydroxylphenol
  • Hydrochinonium
  • Hydroquinol
  • Tequinol.

Monobenzyl ether of hydroquinone is a strong derivative of hydroquinone that almost always causes nearly irreversible complete depigmentation of the skin (white patches).

Topical retinoids

Tretinoin is the main topical retinoid that has been used in skin lightening products. It thins the skin, increasing the penetration of other agents. as well as having a direct effect in reducing melanisation. It is a prescription medication because of potential risk in pregnancy. It can be quite irritating and may cause contact irritant dermatitis.

Cysteamine cream

Cysteamine cream is applied for 15 minutes each day for up to 12 weeks, then twice weekly for maintenance. It can cause temporary burning and redness, and may also cause dryness and irritation, relieved by applying an emollient.


New active skin lightening compounds isolated from plants are being added to modern cosmetics. They appear to inhibit the production of melanin without being toxic to the melanocyte (tyrosinase inhibitors). It is not yet known which preparations are the most effective. Active ingredients include:

  • Arbutin 1% (a glycosylated hydroquinone)
  • Paper mulberry 1%
  • Glabridin 0.5% (licorice extract)
  • Arctostaphylos patula and Arctostaphylos viscida
  • Aloesin
  • Gentisic acid
  • Flavonoids
  • Hesperidin
  • Ascorbic acid or its derivative, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate 10%
  • Niacinamide
  • Yeast derivatives
  • Polyphenols
  • Soy proteins.

Other agents

Other agents in use for their skin lightening effect include:

  • Azelaic acid 20%, produced by the yeast, Malassezia
  • Kojic acid 1-4% (5-hydroxy-4-pyran-4-one-2-methyl), produced by a fungus (may cause contact irritant or contact allergic dermatitis)
  • Mequinol 5-20% (4-hydroxyanisole)
  • Isopropylcatechol
  • N-acetyl-4-cysteaminylphenol
  • N-acetyl glucosamine
  • Piceatannol.

Unregulated skin lightening creams may include many other ingredients. These may be relatively safe (for example, lemon juice), toxic (camphor), irritating (detergents) or likely to provoke allergy (hair dye). Complications may include:

Topical corticosteroids

Steroid creams used for bleaching skin colour
Dermovate cream

Dermovate cream

Dermovate cream

Dermovate cream

Topical corticosteroids lighten the skin by the following mechanisms.

  • Initial blanching due to vasoconstriction
  • Slowing down skin cell turnover so reducing the number and activity of melanocytes (pigment cells)
  • Reducing production of precursor steroid hormones thus reducing production of melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH).

In New Zealand and many other countries, stronger topical corticosteroids are regulated and can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. Products containing betamethasone valerate, fluocinonide and clobetasol propionate can be purchased over the counter from a pharmacy or from drug vendors in a marketplace in other countries.

Potent topical steroids have a wide range of local side effects including skin thinning and atypical fungal infections (tinea incognita). When used over large areas for prolonged periods, they may risk serious internal disease from hypopituitarism. Steroid addiction syndrome results in folliculitis and steroid rosacea.

Steroid side effects after using bleaching cream
Stretch marks from Dermovate cream

Stretch marks

Folliculitis from steroid cream



Mercury was used as mercurous chloride, oxide and ammoniated mercury in many cosmetics and toiletries in the early part of the 20th century before it was realised it caused toxicity. It is still found in some skin lightening creams because mercury inactivates the enzyme that leads to the production of melanin. These products should not be used and are illegal in many countries including the USA and New Zealand.

Longterm application of mercurial products to the skin makes the skin and nails darker because the mercury is deposited in the epidermis, hair follicles and dermis.

Mercury poisoning results in acute and chronic toxicity including acrodynia, as well as neurological and kidney damage.

