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Skin Whitening: Treatment, Procedure, Cost And Side Effects

Last Updated: Jun 28, 2023

What is Skin Whitening?

Skin-whitening is the process by which people reduce the melanin pigment in the skin to give a whiter complexion. Those with dark complexion have more melanin and the quantity of melanin determines the color of a person’s skin. Melanin is manufactured by cells called melanocytes. The melanin quantity of a person’s skin depends upon the genetic buildup. The production of melanin is affected by exposure to the sun, the degree of damaged skin, and exposure to chemicals.

Often people take recourse to skin whitening methods to deal with problems such as freckles, age spots, scars, moles, acne, birthmarks and also by people who wish to have fair skin, especially those with a darker tone of the skin. People use whitening or lightening products such as bleaching creams, fading creams, chemical peels, and laser treatment.

These products work by disturbing the tyrosinase enzyme which is instrumental for the melanin production and thereby reducing its amount in the skin. The melanocyte cells which manufacture melanin are situated at the very bottom of the skin’s epidermal layer. Sometimes the over-production of the melanin pigment could lead to various hyperpigmentation problems.

What is glutathione for skin whitening?

Glutathione is very useful for the human body as it is an antioxidant that is present in the human cells. It works by neutralizing free radicals, boosting immunity and also helps in the detoxification of the body. It helps in converting the melanin in a light color and helps in the production of melanin pigment by deactivating enzyme tyrosinase.

How can I whiten my skin fast?


These are the ways in which skin whitening can be done fast:

  • By trying fresh lemon juice.
  • Using skin lightening cream
  • By applying a facial mask.
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink lots of water.
  • By following a healthy diet.

How is the skin whitening treatment done?


The first step towards a skin whitening procedure would be to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist and tell him/her what kind of skin tone you have in mind. To get a clearer idea across it would be best if you carried a picture with you of the person with the desired skin tone that you have in mind. After discussing with your dermatologist, you may go and talk to the plastic surgeon. You can also show him/her the picture so that he/she knows what it is you exactly want.

After consulting with both the dermatologist and plastic surgeon you decide on the option that you want based on your health, requirements and financial position- you can go for a skin bleaching treatment or something as expensive as surgery. Aside from being extremely expensive skin whitening procedures are also very painful and you need to be prepared for both.

You need to plan out the recovery time after you complete your treatment; laser treatments and chemical peels take a few weeks and permanent skin whitening surgery takes more time. After treatment, you need to take care of your skin by using certain maintenance products. Sunscreen is very important to prevent you from getting sunburns and also lower chances of your skin getting darker.

How do skin whitening products work?

The skin whitening products reduce the production and concentration of melanin present in the skin. Melanin is the pigment present in the skin which gives color to the skin and also protects it from the sun.

Is skin whitening permanent?

Yes, the skin whitening procedure is permanent but is it can be painful, dangerous and expensive. Therefore caution must be taken before going for permanent skin whitening process.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

People having a history of heart-related disorders, recurring fever or cold sores and a tendency to scar should avoid undergoing chemical peel treatment for skin whitening. Those with really dark skin are not recommended for deep chemical peel treatment as well.

Which drink makes skin fair?

Healthy and fair skin is an indication of good health. It is important to maintain a good diet to get good skin. Our skin is the mirror of our health and it totally depends upon the diet and other things we consume. Fruits and vegetables are essential for this. The three miraculous drinks which can do wonders to our skin include the following:

  • Carrot and beetroot juice
  • Green apple and pomegranate juice
  • Papaya, lemon, and cucumber juice
Summary: A well-balanced diet is a key to good health as well as good skin. Hence, it is essential to maintain a nutritional intake on a regular basis. These nutritional ingredients consist of fresh fruits and vegetables including carrot, beetroot, lemon, cucumber, etc.

Can Ice whiten skin?

Ice is helpful to the skin in many ways. It can make the skin flawless and also reduce the chances of the development of acne or pimples on the face. It delays the signs of aging and also prevents puffiness around our eyes. A wonderful peachy glow can be observed on our face if we rub ice cubes on our face regularly and make it a daily facial regimen. It can improve blood circulation on our face and hence can reduce signs of inflammation if present. It can decrease the tiredness of the face and thus brighten our skin health and complexion.

