Skin-whitening is one of the obsessions of Filipinos and Asian culture in general. You'll see the word "whitening" in every skin product aisle. Due to reasons like sun damage, stress, pollution, or an unhealthy diet, these things can cause discoloration or damage to the skin. A practical solution to keep the skin even and healthy is to use whitening lotions.
In this article, with the guidance of dermatologist Dr. Krizia Ty, we discuss the things you need to look for when buying a whitening product, specifically whitening lotion used for the body. This will be featured in our buying guide section. Before that, we have a list of the best whitening lotions from different brands that we recommend. Keep on reading to find out more!
Dr. Krizia Ty is a board-certified dermatologist from Manila, Philippines, who is passionate about skincare and would love to help everyone achieve healthy skin, one patient at a time.
She is a Fellow of the Philippine Dermatological Society and is currently practicing in several commercial clinics in Manila catering to both medical and cosmetic dermatologic concerns. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook or send her a message for more details on her practice.
Here are our recommended products for the best whitening lotions you can buy. We made sure to include products from different price points, so you will surely find something that will fit your budget.
|Whitening Active||Vitamin C|
|Whitening Active||Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)|
|Whitening Active||Kojic acid, Tanexamic Acid, Niacinamide|
|Hydrating Ingredients||Glyceryl Stearate (Glycerin variant)|
|Hydrating Ingredients||Ceramides, Snail secretion filtrate|
|Whitening Active||Gutathione, Niacinamide, Soybean Extract|
|Hydrating Ingredients||Vitamin E|
|Whitening Active||Vitamin C, Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide),|
|Hydrating Ingredients||Vitamin B5, Vitamin E|
|Whitening Active||Glutathione, Vitamin C, Kojic acid|
|Hydrating Ingredients||Shea butter, Glycerin|
|SPF Factor||SPF33 PA+++|
|Whitening Active||Vitamin C|
|Hydrating Ingredients||Coenzyme Q10|
|SPF Factor||SPF24 PA++|
|Whitening Active||Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)|
|Hydrating Ingredients||Glycerin, Aloe extract|
|Whitening Active||Papaya extract, Kojic acid|
|Hydrating Ingredients||Glyceryl stearate (Glycerin variant)|
Block and White
Extra White Instant Glow SPF15
Healthy White Lotion UV Lightening
Intensive Whitening Body Lotion
Lightening and Moisturizing Lotion
Classic Whitening Vitamin Lotion
Kojic Plus+ Whitening Lotion
Body Extra White Serum Smooth and Firm Lotion
Intensive Whitening Lotion
Kojic Acid Lotion
Whiten and Repair Your Skin from Signs of Dullness
Whiten Your Skin in Two Weeks
An Expertly Formulated Lotion to Intensively Whiten Your Skin
For a Head-to-Toe Glow and and Sun Protection
A Whitening Lotion with Skin-Lock Technology
A Lotion Enhanced with the Power of Beauty Vitamins
Triple-Threat Lotion with Glutathione, Vtamin C, and Kojic Acid
Fairer, Softer, and Smoother Skin in Just 5 Days
For a Lighter, More Even Skin Tone from Head to Toe
Double-Up the Whitening with Kojic Acid and Papaya
|Price Starts at||₱226.63||₱243||₱209.75||₱400||₱136||₱321||₱245||₱244.35||₱174||₱45|
|SPF Factor||SPF15||-||SPF30||SPF30/PA+++||SPF25||-||SPF30||SPF33 PA+++||SPF24 PA++||-|
|Whitening Active||Vitamin C||Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)||Kojic acid, Tanexamic Acid, Niacinamide||Niacinamide||Gutathione, Niacinamide, Soybean Extract||Vitamin C, Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide),||Glutathione, Vitamin C, Kojic acid||Vitamin C||Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)||Papaya extract, Kojic acid|
|Hydrating Ingredients||Glycerin||Glycerin||Glyceryl Stearate (Glycerin variant)||Ceramides, Snail secretion filtrate||Vitamin E||Vitamin B5, Vitamin E||Shea butter, Glycerin||Coenzyme Q10||Glycerin, Aloe extract||Glyceryl stearate (Glycerin variant)|
Brands will put out claims on their products a lot. Some are legitimate, while some are just plain marketing strategies. Here are the things to look out for on your hunt for the best whitening lotion.
