Quick and recommended ways to lighten skin include using over-the-counter creams, such as Cremorlab Triple Bright White Bloom Floral Cream, Goodal Luminant Plus Whitening Essence, and Skinfood Deep Sea Water Brightening Hydrogel Mask, according to Cheryl Wischhover for Refinery29. Although banned in the United States, some skin lighteners use Mercury, a toxic agent, notes WebMD. Users should exercise caution when applying these creams.
Many skin-lightening products use the active ingredient hydroquinone, explains WebMD. To lighten skin with creams using this ingredient, users should speak with a physician, follow all directions on the packaging, and do a test sample on a small patch of skin to check for serious reactions. The test sample needs to sit for at least 24 hours to ensure the cream causes no side effects. Those who experience itching, redness, puffy or blistering skin should contact a doctor immediately. Mild redness is common, however, and treatment can continue.
Areas of the skin treated with hydroquinone may be more susceptible to sunburn, cautions WebMD. Effective treatments are usually completed twice a day, or the amount recommended by a physician. To speed up the process, use the medication on a regular basis and around the same time each day. Over-the-counter products can only contain up to 2 percent hydroquinone, while prescriptions can contain between 4 to 6 percent.