If you’re considering skin lightening surgery options or permanent skin whitening treatments that involve a medical professional, it’s safe to assume that you’re probably looking for a quick and dramatic difference to your skin tone. After all, that’s what surgery usually provides.
When it comes to skin bleaching though, surgery isn’t necessarily the way to go. When comparing the side effects of different skin lightening surgeries against the effectiveness of less invasive options, it’s good not to rush with your decisions. The best way to lighten your skin is to use a more holistic approach instead.
We propose making use of a combination of skin lightening skincare products and treatments to get the brightening and lightening you’re looking for.
So what kind of treatment options exist?
Well, we’ve come a long way from all sorts of over-the-counter remedies based on limited science, nowadays there are some highly advanced procedures that hold some real skin lightening potential.
For someone who is new to the world of skin bleaching surgery, things can get pretty confusing. Finding the right procedure for you and your needs can be a daunting task which is why we’re here to help you figure out which one you should go for – if ever.
Here are the procedures that are available today and everything you need to know about them!
But First Consider Skin Lightening Creams
As we mentioned above, before you go down the path of a highly invasive medical procedure, consider skin lightening products. Also known as skin brighteners or whiteners, these over-the-counter creams can leave you satisfied with a visible change in your skin tone. You may decide you don’t need to go further.
The natural pigment that gives your skin its color is called melanin. The amount of melanin determines the color and tone of your skin. How much melanin your skin produces depends mostly on genetic factors. The more melanin you have, the darker your skin tone.
Outside factors also influence melanin levels. For example, the sun increases melanin production in the skin and that’s how we get that tan. Over the years though, sun exposure and other factors related to aging, such as a low level of collagen, can lead to skin discoloration, dark spots and age spots.
Skin bleaching creams usually work by slowing down or discouraging melanin production. They address both skin lightening and whitening.
Speaking form ample experience with different brands over the years, I have several favorites when it comes to skin lightening creams. Definitely my top pick, and a highly recommended option is the Amaira Natural Lightening Serum with Mulberry and Orchid Extract.
I was amazed by this product both for its quick results and its effectiveness. It literally vanished the dark spots I had on my face. I’ve also used it successfully to lighten my underarms, where almost no other cream had left me with visible results before.
What’s more, (and this is where it won me over), the results weren’t temporary, something that has happened with a variety of other creams. The effects last months after I’ve used up the last bits from my second bottle. I’ve been very careful to apply proper sun protection, and that’s probably been helping too.
This makes sense because the serum is completely based on natural ingredients. Non-aggressive natural ingredients may not be an overnight solution, but once you allow them enough time to do their job, they tend to produce long-lasting results.
Needless to say, the Amaira Lightening Serum is made without any type of harsh chemicals, otherwise, I wouldn’t be considering the product even for a trial. It’s Hydroquinone-free and paraben-free. The serum is formulated with plant extracts and alongside the impact on melanin, it also works to bring out your skin’s natural glow. It’s super gentle and agreed with my problematic, sensitive skin magnificently.
The scientifically-proven formula addresses hyperpigmentation by working into the deeper layers of the skin to discourage excessive melanin production. It’s also good to combine the cream with regular exfoliation in the affected area. Exfoliation helps your skin to shed the old, dead cells and generate new ones. The new cells will come with less melanin and will give your skin a lighter tone.
The product is also completely fragrance-free, so, if you’re like me, you don’t have to worry whether it will agree with your sensitive tastes. Moreover, it’s not tested on animals and it’s 100% made in the USA in an FDA-licensed facility.
Other reviewers have reported positive results even with discoloration caused by eczema, acne, surgery, burns or other conditions.
I found this serum to be an amazing value-for-money deal and they have a 60-day money back guarantee. I highly recommend giving it a try before you decide to opt for a medical procedure.
What Are The Pros And Cons?
Of course, skin lightening products come with risks, just as any other treatment. First of all, you should be very careful in picking your cream because some of them use dangerous chemicals. For instance, many bleaching creams contain mercury. Prolonged use, as well as application on sensitive areas of the skin can lead to this toxic agent penetrating your body. This is seriously unhealthy and can even cause mercury poisoning.
Less dangerous, but still unhealthy, some creams contain hydroquinone. This substance causes burning, irritation or skin damage, so it should be used carefully. This is why the Amaira serum has covered it all for me in terms of expectations and results.
Now let’s get down to business and explore skin bleaching surgery options.
Microdermabrasion: Does It Work?
The first procedure on our list is not something for those who wish to lighten their skin tone dramatically. What microdermabrasion does is brighten skin in a subtle way, evening out any discolorations – addressing issues such as sun spots, age spots, and scarring.
Microdermabrasion delivers on this evening, brightening out of the overall complexion because it is a procedure that exfoliates and removes the superficial layer of dry, dead skin cells, allowing for newer brighter skin to emerge.
