Introduction and Ranking of Common Whitening Ingredients

So many whitening products(cosmetics), so many whitening ingredients, is it a little bit hard for you to tell which one is effective, which one is stimulating, which one is safe, and which one is unscrupulous? We have summarized the mechanisms and characteristics of common (not all) whitening ingredients,  hope it would be helpful to you!


1, The most classic whitening ingredients: Vitamin C and its derivatives.
Vitamin C has a whitening effect in both internal and external use.
Mechanisms: Inhibit melanin synthesis, reduce melanin, increase collagen content and improve skin tone, reduce vascular permeability and reduce inflammation, so it has a good effect on inflammation, red blood type stains.
Safety: It is generally safe, but high concentrations can be irritating.
Effect: Effective
Disadvantages: Not stable enough, easy to oxidize, easy to decompose when exposed to light.
Other similar ingredients: Vitamin derivatives, they are milder and more stable, the commonly used are 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Ascorbyl Palmitate.

2, The most versatile whitening ingredients: Total Soy Extract (Total Soy Extract)
Total Soy Extract is almost versatile, and it is excellent for whitening and overall skin improvement, and it is not irritating and suitable for any type of skin.
Mechanisms: inhibit melanin synthesis, reduce melanocyte volume, improve skin texture, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidation, promote dermal collagen increase, enhance hyaluronic acid synthesis, repair barrier function;
Safety: completely safe, no irritating records;
Validity: Effective
Disadvantages: Currently used less, the applied soybean components are generally not Total Soy Extract. It is not easy to obtain in daily life and is easily damaged by heat damage;


3, The  whitening ingredients you love the most and hate the most at the same time: Kojic Acid
In 1988, Japan became the first country in the world to approve its addition to cosmetics. After 16 years, it became the first country to ban it due to possible cancer risk. The ban was cancelled after an additional trial in 2005.
Kojic acid was previously extracted from Aspergillus and the like, and can now be artificially synthesized. It has certain irritating properties and may also weaken the skin barrier. Sensitive skin should be used with caution (Azelaic acid, which is also more irritating, therefore, we have developed a safer derivative, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate).

4, The most basic whitening ingredients: Sunscreen
Part of the ultraviolet light, visible light and near-infrared can cause an increase in melanin, so sun protection is the basis of all whitening work.

5, The most entangled whitening ingredients: fruit acids (various AHA)
As a keratin exfoliating agent, fruit acids can quickly let keratinocytes fall off. Melanin exists in the keratinocytes and falls off together. This achieves the purpose of improving skin tone. Commonly used is glycolic acid. At the same time, fruit acids can also promote the synthesis of dermal collagen, making the skin more moist and shiny. But it will make the stratum corneum thinner, the skin is more sensitive to light, and it has some irritation, which is not tolerated by everyone. You may choose it if you want fast whitening.

6, The most dangerous whitening ingredients: Aminomercuric Chloride and Hydroquinone
Aminomercuric Chloride, also known as white mercury, is a banned substance and is therefore only available in quick-acting, illegal whitening and freckle products. There is no such problem with regular products.
Mercury is toxic. When it enters the skin, it combines with fat to form a black substance that is difficult to remove. It causes more serious plaques. The amount of mercury will accumulate poisoning, which is very toxic to nerves and internal organs. Therefore, don’t believe in quick-acting whitening products, this is the most important way to avoid using mercury-toxic products!
The chemical name of hydroquinone is hydroquinone, which is an effective skin whitening agent and also used as a photographic reducing agent and developer. Adults are mistaken for 1g, which is a symptom of poisoning such as headache, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Carcinogenic and mutagenic. Long-term use can also cause exogenous leukoplakia and brownish yellow disease, which can cause toxicity to many systems and organs. The EU, Japan, and China are all banned from adding to cosmetics (so you can’t see its name in the ingredient list of the product, and it will not be added if it is prohibited). The US allows 2% of the OTC to be added. 10%, China is only allowed to use in artificial nail systems.

7, The most commonly used whitening ingredients: Arbutin, vitamin B3
It is more effective and stable with α-arbutin, and is added in a limited amount below 7%, generally around 3%. It can inhibit melanocyte activity and reduce melanin production. The effect is milder, less irritating, but occasionally adverse reactions. In general, it is safe and effective.
Vitamin B3, also called Nicotinamide, has the effect of inhibiting the transfer of melanin to keratinocytes. It can bring many other improvements to skin: tests have shown that after external use of 2% Nicotinamide for 8 weeks, sebum reduces 23%, the pores reduces by 9%, collagen significantly increased, the skin barrier is enhanced.
Tranexamic Acid, it has effects in both internal and external use. On the one hand, it inhibits melanin production, but the most important thing is that it has a hemostatic effect. It is very effective for chloasma, especially the pigmentation caused by blood vessels vasodilation and rupture.
Glutathione, also an important antioxidant, is a component of whitening needles.


8, The most promising whitening ingredients: a variety of plant extracts
There are many kinds plant extracts, usually containing polyphenol flavonoids, such as tea polyphenols, grape seed extract, ellagic acid (persimmon leaf extract), mulberry extract, angelica, scutellaria, orange peel, Ophiopogon, etc. 
The common feature is that they are all mild, but because of the complex composition, there are occasional allergies or irritating reactions. It is generally stable, and has many functions such as anti-oxidation and promotion of dermal collagen synthesis, so it can be used for anti-aging and anti-glycation.
At present, plants are research hotspots, but in general, the research is not deep enough, and many components are still limited to in vitro tests. The clinical research on humans needs to be further in-depth, but there is no doubt that they are renewable and have good availability. It has great potential and is therefore the most promising.

9, The most expensive whitening ingredients: licorice extract, especially Glabridin
Glabridin is an active substance extracted from Glycyrrhiza glabra. Its ability to inhibit tyrosinase activity is 16 times higher than that of hydroquinone, and mulberry bark extract is about 13 times higher than hydroquinone, and it is not toxic. The price of pure Glabridin is similar to that of gold (it was more expensive than gold when gold prices did not rise in previous years). The extraction yield of Glabridin is low and is limited to specific licorice varieties. If there is a product added with Glabridin and the product is yellowish, it is a conscience product, this love is like a mother!


10, The most unscrupulous whitening ingredients: Fluorescers and Covering Agents
Adding in the mask, causing the effect of false white, it appears white immediately after use, the advertisement blows its gods, so that it sells a big price, in fact, in addition to the moisturizer, there is no effect of improving the skin color. Two or three days after use, wash and return to the original shape.

Covering Agents can be washed off, usually it is a white powder: Titanium Dioxide (CI77891). It is not harmful, nor nutritious, it is very white. It is very mendacious when adding in the masks (unless it is for the visual effect of the product itself, not for the whitening effect on the skin), which is different from the leave-on products, such as sunscreen and foundation products, in which Titanium Dioxide at least acts as a sunscreen.

Some products are even added in with Fluorescers, it can penetrate into skin, although lack of harmful research, but it is not what the body itself should have. Taiwan has forbidden to add migratory fluorescent substances to skin care products (ie, it cannot be transferred from skin care products to skin). There are no regulations in China, but I believe that it will be stipulated sooner or later.

This kind of unscrupulous products, let them roll as far as possible!

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Post time: Aug-16-2018
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