Summary: Home remedies work wonders in treating general skin problems and improving skin texture naturally. Ice is one of them which is the most preferred remedy to enhance skin glow by increasing blood circulation all over the face.

Does glycerin whiten skin?

Glycerine is important for the retention of moisture in the skin. It is an important ingredient of many skin cosmetics and is present in them as a humectant that prevents dryness and maintains hydration of the skin. Besides these, glycerine exhibits antimicrobial properties which inhibit any kind of microbial infection to the skin and protect it from skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema. It facilitates proper healing of the skin in case of any cut or injury and hence plays a role in skin repair.

Summary: When it comes to healthy skin, glycerine always comes to mind for every skin-conscious person. Being a humectant, it retains the skin moisture and keeps it well hydrated which is much needed to maintain glowy skin.

Are there any side effects of skin whitening treatment ?

If you are undergoing laser whitening treatment you can expect to experience the following side effects such as bruising, skin dryness, sensitivity to sunlight, tightness, swelling, scarring, skin infections, skin texture difference, pigmentation, skin redness and irritation. Deep chemical peel treatments can cause permanent damage such as hyperpigmentation (skin darkening) or hypopigmentation (skin lightening). if you undergo very aggressive treatments to whiten your skin it may become raw and ooze forming crusts all over.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The post-treatment guidelines for skin whitening treatment include washing the concerned area with chemical free soaps and dabbing very gently. For your full recovery it is advised that you make use of certain maintenance products such as regularly apply aloe vera gel or petroleum jelly to give a soothing and cooling effect. A layer of scabs and crusts may form on the treated area so it is advised that you do not touch or pick these areas. Take painkillers to reduce swelling. Apply sun screen for at least a period of six months to prevent darkening or sunburn because the skin at this stage becomes extremely sensitive.

How long does it take to recover?

The time to recover depends on the type of treatment you undergo for skin whitening. If you go for non-ablative treatment methods then it may take only a day or two to recover. But if you go for surgery such as a laser one then it may take up to 2-3 weeks to recover, following which you will need to adhere to certain post-treatment guidelines to prevent darkening, irritation or sunburn.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Cost of laser treatment varies somewhere between Rs. 30,000-60,000 in India. The cost of skin whitening creams would range between 200 rupees to 3000 rupees.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Skin whitening creams only give you temporary results and do not have very lasting effects however, laser surgery as well as chemical peel treatment methods promise to give permanent solutions.

How to whiten skin naturally?

These are the ways in which skin can be whitened naturally:

  • Milk: Raw milk is one of the most easily available products that can be used for skin whitening. It controls the production of melanin which is the pigment responsible for skin color.
  • Honey: This is an antibacterial agent and prevents skin from acne and pimples. It also ensures giving a spotless complexion and glowing skin. Honey has anti-pigmentation properties which are useful for fading scars.
  • Besan: Also known as gram flour, besan can do wonders if regularly applied on the skin. It works as a natural exfoliator and also helps by removing dead skin cells and makes the skin healthy and glowing. Besan also works as a skin whitening agent.
  • Turmeric: it is being used for brightening, rejuvenating dull skin and improves complexion as turmeric is a good source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Yogurt: It is rich in lactic acid which works as a natural bleach. Yogurt removes dark, and dead skin cells also help in exposing a fresh layer of skin.
  • Potato: It is the highly used vegetable used for skin whitening as it contains Vitamin C and also has mild bleaching property. It removes dark spots from the skin which are caused by age or by getting much exposure to the sun.
  • Aloe vera: It increases cell turnover and also removes dead skin cells. Aloe vera also reduces hyperpigmentation properties which leads to glowing skin.

Which is the best fruit for skin whitening?

These are the best fruits for skin whitening:

  • Lemon:

    It is a citrus fruit and works as a natural bleach. Lemons are one of the safest ways to lighten or whiten your skin. It also helps in making the skin tone better and lighter and also helps in removing the blemishes and acne marks. For getting the best results you can drink lemon water with honey every morning.