The procedure buffs and polishes the skin using a stream of fine crystals or a diamond tip. Those with uneven pigmentation will benefit greatly from this procedure and it is highly recommended for melasma patients according to Heidi Waldorf, the director of laser and cosmetic dermatology at The Mount Sinai Medical Hospital in New York City.
How is it done?
When done in a clinic or salon, a technician or dermatologist uses a specialized tool for the procedure. The tool shoots a stream of tiny crystals such as aluminum oxide, sodium chloride, or sodium bicarbonate, and collects the leftover dead skin cells and used crystals.
The tool has a vacuum that pulls and raises a small section of the skin, creates a mild swelling that brings impurities to the surface and shoots a stream of crystals to the targeted skin patch. The vacuum then collects the used crystals and dead skin cells.
There are also newer tools that consist of a single diamond-tipped wand which the technician moves over the target area whilst applying even and steady pressure to remove the stratum corneum without affecting lower skin layers.
The cool thing about microdermabrasion is that as its popularity grows, there are more and more effective home microdermabrasion kits popping up on the market every day. Here’s a full guide to doing microdermabrasion at home!
How much does it cost?
Treatments in clinics or salons can cost at around $100 to $200 per session with several sessions needed – spaced throughout the year – for maximum results.
Home treatments, on the other hand, are much cheaper and a single machine can cost you anywhere from $30 to $200+. Of course, you can use the home microdermabrasion machine over and over again, helping you save money in the long run.
What are the pros and cons?
One of the main benefits of microdermabrasion is that it is a safe and non-surgical procedure. It is also surprisingly painless with some patients likening it to having a facial massage, and relatively quick – it will only take about an hour. Because it’s non-invasive, the chances of complications are also slim. Results are instantaneous with dramatic reduction of scarring seen after just one session.
On the downside, microdermabrasion cannot fix deeper scars and skin problems as it only targets the top layer of the skin. It is also not advisable for those who wish to dramatically lighten their skin as its effects are more subtle, providing more of a brightening and an evening out of skin tone than a drastic whitening.
Laser Skin Whitening: Does it Work?
Laser skin whitening is a procedure wherein short pulsed concentrated beams of light are targeted to remove irregular or damaged skin to stimulate the growth of new skin cells thus giving the person a lighter skin tone. It is used to effectively treat various hyperpigmentation problems such as chloasma, melasma, age spots, liver spots, uneven skin, and other discoloration problems.
Laser skin whitening can involve either ablative or non-ablative techniques. Ablative lasers generally use older style carbon dioxide laser and medium depth chemical peel that work to vaporize affected tissues. This removes the top layer of the skin as well as part of the underlying sublayer.
Meanwhile, non-ablative lasers coagulate the affected tissue whilst keeping the outer layer of the skin intact. This provides for faster healing and recovery.
There is also another type called fractional skin resurfacing that uses a combination of both ablative and non-ablative techniques. Laser energy micro beams are focused on areas of affected tissue in the upper layer through to the dermis below. This provides for more effective results with lesser risks and faster recovery time.
Generally, though, ablative techniques provide the best results but with a higher risk of scarring. A practiced surgeon would be able to tell you which type is best suited for you.
How Is It Done?
Laser resurfacing is done by a plastic surgeon or dermatologist and is an outpatient procedure. Treating just parts of the face take about 30-45 minutes while a full face treatment can take up to two hours.
The laser breaks down a part of the melanin into microscopic particles which are later naturally expelled by the body. The melanin may also form a thin dark crust on the skin which will gradually shed over time revealing lighter skin.
After the procedure, your doctor will bandage the treated areas which you will then need to clean 3 to 5 times a day after 24 hours. In 5 to 7 days after the procedure, your skin will begin to dry and peel and then in 10 to 21 days will start to heal. 3 to 5 sessions are usually required to see visible results.
How Much Does It Cost?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost for laser skin resurfacing id $2,222 for ablative types and $1,113 for non-ablative. General treatments meanwhile can range between $500 to $3500. Costs can also vary depending on where you get the procedure done.
What Are the Pros and Cons?
Results are fast, with noticeable improvements in the skin that can be seen right away. After treatment, the skin will visibly appear brighter and will also improve progressively over time. For ablative techniques, only 1 to 2 treatments may be needed to remove dark spots and improve the skin’s appearance.
For non-ablative treatments results may show after 1 to 5 treatments. Most patients have also reported good results regarding laser resurfacing working on skin problems such as scars, sun damage, minimizing the appearance of dark spots, and wrinkles, among other issues.
On the disadvantage side, it’s common for patients to see redness and swelling of the skin after treatment. Other risks include blistering, scarring, and scabbing, among others. Further risks include hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation due to the laser disrupting the structure of the cells beneath the skin surface.
