How to Lighten Skin Fast: Is It Even Possible to Get Lighter Skin Overnight?

Whether it's a bad tan that's got you down or just a burning desire for a lighter skin tone, you want to know how to lighten skin fast and exactly how fast it can be accomplished.

Well, that really depends on two things: your definition of "fast" as well as the sort of lightening you're looking for.

If you're dealing with a bad tan or looking to quickly brighten dull, uneven skin for an important event, there are a number of tips and tricks you can use to get an instant lightening effect.

But if you're hoping to lighten your skin by several shades - aka actual skin whitening - you'll need a bit of patience because these results do not happen overnight. That's because the ingredients that actually lighten your skin tone are melanin inhibitors and these work by gradually interfering with melanin production in your skin.

The process is not instantaneous. In fact, it can take a few months to really see results.

That being said, you don't have to choose between the short-term and the long-term option. Many skin lightening methods work very well together so you can mix and match to get faster short-term results while working toward overall lighter skin in the long term.

Here are your best options to lighten skin fast - they may not produce lighter skin overnight but by combining them together, you'll be able to reap faster, better results!

Reach for Instant Brightening Home Remedies

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Skin lightening home remedies are popular for a reason - they allow you to reach into your kitchen or bathroom cabinets for a dose of instant gratification. Just keep in mind that these home remedies aren't very potent - most of them are not effective melanin inhibitors - but they do produce an instant whitening and brightening that can be useful when you're in a pinch and just want a little lightening. Pronto.

So what should you use? Raw potatoes are starchy, which provide an instant whitening effect, and contain the enzyme catecholase that has mild bleaching properties to reduce melamine production. Another great option is orange peels. You can either dry them out in the sun and then blend them to make your own orange peel powder or you can even use them wet.

Simply blend the orange peels - make sure to go for organic since the last thing you want is to give your skin a dose of pesticides - and then apply the orange peel pulp to your skin. Orange peels are famously rich in Vitamin C, which boost skin brightness by exfoliating and reducing melanin activity.

Pamper with Face Whitening Masks

Another quick, self-pampering way to see quick results is with a whitening face mask. The best of them hail from Asia and contain a medley of skin lightening and brightening ingredients to instantly produce an immediate, noticeable lighter difference to your skin tone.

Which ones should you pick up? Sheet mask are awesome because the cover that the sheet provides allows increased penetration so the product can be delivered deep into the skin in a concentrated way.

Of course, the ingredients used matter just as much. For quick whitening benefits, go for pearl masks like Mothermade's Pure Pearl Brightening Mask and My Beauty Diary's Royal Pearl Mask. Pearl powder, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, contains a unique protein called conchiolin, which regenerate and revitalize the skin while boosting exfoliation of dead skin cells and speeding up ​skin cell turnover. Its antioxidant properties may even slow down melanin production.

But it's not just pearl powder that will give you quick results - Kose's Turn White Vitamin C Facial Masks are super affordable whitening masks loaded with Vitamin C that produce an immediate, noticeable lighter difference to your skin tone.

Another one we love is HadaLabo's Medicated Whitening Facial Mask, which contains a good dose of arbutin, an all natural skin lightener to quickly lighten dark spots and brighten overall complexion. There are a lot of great masks out there that give you the instant gratification of lighter skin so try out the range and see what delivers best for you!

Sudsy Up with a Skin Lightening Soap

Here's the deal: skin lightening soaps are not an instant skin lightener. After all, they only stay on your skin for a few minutes so they're not able to transform your skin tone into a drastically lighter shade.

That being said, small things make a big difference in the long run. And since skin whitening soaps aren't harsh and can be safely used alongside pretty much every other skin lightening product, it's a good idea to add them into your overall skin lightening regimen.

Plus, the beauty of soaping your way to lighter, brighter, more even skin is that it doesn't take up any extra time.

All you got to do is wash yourself the way you usually do - and let the suds sit on your skin for awhile for the best results. It makes a brilliantly simple, yet effective method of gradually lightening your overall body skin tone and fading everything from freckles to unwanted tan lines. And all it takes is a few minutes in the shower.

Lather on a Skin Lightening Lotion

Lightening soaps are great - they provide a convenient way to get a dose of skin lightening ingredients every day. But the real magic lies in creams and lotions since these tend to contain a more potent medley of melanin inhibiting ingredients and they stay on your skin long enough to make a visible difference.

As you probably already know, there's a huge range of skin lightening lotions, creams and serums on the market. So which ones are the best for you? Well, it all comes down to two things: the ingredients used and the potency.

The most popular skin lightening ingredient is hydroquinone and you can get it over the counter at concentrations of up to 2%. Even used just on its own, it is potent enough to correct hyperpigmentation and lighten overall skin tone but when combined with retinols, it can effectively, visibly lighten your skin within a month or two.

But just because it works, it doesn't mean that hydroquinone is the best skin lightening ingredient for you. In fact, it can be too harsh and strong for sensitive skin types and even cause adverse affects for those with darker skin. Even if your skin can handle hydroquinone, you definitely want to adhere closely to guidelines to make sure you use hydroquinone safely.

If you don't want to deal with the potential risks of hydroquinone, rest assured that there are plenty of other skin lightening ingredients that are all natural. You've probably already heard of many of them, like Kojic Acid, Alpha Arbutin, Licorice Extract, Mulberry Extract and a whole lot more.

These natural skin lighteners may not work as quickly as hydroquinone, but when they're effectively combined and regularly used, they are also capable of delivering much lighter, brighter skin tone - without the risk of adverse side effects.

The best ones to use? Meladerm cream tops the list, with its clever combination of Licorice Extract, Arbutin (Bearberry Extract), Alpha Arbutin, Mulberry Extract, Kojic Acid, Vitamin C, Sepiwhite, Gigawhite, and several other plant-derived skin lighteners. See more all natural skin lightening creams!

Exfoliate with Skin Lightening Peels

Here's a little secret that will help you see results a lot faster: In order to help the skin lightening ingredients do their job, you must set the stage.

The best way to do it? With a skin lightening chemical peel.

Chemical peels are in a unique category of their own because unlike soaps, masks or lotions, you can't use them every day – in fact, at home chemical peels should only be used around once a week. At most. They also only stay on your skin for a short amount of time, around 5 minutes. Yet, despite their brief period on your skin, they’re able to produce drastic results.

How? It's because most chemical peels are made from alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid and lactic acid or from beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid.

Both AHAs and BHAs are amazing, non-abrasive exfoliators that work by bringing the pH of the skin to a higher acidity level in order to chemically loosen the “glue” that binds the dead and damaged skin cells. This exfoliating action naturally promotes new cell growth leading to clearer skin, increased collagen production, fading spots and scars, and overall more radiant and youthful skin.

But it doesn't stop there - there are a number of skin lightening chemical peels that not only exfoliate but also contains melanin inhibiting ingredients so you can get skin lightening benefits and the exfoliation to reveal your results faster.

Hands down the fastest way to lighter skin fast. The best part? These can be combined with every other technique on this list. So take your pick of one, two or several of the quick skin lightening methods discussed above and you'll be well on your way to lighter, brighter skin. It may not happen overnight but you'll start seeing the results in a few weeks and isn't that worth the wait?