The Ultimate Guide to Brightening vs. Whitening

The Ultimate Guide to Brightening vs. Whitening

Dark spots, aging signs, and uneven skin tones are all worries everyone has. Although no permanent solutions prevent aging, we can use products in our skincare routines to help slow down the process.  

A remedy that has grown in popularity over the years is skin brightening vs. whitening. Due to a surge in popularity in achieving an even complexion, treatments, and products such as creams, retinols, and even chemical peeling have grown in the skin care industry. Below, we will go over what exactly skin brightening vs. whitening is, which option is safer, which ingredients to avoid, and which to look for.   

What is skin brightening?  

Skin brightening targets hyperpigmentation, acne scarring, sunspots, and age-related dark spots. Brightening refers to using and applying products that restore the natural glow of one's skin tone and complexion.  

Also, skin brightening products remove old and dead skin cells from the skin's surface to reveal brighter skin. One thing to note, skin brightening is not permanent. Stopping using brightening products and ingredients will make the skin look dull and lose its natural radiance.  

Additionally, many different ingredients are safe to use topically and orally. Conducting diligent research and finding ingredients and products for your skin tone is essential. Everyone's skin type and skin tone vary, so some ingredients and products may work for one and not another.  

What is skin whitening?  

On the other hand, skin whitening refers to treatments that will chemically lighten one's skin tone. Chemically whitening one's skin tone is usually painful because it drastically whitens the natural skin tone by several levels.  

The most popular skin whitening methods are prescription medications, IVs, chemical peels, and dermabrasion. Although these methods use chemicals and treatments, whitening is temporary.  

Further, there are dangerous side effects that come about from whitening. The side effects include skin infections, scarring, bruising, swelling, redness, dryness, and increased sun sensitivity. In addition, a study by the FDA found that whitening skin products contain dangerous levels of mercury that, when exposed to harmful levels, can damage the digestive and immune systems and the skin, eyes, and lungs.  

Brightening vs. Whitening - Which is safer to use?  

So, which is the safer option? When deciding which is better, skin brightening vs. whitening products and ingredients are the safer option to avoid permanent skin damage and side effects. Skin brightening includes integrating products into your skincare routine that brighten dull complexions. Whereas skin whitening utilizes chemicals and, at times, dangerous treatments to lighten the skin tone several tones lighter.  

Additionally, it is always the safer and best option to opt for 100% vegan and cruelty-free ingredients when looking for skin care products. Flora & Noor is the first and only halal-certified skincare brand in the United States to create clean skincare that is inclusive for everyone! Many brands and companies highlight clean beauty and skin care, but most importantly, Flora & Noor is genuinely 100% clean, vegan, and significantly permissible for Muslims.  

Which ingredients should you avoid when looking for brightening vs. whitening products?  

Not all products and services contain chemicals and ingredients that cause adverse reactions or unwanted side effects. Below is a guide to the typical elements and chemicals to avoid when choosing your skincare and why:  

  • Mercury – continued use of mercury will lead to kidney and lung failure and strip away the skin's natural pigment. This will result in leaving behind a blue-grey cast on the skin.  
  • Hydroquinone – is a bleaching agent that causes skin thinning and increased sun sensitivity. Additionally, hydroquinone may cause damage to the skin and ligaments by thickening the collagen already present in the skin.  
  • Steroids – products containing steroids work faster and produce fast results, but they also subdue natural steroid production in our bodies. The body will rely more on synthetic steroids, which may lead to skin issues like acne and darker pigmentation.  

With these in mind, it is best to opt for products and ingredients that are naturally sourced, vegan, and cruelty-free. Luckily, Flora & Noor carry products that check all these boxes! Flora and Noor are a vegan, cruelty-free, halal-certified, and Leaping Bunny Certified (yes, please!) skincare brand that focuses on melanin-rich skin!  

Which ingredients should you look for?  

Keeping the top three ingredients in mind that you should avoid when looking for skin brightening vs. skin whitening products, we will go over which ingredients are safe to use. Ingredients safe for all skin types and concerns should be plant-derived and chemical-free.  

The first safe alternative to hydroquinone, mercury, and steroid ingredients is vitamin C. Vitamin C contains anti-aging properties, promoting collagen production through skin cell renewal and protecting the skin's barrier against free radicals.  

