The most effective whitening lotions vary by skin type and skin tone, but as of 2014, the top-rated ones are Clarins Bright HP Hydrating Day Lotion SPF 20 and the Proactiv Dark Spot Corrector. These products are rated highly because they contain more than just lightening ingredients. They also incorporate ingredients that enhance the lightening properties of the product.
When looking for a skin whitening lotion, seek out products with hydroquinone as a primary ingredient as most of the top-ranked lotions contain this skin-lightening agent. Some of the top-ranked products will also contain alpha hydroxy acid or beta hydroxy acid, which are exfoliants that enable the hydroquinone to work more effectively. If seeking higher than 1 or 2 percent hydroquinone in a lotion, visit a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Most whitening lotions should be applied twice a day.
Many of these products are highly rated because they get rid of dark spots without over-drying the skin. Instead, they brighten while reducing hyper-pigmentation and redness. The best whiteners also contain sunscreen since whitening lotion can make skin more susceptible to sun damage.
There are additional risks associated with skin whiteners. If used for a long period of time, they can contribute to skin aging. They may also cause unwanted discoloration and increase the risk of skin infection.