Bleaching or skin lightening creams

Bleaching Cream For Face

Editor Pick Best Bleaching Cream

Jolen Creme Bleach

Check Price on Amazon

The simple and classic formula from the house of Jolen is loved by people across the world for its fast and gentle action. It comes with a mixing cup which can be used to make the bleach at home before applying it. It is perfect for bleaching fine hair like eyebrows, upper lips and sideburns. Hair tends to turn dark in winters and this cream is perfect for treating your peach fuzz to make it look non-existent. The price of the product is also very less as compared to other bleaching creams available in the market. The effect of the bleach lasts for approximately one month to 6 weeks depending upon the hair growth and thickness. Just mix the cream with the activator powder in the cup provided with the product to get mild gentle bleach in minutes. Apply the bleach with the help of an applicator so that it does not stain your fingers.

What we like about it:

The fact that this product is not tested on animals and is easy to make and use makes it popular bleach in the market. It is cheap and effective when compared to other products but works really well on facial hair to make them light and finer.

Check Video Review

Black and White Bleaching Cream

Check Price on Amazon

This modest tube of bleaching cream is quite popular for its easy to use packaging and stellar performance. It soothes the skin whiles fading the spots gradually. It can also be used on hands and legs if you have freckles which look odd against the skin. The active ingredient in this cream is Hydroquinone which is a well-known bleaching agent. The concentration of this ingredient in the cream in around 2% which is milder than other strong bleaching formulas. This is the reason why this cream can be used comfortably on delicate areas like private parts, underarms, hands, and face. It takes around 3-4 weeks to get the desired results but the mild formulation of this cream with its soothing fragrance is preferred by people around the world for bleaching purposes. The texture of the cream is light and not greasy like other bleaching creams which can cause sweating.

What we like about it:

The compact packaging with easy to apply cream makes it a very travel-friendly product. The results of this cream are loved by many and the fact that it does not smell very strong is an added advantage. This cream works effectively on scars, acne marks and pimples which are common skin concerns for many people.

Check Video Review

Clinicians Complex 6% Skin Bleaching Cream

Check Price on Amazon

With three ingredients which work on lightening sun spots and other dark spots, this cream is an effective bleaching cream if you have uneven skin tone. The three main ingredients of this cream are hydroquinone, kojic acid, and bearberry extract which are known to work on lightening the skin tone. The price of the product is a bit on the higher side but the results of the cream are completely worth it. It also contains other natural ingredients like lemon extracts, pineapple extracts, grape extracts etc which have vitamin C in them. This vitamin C is an effective remedy for reducing sun tan and dark spots. It also works on treating sunburned skin. With 2% concentration of hydroquinone, this cream acts as a great bleaching agent for treating uneven skin and marks. Apply it twice a day in morning and evening for one to two months for getting a soft even skin tone without any side-effects.

What we like about it:

The presence of natural extracts in the cream makes it a milder version of some strong bleaching creams available in the market which burn the skin when used for long. The lemon and pineapple extracts make the skin soft and radiant.

Check Video Review

Emma Cardinelli Skin Lightening 1.7 oz Hydroquinone Bleaching Cream

Check Price on Amazon

With 6% glycolic acid and 2% hydroquinone, this cream has one of the most potent formulas available in the market. It can be used on neck, face, chest and legs. This cream can also be used to treat rosacea and melasma. It contains vitamin E and liquorice extract which help lighten the marks and treat uneven skin. A great feature of this product is that it comes with a pump dispenser which makes it very easy to take the product out. Another good thing about it that it does not have a strong smell which can irritate sensitive skins. You can layer this cream under your sun protection cream for added protection from the harsh rays of the sun. People who suffer from hyper-pigmentation love this cream as it makes the skin even without taking away the hydration. The sleek and classy packaging with pump makes it an ideal product for travelling as the protective cap is sturdy and secured.

What we like about it:

The pump dispenser packaging with an effective formula makes this a very useful product when it comes to lightening skin scars, marks, pigmentation, sun spots and tanning. The glycolic acid makes the skin look even and glowing by peeling away dead skin cells.

Nadolina Skin Bleach Extra Strength

Check Price on Amazon

This bleaching creams works on fading away dark spots on the skin without overly drying the skin. It has a moisturizing formula which leaves the skin soft and smooth with enhanced radiance. It comes in a tub packaging and costs about10 dollars which is a descent amount for a quality bleaching cream. Continuous usage for one and a half to two months gives you a lighter and brighter skin with reduced pigmentation and scars. This product can also be used for delicate areas like underarms and face for lightening the marks. The cream takes its time to show results but patience is the key to bleach applications. All creams containing the ingredient Hydroquinone should be used sparingly and carefully as frequent application can damage the skin further. The percentage of active ingredients is just 3% in this cream so it is a quite strong bleaching formulation which can be used by all skin types.