Flora & Noor's Vitamin C Collection is the perfect collection of cleansers, toners, serums, and moisturizers that will relieve redness, uncover dull skin, and protect your skin from pollutants! Free radicals surround us, including smoke, smog, and the sun's UV rays. In addition, all Flora & Noor products are vegan and cruelty-free, making them perfect for those with sensitive skin.  

The Boost & Brighten Vitamin C Cleanser and Super Glow Gel Moisturizer contain nutritious ingredients like aloe vera, reishi, horsetail extract, and Gotu Kola alongside licorice root! These ingredients feed your skin the vitamins and minerals to be bouncy, supple and rejuvenated.

Next, the second ingredient to look for is retinol. More specifically, plant-based retinol. Retinols also help boost collagen production by promoting skin cell renewal and preventing free radicals from breaking the skin's barrier. By stimulating collagen production, retinols do not allow aging signs such as wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation to stay in the skin.  

Although, note that there are two types of retinols to look for: synthetic and natural. Synthetic retinols are artificial and are more likely to cause reactions like redness and irritation. On the other hand, natural retinols are 100% plant-based and do not irritate.  

Additional ingredients to look for in brightening vs. whitening products

Thirdly, as mentioned above, Gotu Kola is a nourishing ingredient that helps brighten dull skin. In ancient Ayurvedic medicine, Gotu Kola promotes skin health, delays aging signs, and even treats diabetes! Moreover, Gotu Kola stimulates collagen production, therefore improving elasticity and suppleness.  

Gotu Kola also has skin brightening properties by containing flavonoids and minerals that break up dark spots and excess melanin within the skin, dispersing the cells. Furthermore, Gotu Kola is anti-inflammatory and soothes the skin, especially those with atopic dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis.  

If you are looking for a soothing and anti-inflammatory product that will hydrate and gently slough away dead skin cells, Flora & Noor's #NOFILTER Enzyme Mask is perfect. This face mask contains glycolic acid and Gotu Kola, which will tighten pores, brighten skin tone, and prevent acne, clogged pores, and blackheads!  

The fourth ingredient to look for in brightening your complexion is calendula. Calendula is a derivative of marigold flowers, protecting and preventing damage from UV rays, dryness, and irritation with its excessive amounts of carotenoids and flavonoids. Additionally, it improves the skin's ability to retain moisture. Soothes dehydrated skin and controls excess sebum production. Calendula is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, making it perfect for those with skin sensitivities, and it will prevent additional breakouts while fighting off existing bacteria.  

Luckily, Flora & Noor's Super Glow Gel Moisturizer and Hydration Station Aloe + Shea Green Tea Cleanser contains calendula, making both products rich in vitamins and carotenoids that protect, soothe, and prevent skin irritations and adverse reactions. The Hydration Station Cleanser will also prevent clogged pores and breakouts, brighten dullness, and contains anti-aging properties.  

Key Takeaways  

  • Skin brightening refers to using ingredients and products that brighten one's natural complexion by removing dead skin cells from the skin's surface. It also brightens dark spots and hyperpigmentation. On the other hand, skin whitening means undergoing chemical treatments to whiten one's skin tone by several levels.  
  • Promoting skin whitening is dangerous to some because certain products contain harmful ingredients. Whitening also may cause mental effects such as insecurities because some brands promote the idea that lighter skin is more attractive. All skin types and tones are different and beautiful in their way. The best skin is glowing, rejuvenated, and supple, gained through skin brightening products and ingredients.  
  • It is essential to do diligent research when looking for products and ingredients that work well for your skin type. Those with skin sensitivities must be diligent due to some elements not reacting well with skin concerns such as eczema or atopic dermatitis.  
  • In addition, it is crucial to opt for natural, vegan, and cruelty-free ingredients. Ingredients that are plant-based and plant-derived are not only better for your skin health, but it also protects unnecessary animals from getting hurt. Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, so why wouldn't we want to protect it the way it protects us?  
  • Lastly, Flora & Noor products are perfect for anyone's skin care regimen. Their products are halal-certified and Leaping Bunny Certified, making them safe for everyone – especially Muslims – to use safely. Only utilizing vegan and plant-derived ingredients, Flora & Noor products will fight breakouts, unclog pores, prevent aging signs, and soothe your skin! 
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