Skin Whitening Treatments & What to Look Out For

Ever find yourself longing for a brighter complexion? Perhaps you’ve lost the radiant glow that you once had when you were much younger. You are not alone.

According to the World Health Organisation, a survey conducted in 2004 found that at least 40% of women in Asia have attempted to brighten their visage. This comes as no surprise, considering how easy it is to become overexposed to extreme ultraviolet (UV) levels from the sun here. The National Environment Agency found that the UV Index (UVI) in Singapore can even climb to extremely high values of 7 to 11, with 11 being the highest possible figure on the scale.

As a result, we are more likely to find ourselves suffering from dull-looking skin that can affect our self-confidence. To help overcome this, many turn to treatments and beauty products that aim to reverse this process. Today, consumers have such a wide array of options to choose from that narrowing down the right one can prove to be a genuine challenge. Read on to find out more about skin whitening in Singapore, including the processes and risks involved.


6 Possible Methods of Skin Whitening in Singapore

Skin whitening in Singapore may be achieved using a wide range of methods. Some of them work on a cellular level by combating the effects of free radicals while controlling or inhibiting the production of a pigment called melanin. This pigment is responsible for determining the tone of your skin. As a rule, higher melanin production results in deeper colouration. These treatments, therefore, seek to control this to help you achieve a more radiant appearance.

Other treatments work by sloughing off the surface of the epidermis to rejuvenate the appearance of your visage. This is particularly helpful for people who suffer from an overwhelming buildup of dead cells, leading to a dull-looking face. Hence, the right treatment may depend on the cause of the issue at hand.

These are the six most common methods that are available in the market:

  1. Microneedling
  2. Whitening Creams
  3. Skin Whitening Pills
  4. Microdermabrasion
  5. Chemical Peels
  6. Q-Switched Laser

It is also important to note that this should not be confused with targeted pigment removal. Although they frequently overlap, the former generally aims to lighten a much wider surface area while the latter targets only specific pigmented areas while leaving the surrounding area intact. Therefore, if you encounter pigmentation in smaller, isolated areas, some aesthetic clinics may recommend a different solution to solve your issue. A knowledgeable specialist will take your interest at heart and help you make an informed choice with a personalised one-on-one consultation.


Skin Whitening Treatments that Slough Off the Skin

If it is deemed appropriate, dermatologists may recommend procedures that slough off the outer surface of the skin to reveal a more rejuvenated appearance. These are the two most common treatments that work in this manner:

1. Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion involves sloughing off the outer surface of the epidermis, with the use of a special abrasive tool. Alternatively, dermatologists may opt for a technique that sprays fine aluminium oxide crystals onto the skin with a wand before they are being vacuumed up. This aims to even out the surface of the epidermis while reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation. However, this method may not be effective in some cases since it merely exfoliates the surface without getting to the root of the problem.

2. Chemical Peels

Chemical peels involve the use of a solution that can slough off the dull-looking upper surface of the epidermis. Commonly used in other procedures, such as the treatment of acne and wrinkling, chemical peels are usually classified into three levels of penetration: superficial; medium; deep. Superficial ones reach approximately 60 μm into the dermis while deep chemical peels extend into about 600 μm of the dermis. Some of the common active ingredients used in chemical peels include vitamin C, hydroquinone, and alpha hydroxy acid. After the treatment, your skin may blister and begin to peel. The solution also typically contains collagen to help improve the appearance of the skin as it heals. However, this may not be the best option as it does not always address the root of the problem, beyond the surface of the skin.


Skin Whitening Treatments that Extend Beyond the Surface

Not all issues are easily resolved by exfoliating the surface of the skin. Dermatologists may then recommend treatments that specifically target the body’s inner workings on a cellular level. The following methods ultimately inhibit or control the production of melanin in order to help you achieve an evenly fair skin tone:

1. Skin Whitening Creams

Frequently available over the counter in beauty stores, aesthetic clinics and pharmacies, these creams are applied topically. Today, there is a wide range readily available for purchase. Most of them work by inhibiting melanin production, using safe active ingredients that are readily absorbed. No downtime is usually needed but clients must be diligent enough to apply the product on a regular basis for results to be seen.

2. Skin Whitening Pills and Supplements

These pills are ingested orally and typically contain ingredients such as colourless carotenoids and glutathiones. The former, naturally derived from white tomatoes, has been clinically proven to reduce excessive pigmentation by eliminating melanin as well as inhibiting the production of the pigment. Unlike carotenoids that are coloured, such as the orange-tinted beta-carotene from carrots, the consumption of colourless carotenoids will not cause any discolouration. In a Double Bind Clinical Trial conducted by the National Skin Centre between 2013 and 2014, melasma patients have been able to enjoy visible improvements. No downtime is necessary for this method, but clients must be independent enough to consume them on their own.

3. Q-Switch Laser

Q-switch laser involves the use of a highly concentrated laser that is able to reach beneath the epidermis, targeting areas with a high amount of melanin. This is a painless, albeit slightly uncomfortable, process that ultimately triggers a deterioration of the dark pigment. Melanin will then break down into smaller particles, which will be recognised as waste and eliminated from the system. During the procedure, clients are usually given a special pair of goggles to protect their eyes. No downtime is necessary after each session but some people may see some mild redness afterwards, which will usually fade. Most clients will notice visible results in about three weeks. For best results, maintenance may be necessary but dermatologists will usually recommend a gap of about a month between each session.


