August 15, 2022

    Top 10 Safe Skin Lightening Ingredients

    Top 10 Safe Skin Lightening Ingredients

    All skincare should be safe BUT truth be told, skin lightening ingredients don’t have the best safety record. For this bad name we have hydroquinone to blame – a lightening skincare ingredient associated with mercury contamination and ochronosis – a blueish-black discoloration of skin – absolutely not what you want when looking for safe skin lightening ingredients.  Mainly manufactured in Asia.

    There are forms of hydroquinone, manufactured here in the good old USA, that are safe at the 1-2% limit, when coupled with other protective ingredients. 

    Many Asian skin lightening products contain caustic ingredients, many banned here in the US. 

    Do not worry. There are many safe skin lightening ingredients available to you, Proven by his list of top 10 safe skin lightening ingredients proves.


    1. Kojic Acid

    Usually made as a by-product of malted rice – that’s used to make sake/rice wine, Kojic acid is an all-natural lightening and brightening skincare active. Kojic acid works to lighten and brighten your skin by making an enzyme necessary for melanin production unavailable i.e. the pigment which colors your skin.

    2. Vitamin C

    Vitamin C is a much loved, multi-tasking skincare ingredient. Just look at this list of activities;

    • Antioxidant

    • Collagen builder

    • Anti-aging active

    • Lightens skin

    • Skin brightening

    • Builds skin’s strength

    • Helps shield skin against pollution

    Bottom line – vitamin C is a necessary skincare antioxidant. Since your skin naturally makes vitamin C it is therefore one of the safest skincare actives you could use.

    3. Alpha-arbutin

    Another natural skin lightening active. Alpha-arbutin’s made by Mother Nature and found in the leaves of the bearberry plant. Used in skincare at a 1 to 2% concentration alpha-arbutin can rival even the most effective skin brighteners. Similarly, to Kojic acid, alpha-arbutin works by inhibiting skin’s tyrosinase enzymes.

    4. Niacinamide

    Enter the world of skincare and you won’t travel far before hearing about the wondrous activity of niacinamide. Also known as pro-vitamin B3, niacinamide is an antioxidant, sebum (oil) balancer, acne fighter, anti-inflammatory, ceramide booster and… a very effective skin lightening active. Niacinamide works even more effectively when paired with N-acetyl glucosamine.

    5. Glutathione

    A potent antioxidant that can even be taken as a food supplement. Glutathione makes a fantastic partner to well-studied skin lightening ingredients like Kojic acid. While studies show glutathione is safe for use on skin, not so much is known about how well or how quickly glutathione can lighten skin. For this reason, be sure your choice of lightening skincare includes glutathione accompanied by one of the other skin lightening ingredients on this list.

    6. Azelaic acid

    Don’t let acid scare you, azelaic acid is the same pH level as your skin, 5.5pH which is also slightly acidic. Azelaic acid is most commonly known for its abilities to help calm rosacea – a chronic redness accompanied by irritation and scaling. However, azelaic acid is also an effective skin lightening ingredient. Used in skincare azelaic acid will not only help even your skin tone, it will also help keep your skin clear.

    7. Glycolic acid

    Most people know glycolic acid works as a leave on exfoliant, most people don’t know glycolic acid can also help lighten skin. While many of the ingredients on this list work to inhibit melanin synthesis, glycolic acid works to lighten skin by removing melanin pigment faster. Glycolic acid skincare speeds up the natural turn-over of your skin cells aka the rate at which they exfoliate. Uneven exfoliation can cause an uneven skin tone, therefore glycolic acid can powerfully boost the results of direct acting skin lighteners like Kojic acid.

    8. Linoleic acid

    While you might not have heard about linoleic acid, you’ll have surely heard about natural plant oils which contain linoleic acid – rosehip oil, grapeseed oil and evening primrose oil. Linoleic acid can help speed up your skin cell turnover in the same way as glycolic acid with recent studies suggesting linoleic acid can also directly suppress melanin production. Another natural skincare active with noteworthy lightening and brightening abilities.

    9. Paper Mulberry

    Mulberry extract is an up-and-coming skin lightening active. Sources boast mulberry extract may even have better efficacy than the very controversial Hydroquinone. Named a superoxide scavenger, paper mulberry extract can also help protect skin against damaging free radicals i.e. pollution-induced age spots.

    10. Licorice extract

    As a mixture of actives, licorice extract contains many ingredients with skin-lightening benefits. Some of these work traditionally by inhibiting tyrosinase activity whereas others also lighten skin but by other mechanisms. This makes licorice extract an attractive and very effective skincare ingredient for lightening and brightening.


    Call Private Label Skincare Florida to have us make your Lightening creams to add to your line.  We give you more than a label claim, we can give you a product with results. 

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