What we like about it:

Unlike other bleaching creams, this cream also works well on tan spots and lines without making the skin irritated or red. It softens the skin also and makes the marks and scars light within a few days or usage. The quantity and price of this cream is also justified as you get a lot of product at a decent price.

Bleaching Cream Buyer Guide:

When it comes to buying bleaching creams, it is very important to keep some factors in mind as a wrong product can burn your skin and cause more harm than good. The basic principle behind all bleaching creams is to inhibit the production of melanin which is a skin colorant. There are various bleaching agents like hydroquinone, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), glycolic acids, kojic acid, and vitamin C etc which are found in these creams in various concentrations. The following factors must be kept in mind before you buy a bleaching cream for your face and body:

  • Formula & Strength

The formula of the bleach is very important as natural ingredients should be used along with active chemicals for giving balanced skin care solutions. Some bleaches contain very strong and harsh chemicals which can burn the skin and cause further damage. Look for creams which have soothing ingredients like aloe Vera, vitamin C, and fruit extracts. Avoid ingredients like mercury, high concentrations of hydroquinone, steroids etc which can damage the skin. Read the label carefully before investing in the product so that you do not regret later. Buy products from trusted brands which are known for their products and ingredients. Cheap bleaches can not only damage your skin but also affect your overall health.

  • Purpose

Identify the reason why you are looking for a bleaching cream as different ingredients work on different skin concerns. Not all bleaching creams are used for enhancing fairness. Some are used for treating scars, reducing pigmentation, fading acne spots etc. People who suffer from skin conditions like Melasma, Rosacea or tanning should look out for creams specifically created for their skin concern. Examine your skin and then decide the concerns you want to address with bleaching creams. Always take the opinion of a dermatologist before you try bleaching creams on delicate areas like private parts and underarms. Try a sample before buying a full size bottle to see how the cream works on your skin.

  • Price

Check the price of the product and whether it justifies the results the product claims to give. There are many creams available in the market which are priced at around 100 dollars but give the same end results as a drugstore cream. Normal bleaching creams can cost anywhere between 5 dollars to 35 dollars depending upon the brand and ingredients. The price can also go up if the quantity of the cream is more. Bleaching creams tend to dry out sooner than you thing so it is always advisable to buy small tubes instead of big tubs. You can also save some money by buying the creams online as there are many deals and discounts available on the internet.

  • Packaging

The packaging of the cream is also one of the important factors when it comes to making a decision. Some formulas can be applied directly while some need to be mixed with an activator for making the bleach. A pump dispenser should be preferred for bleach so that the product can be taken out easily. Small tubes should be bought instead of tub packaging as they are more hygienic.

Here are some general tips and tricks you should consider while buying and using bleaching creams to get maximum benefit out of the formula:

  • Check if the cream offers sun protection as layering too many products on the skin reduces the efficacy of the bleaching creams.
  • The concentration of hydroquinone in the cream is very important and such creams should be used sparingly as frequent usage of this ingredient affects the overall health of an individual.
  • Check for side-effects by doing a patch test on the skin on the inside part of the elbow. Many bleach formulas can work differently on different skin tones and can cause redness and itching if some ingredient does not suit the skin.
  • Read reviews of other customers who have used the product you want to buy as fellow customers give an honest opinion on the efficiency of the products.
  • Keep the bleach tightly secured with the lid or cap so that it does not dry out within a few months of opening.

So these are some of the most popular bleaching creams available in the market which are great in terms of price and efficiency. This buyer’s guide will help you make an informed decision about which product to buy and how to use it to treat different skin concerns. Bleaching creams are a great way to fade dark spots, sun tanning, acne marks, pigmentation, and uneven skin tone issues. Buy the one which suits your skin and works on your skin effectively

Leave a Comment