In any case, regardless of what method you decide to go for, you should follow the general advice on keeping dark spots in check to aid the treatment.
Cryosurgery: Does It Work?
Another alternative you can look into for skin whitening surgery is cryosurgery. Cryosurgery is a method that makes use of liquid nitrogen to destroy melanin cells thus allowing the skin to regenerate a new epidermis with a lighter shade. Other skin issues that cryosurgery addresses include the lightening of dark spots and freckles, among others.
How Is It Done?
Cryosurgery is a non-invasive and non-surgical way to improve the skin’s appearance that has become in demand as of late.
Skin is lightened and unsightly flaws are removed by freezing affected areas through a localized frostbite approach. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery states that cryosurgery causes darkened skin to peel away from the body by freezing them.
There are three main techniques used in cryosurgery. The most basic is through the use of Q tips dipped into a cup containing a cryogen (such as liquid nitrogen) and applying this directly onto the skin to freeze. It is then allowed to slowly thaw to ensure maximum destruction of the skin cells.
The next technique is essentially the same but makes use of a device to spray cryogen onto the skin instead. The third option makes use of a probe to circulate and cool the cryogen to low temperatures, after which the probe is brought into direct contact with the skin. All techniques use the same freeze-thaw steps.
In the past, cryosurgery was accomplished strictly through the use of liquid nitrogen, but now state of the art equipment such as the Dermapen Cryo – that uses a very precise jet of highly compressed liquified nitrous oxide to destroy cells in a matter of seconds – is now also widely used.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of cryosurgery ranges between $500 to $900 depending on the area you wish to target.
What Are the Pros and Cons?
With cryosurgery there is minimal risk of scarring, it is not as expensive as other treatment options, and there is minimal pain.
The downsides, albeit rare, would be that there’s a risk of nerve damage, the procedure is not effective on tissues that are deeply rooted beneath the skin, and blistering can occur over the affected area after the procedure.
Chemical Peels: Do They Work?
A chemical peel is also known as chemical exfoliation or derma peeling. It’s considered one of the least invasive procedures for skin lightening and treating other skin conditions, such as acne scars.
It makes use of chemical solutions such as salicylic acid or carbolic acid to create a controlled wound which eventually peels off. As the skin peels off, a newer and brighter complexion emerges.
There are three basic types of chemical peels:
- superficial or lunchtime peel
- medium peel, and
- deep peel.
In the superficial peel, an alpha hydroxy acid or another mild acid is used to penetrate only the outermost layer of the skin with the aim of gentle exfoliation. This is generally done to improve skin discoloration and refresh the face, neck, chest, or hands.
With medium peels, glycolic acid or trichloroacetic acid is applied to penetrate the outermost and middle layers of the skin and remove damaged skin cells. This type of peel addresses issues such as age spots, fine lines, freckles, and moderate skin discoloration, among others.
Lastly, with deep peel, trichloroacetic acid or phenol is applied to deeply penetrate the middle layer of skin to remove damaged skin cells. This treatment has a more dramatic effect than the other two and removes age spots, freckles, scars, and lines, among others.
How Is It Done?
A chemical peel is generally performed in a doctor’s office or a surgery center and is an outpatient procedure. Before the procedure, the skin is thoroughly cleansed with an agent that gets rid of excess oils and the eyes and hair are protected. One or more chemical solutions such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, carbolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, are applied to the skin.
After application, a controlled wound is produced that enables the regeneration and appearance of new skin. Patients may experience a warm sensation during the procedure that can last up to 10 minutes, which is then followed by a stinging sensation.
For gentle chemical peels, you don’t even need to visit the doctor’s office – in fact, you can purchase chemical peels that are specifically designed for skin lightening and do them at home. These products are in lower concentrations than you’d get at the dermatologist’s office, making them safe yet effective. Find out how to do chemical peels for skin lightening!
How much does it cost?
Chemical peels cost about $70-$120 if they’re mild. Deeper peels may cost over $600. At home chemical peels usually range from around $15 to $100+ and can be used multiple times.
What are the pros and cons?
The pros of chemical peels are that they’re non-invasive and that they have virtually zero downtime as patients are able to go back to day-to-day routines immediately after treatment. The method is also really effective in evening out skin tone and blurring out pores.
Downsides would include it possibly causing hypersensitive skin, skin damage, and the need for multiple treatments for some patients to see noticeable results.
The procedures we’ve mentioned are just some of the more popular ones that are currently available for skin lightening.
You should also try to understand that your skin is the most beautiful when it’s healthy, no matter its tone or color. Supporting your skin in its natural function should be your number one priority. This involves dedicating yourself to a regular skincare routine and giving natural solutions a try to maintain your skin’s health, before you jump into surgery.
Keep in mind that when it comes to skin lightening surgery or treatments, it’s always best to consult with a professional such as a dermatologist to help you understand your skin better and help make you the best decision moving forward.