Everything You Need to Know About Skin Lightening Soaps

Everybody desires a flawless and evened out skin. The difference comes when some people do something about the flaws on their skin while others do nothing and hope to wish them away. Still, there are those who desire more; a skin that is several shades lighter.

Regardless of what you are looking for, the skin lightening industry is flooded with products that promise to make your wildest dreams come true. Among these are skin lightening soaps.

If you are considering adopting them into your skin lightening regimen, you might as well learn a thing or two about what they have to offer. Here’s everything you need to know about skin lightening soaps.

What are Skin Lightening Soaps?

These are soaps that have skin whitening properties. They contain active ingredients which work together to lighten dark skin. Others come with additional properties that help to maintain the health of your skin.

How Do They Work?

Skin lightening soaps contain ingredients that lighten your skin through several mechanisms:

  • Reducing or inhibiting the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin colour. The less the melanin produced by your skin, the lighter your skin becomes.
  • Cleansing your skin and getting rid of dirt build-up that could be responsible for infections or dull and hyperpigmented skin. Some common active ingredients like kojic acid have antifungal properties that help to get rid of any fungal infections that may cause flaws on the skin.
  • Exfoliating your skin to give room for new, healthy and lighter skin to surface.

What Are Skin Lightening Soaps Used for?

These soaps are used to effectively reverse or treat hyperpigmentation that may occur due to melasma, acne and acne scars, sunspots, dark spots, injuries to the skin and other skin conditions. They are also used in daily skin routines to maintain bright, evened out and light skin.

Other additional benefits that come with particular skin lightening soaps include anti-aging effects, skin moisturization, skin rejuvenation, oil reduction and antioxidant benefits.



Be careful to only buy skin lightening soaps from reputable sellers and manufacturers who include the list of ingredients on the packaging!

The Most Common Ingredients in Skin Lightening Soaps

It is the list of ingredients in a particular soap that determines how it functions. Here are some of the most common ingredients that you are likely to encounter and their functions.

  • Papaya – The ingredients main component is the papain enzyme. It is found in the skin of the papaya fruit. It helps in skin rejuvenation, lightening, moisturization and exfoliation. It also fights acne and leaves the skin feeling smooth and young.
  • Kojic Acid – This is derived from Native Japanese mushrooms. Kojic acid lightens the skin by inhibiting melanin production. Additionally, it is antifungal and antibacterial, qualities which make it effective against skin conditions that are likely to cause skin flaws. The combination leaves your skin lighter, flawless and youthful looking.
  • Arbutin – This is a naturally occurring hydroquinone derived from the leaves of fruits such as bearberry, pear and cranberry. Arbutin lightens the skin by blocking tyrosinase activity, hence decreasing melanin production.
  • Glutathione – This is an antioxidant produced by human bodies. When applied on your skin, it lightens the skin by deactivating tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for melanin production. Other benefits of glutathione include detoxifying the body, accelerating cell turnover and minimizing the appearance of skin flaws.
  • Turmeric – This is a kitchen spice used to flavour food but it also does wonders on your skin. It can improve dark spots, moisturize your skin, repair sun damaged skin and lighten dark skin. In a certain research, turmeric was applied to melanocytes. The results showed that melanin production was reduced by 60%.
  • Saffron – Saffron is a plant whose stigmas are used to make the saffron spice. The spice is packed with so much to benefit your skin. Apart from tyrosinase inhibitory qualities, it also corrects dry skin, tones down complexion, offers protection from UV rays and cures inflammatory skin conditions.
  • Licorice – Licorice root contains glabridin, an active compound with tyrosinase inhibitory powers. It also comes packed with antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities.
  • Hydroquinone – The agent has been used in skin lightening for several decades. It lightens the skin by interfering with melanogenesis. However, its long term use has been associated with ochronosis, a condition that causes permanent darkening of the skin especially when used by dark skinned people. It is also banned for use in skin care in several countries while in others; only strengths below 4% are allowed to be sold OTC.
  • Mercury – this is a dangerous heavy metal. While it successfully lightens skin, it also introduces some harmful effects to your skin and your body in general. These may include problems on your skin, kidney, liver and brain among others. Despite the banning of its use in skin care, products containing high levels of mercury have still found their way to the shelves.

What are the Side Effects of Skin Lightening Soaps?

The side effects of skin lightening soaps depend on the ingredients contained in a particular soap. Ingredients like mercury and high concentrations of hydroquinone are known to cause harmful effects on the skin and the body in general.

Other natural ingredients like kojic acid, arbutin, vitamin C and licorice etc. are not associated with any harmful effects. However, like every skin lightening products, the soaps also make your skin photosensitive and should therefore be used alongside a good sunscreen. There is also an off chance that particular ingredients may cause an allergic reaction on sensitive skin.

Best Way to Use Skin Lightening Soaps

How you use a product is a great determinant of the results that you are likely to get. Skin lightening soaps are not different; here are few tips that can help you reap maximum benefits from these soaps.

  • Use soap with a combination of ingredients. These ingredients come with different properties that can benefit your skin in more than one way. Common combinations include kojic acid and papaya, kojic acid and glutathione, saffron and goat milk etc.
  • Check the ingredient list to keep off any that are known to give you allergies.
  • Follow the product’s instructions and precautions to the letter.
  • Test the soap on your hand, then a small part of your face and give it at least 15 minutes to rule out any reactions.
  • Use an exfoliating glove or sponge to enable the soap to remove dead skin faster and better.
  • Use the soap with water to get better results and reduce the harshness of the soap on your skin.
  • Once you wash your skin with the soap, rinse with cold water to close pores and make your skin feel tighter.
  • If your soap doesn’t contain coconut oil or any other moisturizer, apply some on your skin to prevent drying.
  • Give the soap between 8-16 weeks to show satisfactory results.

Can Skin Lightening Soaps Be Used on Intimate Areas?

Products made from natural ingredients are considered safe to use even on intimate areas. However, it is better to use the soaps that are specifically recommended for intimate areas because they are available.

When Will I See Results?

Since soaps are usually used and washed off, they take some time to take effect. They can take anything between 8-16 weeks to show satisfactory results.

Where Can You Buy Skin Lightening Soaps?

Skin lightening soaps are available online and at your local beauty shop over-the-counter. Be careful to only buy from reputable sellers and manufacturers who include the list of ingredients on the packaging. Online stores where you can buy include Amazon and Ebay. You can also check your favourite soap’s official website.


Skin lightening soaps are some of the products that have caused a buzz in the skin lightening industry. Apart from skin lightening benefits, the ingredients in the soaps also offer a host of other benefits that help to maintain the health of your skin. These benefits may include anti-inflammatory benefits, oil control, anti-ageing effect, skin rejuvenation, moisturization, antifungal and antibacterial benefits among others.

Other ingredients like hydroquinone and mercury can introduce some harmful effects to your skin. With all this information at your fingertips, you are good to go as far as skin lightening soaps are concerned.

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