The main reason many Kenyan women go to great lengths to lighten their skin relates to local perceptions that light skinned women are more beautiful. While skin color is mainly a matter of genes, there are a number methods one can use to make skin lighter or prevent it from darkening. These skin lightening methods can be categorized broadly as natural or commercial.
Natural Skin Lightening
- Natural aloe vera - the pure gel inside aloe vera leaves will make your skin look brighter over time. You can grow aloe vera at home in a pot or old plastic container.
- Pawpaw - smearing pawpaw on your face not only lightens your skin over time, but it is also a great anti-aging agent.
- Lemons - lemons are a natural bleaching agent. Pour a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon onto your hands, mix with your lotion and apply all over the body.
- Avoid direct exposure to sunlight - the sun can darken the skin over time. Wear sunglasses to protect the area around the skin.
- Sleep well and avoid stress - lack of adequate sleep and stress has been proven to darken skin over time.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Maintain a balanced diet at all times. Darkened skin can be a sign that you aren't getting sufficient nutrients.
Commercial Skin Lightening Products
- Buy a skin lightening product that contains alpha-arbutin. This is the active ingredient which inhibits melanin production. Melanin is responsible for dark skin. Black people have more melanin than light skinned people. Follow the instructions on the pack and if you encounter side effects stop using the product and consult a doctor immediately.
- Use sunscreen - To avoid the effects of the sun, use a sunscreen to protect your skin from the harmful rays.
- Chemical peel - visit a dermatologist and get a chemical peel monthly. This removes the top skin layer to reveal the lighter skin underneath.
- Laser treatments are now also an option if you have a fat bank account.
Tips & Warnings on Skin Lightening
- Avoid any skin lightening products that contain hydroquinone, mercury, or steroids. These have dangerous side effects.
- Skin lightening pills don't work and actually a scam. Only Glutathione injections have an effect on skin pigmentations.
- Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Have self-esteem, you don't need to lighten your skin to be loved or admired.