Exposure to the sun without proper protection is the leading cause of skin damage. It can cause premature aging and discoloration in the skin. Sun damage can even lead to skin cancer. Whitening lotions don't really make your complexion paler. They slow down the melanin production in the body, which causes the skin to look lighter and brighter.
Think of whitening lotions as more of a preventative measure rather than a solution to pre-existing skin problems. Not having SPF in your products or not using sunscreen on your body will make your skin more prone to sun damage. This will, in turn, cause the discoloration and unevenness that we are trying to alleviate with whitening lotions.
Sun protection for the body is equally as important as sun protection for the face. Sunscreen is a daily essential to prevent not only further pigmentation/darkening but also premature skin aging and skin cancer. Whitening lotions that contain effective lightening agents are helpful in decreasing pigmentation. However, sunscreen application is still the most vital step, without which, your whitening lotion may not work as well as it should.
The best whitening lotions are the ones that have natural whiteners as their active ingredients. The most common natural active ingredients include kojic acid, vitamin C, niacinamide, and glutathione.
Kojic acid is a natural extract taken from the fermentation of malting rice. It reduces skin discoloration and pigmentation in the skin. Vitamin C is not only good for the immune system, but for the skin as well. Vitamin C helps the skin look brighter and more even. It also promotes firmness and elasticity in the skin.
Exfoliants such as glycolic acid and polyhydroxy acids (gluconolactone, bionic acids) are sometimes added because they speed up the removal of the melanin deposited in the upper layers of the skin, which further boosts the effects of the other lightening agents.
Another natural ingredient is niacinamide or vitamin B3 or Niacinamide. It helps in keeping the skin look brighter and more even. It also helps lessen the production of pigment or melanin in the body, making it more resistant to discoloration.
Last but not least, we have glutathione - a whitening agent well-known by Filipinos. This ingredient is a powerful antioxidant. It helps fight off free radicals, toxins, and impurities in your skin. Its side effect is that it reduces melanin production in the body, which whitens the skin. All these benefits plus a lighter skin tone? Sign me up!
When choosing a whitening lotion, pick those containing active ingredients that effectively decrease melanin when applied to the skin. These include kojic acid, niacinamide (Vitamin B3), glabridin (licorice extract), alpha arbutin (bearberry extract), soy, tranexamic acid, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), glutathione & azelaic acid. They work by blocking steps in the melanin synthesis pathway to decrease melanin production and deposition in our skin.
Lotions are supposed to keep the skin moisturized, and whitening is just an added bonus. Especially if you're prone to having dry skin, look for lotions with hydrating and moisturizing ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, glycerin, and vitamin E, to name a few.
Hyaluronic acid and ceramides naturally occur in the skin, but they tend to diminish as you age. Both help restore moisture in the skin's barrier by locking in the water absorbed from the environment. Glycerin is another humectant that attracts water and helps retain moisture.
Vitamin E, which can also be seen on labels as tocopherol, has been shown to hydrate skin, promote skin elasticity, and fight off free radicals. Vitamin E is an excellent moisturizing and anti-aging ingredient.
Moisturizers can be categorized into 3 kinds: emollients, humectants & occlusives. Emollients penetrate the spaces in between skin cells to repair and restore the skin barrier (examples: ceramides, dimethicone).
Humectants attract water both from the atmosphere and from the dermis (deeper skin layer) to provide moisture to the epidermis (upper skin layer) (examples: hyaluronic acid/sodium hyaluronate, urea, glycerin). Occlusives create a water-resistant cover on the topmost layer of the skin to prevent transepidermal water loss (examples: petrolatum, lanolin, shea butter, oils).
A lotion with good moisturizing properties usually contains a combination of the 3 kinds to ensure adequate hydration for the skin.