Microneedling: A Closer Look at How it Leads to Fairer Skin

Microneedling is a minimally invasive procedure that involves using a device with fine, sterile needles to make extremely tiny punctures to the dermis layer. Also known as collagen induction therapy, microneedling works on both a cellular and surface level, allowing the dermatologist to treat the client in a multi-faceted approach. This technique is also used in other cosmetic procedures like the treating of acne scars.

During the procedure, tiny perforations are made to the visage that can vastly accelerate the absorption of the product used. Dermatologists tend to use antioxidants such as idebenone and glutathione, which combat the effects of free radicals. This also helps your body keep its production of melanin in check. Moreover, through these controlled micro-wounds, your body is prompted to boost its production of collagen and elastin, both of which are key structural components of the skin, helping it recover while increasing its firmness and suppleness.

Downtime and aftercare are necessary, following a session of microneedling, to ensure that your face is given ample time to recuperate. This is a completely worthwhile investment since the increase in collagen and elastin production can greatly improve your appearance.

Two types of microneedling may be used, including the following:

1. Dermaroller

This microneedling technique uses a rolling tool, called a dermaroller, that is applied over your face. This device appears quite similar to a paint roller but with tiny microneedles that create small punctures in the skin. The size of these microneedles tends to vary between 0.2mm to 1.5mm, depending on the chosen intensity. While they may be procured for own use at home, doing it yourself may not be the best option for anyone who is unconfident and unsure about their body’s response to this method. When done incorrectly, it may cause undue harm. Moreover, your face may take a longer time to heal since this technique creates less clean perforations as compared to the micropen.

2. Micropen

Microneedling can also be done using a micropen, a tool that comes in the form of a pen with numerous minute needles at its tip. An ampoule will then be inserted into the pen, akin to the insertion of an ink cartridge in a regular pen. During the procedure, the contents of this ampoule are immediately inserted into the micro-wounds. This technique has a couple of clear advantages over the dermaroller. Firstly, the micropen makes vertical punctures, creating much cleaner micro-wounds, compared to the dermaroller. This allows your face to heal far more quickly during its downtime. Secondly, any discomfort will be minimised since the perforations made are less traumatic. For the reasons above, Geo Aesthetics offers this service for clients who wish to attain a fairer complexion.


How to Make The Most of Any Skin Whitening Treatment

The positive effects of all skincare treatments can only last for as long as you make the effort to maintain it. Hence, to truly make the most out of them, start by making the right changes to your lifestyle. Here are a few pointers:

1. Use a Sunscreen with an SPF Value of 30 and Above

Take preventive steps against your face returning to the way it once was with the regular application of sunblock or sunscreen with an SPF value of at least 30. Living in Singapore puts us in a position where we are frequently exposed to harmful UV rays of the sun, making sun protection that much more paramount. The National Environment Agency states that UV rays are often present at high levels from 11am to 3pm, measuring at an average of above 6 on the UV Index (UVI) scale. Therefore, if you plan to remain outdoors in those times, never skimp on sun protection. Most topical sun protection products tend to wear off after a few hours, so bring along a small bottle of sunscreen and set a reminder to re-apply it every three to four hours.

2. Minimise Exposure to Harmful UV Rays

Besides regularly applying sunscreen, avoiding prolonged exposure to harmful UV rays is crucial. Although some amount of UV rays can be beneficial for our health, excessive exposure to these rays can cause photodamage. Be wary of both natural and artificial sources of UV rays, including the sun and tanning beds. If you are heading out for the day, opt for a hat with a brim that is wide enough or an umbrella that will provide sufficient coverage on particularly sunny days. Whenever possible, seek shelter or shade.

3. Maintain a Healthy Diet

Diet plays a key role in skin health since proper nutrition is required to repair and recover from any damage that it incurs. Food that is rich in healthy fats and protein such as avocados and tofu are especially important since they provide building blocks that are essential in maintaining your skin’s structural integrity and help lock in natural moisture.

4. Further Maintenance May Be Necessary

If you opt for treatments that require one-on-one sessions with a dermatologist or aesthetician, multiple sessions may be required to attain your ideal complexion. Even if you start seeing signs of improvement, it is always wise to plan for an additional maintenance session every fortnight or month to retain the effects on your skin. Lastly, each individual is different and, therefore, the number of sessions required to see optimal results tends to differ in kind.


Skin Whitening Treatments: Which is The Right One for You?

There is no definite answer for this since every single one of us is built differently. The cause of the dullness of your visage may be different from the person next to you. For some, it could be the result of photo-ageing while others might suffer from the overproduction of melanin. If you are looking for a procedure that can achieve a much more well-rounded set of benefits, microneedling might be the best option for you. However, it would be helpful to speak to a dermatologist or a capable aesthetician who can advise you on the wisest course of action based on your condition. Geo Aesthetics can offer you these services. Book an appointment with a specialist today!