  • Papaya:

    It is one of the best food that can be used for having healthy skin. Papaya is used for the treatment of the skin and is used in the form of lotion, soaps or facial peels. Papaya can also be eaten regularly or it can be massed and applied on the skin. The fruit helps in cell regeneration and is also an antioxidant.

  • Apple:

    It is rich in malic acid which is useful for the skin and makes it healthier, youthful and firmer. Apple helps in renewing the skin cells by not damaging any layer of your skin. Rich in fiber apple also helps in promoting skin development and clean the colons and make the skin pimple free.

  • Avocado:

    They are a rich source of Biotin which helps in skin regeneration and cell growth. Avocado is also a rich source of Vitamin E which is a natural skin protector and makes skin youthful and glowing.

  • Bananas:

    They are a rich source of potassium which is useful for making the skin hydrated and moisturized. Bananas also help keep the elasticity of the skin and lower the chances of pimples. It also rejuvenates the skin, softens it and fades out the blemishes and spots.

  • Kiwi:

    It is a rich source of Vitamin C which helps in keeping the skin more youthful and fresh and also improves the immunity of the skin.

What foods brighten your skin?

These are the food that helps in whitening your skin:

  • Eggs: They are a rich source of amino acids and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. All these things help in protecting the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays and also helps in the production of new skin cells.
  • Tomato: Makes your skin light and bright. Tomato makes skin glow as it contains collagen and it works as a skin whitener.
  • Garlic: Works as a natural cleanser as it removes all the impurities from the blood and also helps in getting rid of acne. Garlic also slows down the aging process as it contains antioxidant properties.
  • Walnut: It is rich in fatty acid which is the main constituent of the cell membrane. A healthy cell membrane keeps your skin moist, supple and plump.
  • Spinach: Helps in giving smoother and radiant looking complexion and also gives relief from dry and itchy skin.

How to use papaya for skin whitening?

These are the ways in which papaya can be used for skin whitening:

Papaya and honey face mask for dry skin:


  • 2 teaspoon whole milk
  • ½ cup papaya (ripen)
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Make a facemask by mixing all these substances together and apply it on your skin. Papaya has hydrating properties thus it works by providing moisture to the skin, reduces dark spots and blemishes and makes skin soft and smooth.

Papaya, honey and lemon pack for acne:


  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sandalwood
  • ½ cup papaya (ripen)

Mix all these ingredients together and make a face pack. Apply it evenly on the face and neck. This helps in unclogging the pores of the skin, and kill acne-causing microbes. This also controls and regulates oil production.

Papaya, cucumber, and banana pack for soothing skin:


  • ½ cup cucumber
  • ¼ cup ripe banana
  • ¼ cup ripe papaya

Mix all the ingredients together and grind them. Apply on the face and neck and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then rinse it off. This helps in hydrating and soothing the skin, evens the skin tone, also helps in keeping skin moisturized and smooth. It also makes skin wrinkle-free.

Papaya and lemon for skin whitening:

  • 1 teaspoon of lemon
  • Half cup papaya

Mix them together and apply on face and neck. You can apply this pack 2-3 times a week as it works as a natural bleach. It also contains antioxidants and anti-aging properties.

How to use hydrogen peroxide for skin whitening?

You must be cautious before using hydrogen peroxide else it may cause irritation. The main purpose of using hydrogen peroxide is for skin whitening and it also helps as an antiseptic. When you apply Hydrogen peroxide on the skin it releases oxygen thus removes dead skin cells and clean the area. It also removes scars and acne from the skin, age spots, discoloration.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Alternatives to skin whitening creams and surgery comprise of home remedies such as application of face packs made at home from sandalwood, turmeric, milk or tomato, yoghurt, oatmeal or milk, lemon juice, honey or dried orange peels and yoghurt, etc.

Key Highlights:

Safety: High

Effectiveness: High

Timeliness: Medium

Relative Risk: Low

Side Effects: Medium

Time For Recovery: Low

Price Range: Rs. 200 - Rs. 60,000

Conclusion: Healthy skin is an indication of good health. Our skin is the mirror of our health and it totally depends upon the diet and other things we consume. A good and well-balanced diet is essential to get healthy skin. Along with this, home remedies and self-care techniques also work.

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Written ByDr. Ganesh Avhad MD, DNB, FIDP, FILDermatology
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