The Philippines is a very humid country. And most of the time, humidity equals stickiness on our skins. If, like most people, you're not a fan of this feeling, get a lotion that has a thinner consistency for a lighter feel. If your skin is prone to dryness, consider a lotion with a thicker consistency similar to a cream.
If you have sensitive skin, consult with your dermatologist if whitening lotions are appropriate for you to use. In general, if you have sensitive skin, go for more moisturizing options like creams. Avoid fragrances in lotions as they can make your skin more sensitive.
Products with thinner consistencies are called lotions and are easier to spread, while those with thicker consistencies are called creams and may feel heavier on the skin. Choose the consistency that you are more comfortable with so that you will be encouraged to use it daily.
Regular and consistent application is important for a product to actually do its job. Aside from this, it is also important to observe your skin's response to it—if it feels too sticky, switch to a thinner lotion, but if it still feels dry after application, switch to a thicker cream.
Don't just go believing the claims of the products just because they seem promising. Yes, you want that lighter skin, but at what cost? Mercury is an ingredient you should avoid in your whitening lotion.
Mercury became a popular skin lightening agent in the early 1900s because of its ability to inhibit melanin production in the skin. It was soon classified as toxic due to the increasing number of reports or mercury affecting a lot more than just the skin.
Mercury has been shown to cause kidney damage, excessive scarring, and skin discoloration. Keep your eyes peeled as mercury may hide itself in the labels using other names like mercurous chloride, calomel, or mercuric iodide.
Aside from mercury, also watch out for over-the-counter whitening lotions that contain hydroquinone, tretinoin, and steroids, as these are prescription medications that should only be used under the supervision of a dermatologist. If you are unsure about the ingredients of a whitening lotion you would like to use or purchase, it's best to consult with a dermatologist who can analyze it for you. Always check the ingredients list before you apply or buy!
To make sure you get genuine products, getting your whitening lotion from a trusted brand or source is your best bet. Make sure the product has an official label and contains the ingredients list on the package.
Be careful when making purchases abroad. For one, your knowledge of the language may not be enough to sufficiently judge the trustworthiness of the product, and you might misunderstand the usage instructions. Also, if the product sells for a very low price, it might be too good to be true.
Authentic skincare products may sometimes be a bit pricey, but it's usually because they underwent extensive research & development to include the appropriate active ingredients in concentrations that are tolerated well by the skin and have clinical studies showing their efficacy & safety, which makes them worth the investment.
No matter how much whitening lotion you use every day, if you expose your skin to the sun's harmful UV rays without proper protection, it will all be for naught. Even if the lotion has SPF in it, supplement it with your favorite sunscreen to get the most protection and prevent further damage.
Don't think of sunscreen as something to use only on the beach or in the summer. The sun is out all year round, so if you want that light and clear skin, SPF is your BFF!
To save you time and money, a lotion that contains both active lightening ingredients and sunscreen is the best option for you. However, if the declared SPF of the lotion is less than 30, there is a need to add a dedicated sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 over your whitening lotion to maximize its efficacy. Also, don't forget to reapply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours, especially when sweating or swimming.
Avoid experimenting with food-grade body scrubs, citrus extracts, or oils to lighten your skin as these may do more harm than good. A natural or herbal product is not necessarily safer for the skin. Sometimes they can cause irritations/allergic reactions which may result in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation negating all your efforts to lighten it.
It's best to consult with a board-certified dermatologist who can guide you on which ingredients and formulations are backed up by scientific evidence and have the least risk of causing unwanted side effects. Dermatologists only want what works best for your skin!
As we said in the article above, we can't stress it enough how protecting our skin from the sun is of utmost importance if anti-aging is your concern. Check out the links below for items you can use to shield yourself from the sun. Also, beat the summer heat with these adorable portable mini fans!
There you have it! A comprehensive guide on what to look for in your next whitening lotion buy, as well as a list of our recommendations. With the knowledge that you have under your belt, we hope that you are now more confident that the product you will get matches your needs and will work well for your skin.
Author: Rie N.
Reviewed by: Dermatologist, Dr. Krizia Ty
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