Skin coloration is a major topic of interest in the Asian community, especially among those of Southeast Asian ethnicity who tend to have darker pigmentation but desire a lighter tone.
While bleaching to whiten skin color has become somewhat of a fad, applying harsh chemicals is not a good idea.
Illegal "black market" creams are particularly risky and can cause deforming burns and scarring.
Some skin bleaching compounds can be absorbed into the blood stream.
Hydroquinone, the most common bleaching agent, has been linked to leukemia and adverse skin reactions causing permanent disfigurement.
Even when combined with tretinoin (the active ingredient in Retin-A ®), hydroquinone is only capable of reducing melanin residing in the outermost epidermis layer of the skin
Addressing deeper dermal "melanosis" and especially localized pigmented lesions generally requires use of more aggressive "ablative" laser or chemical peels.
• Update: Freckles Are In, Even on Asian Skin
More on Asian Skin and Hair >
Skin and Hair Medical Treatment Overview
Introduction to Asian skin physiology and general care guidelines
Asian Skin Anatomy and Healing
Overview of skin structure and why Asian skin ages and heals differently
Sun Damage and Sunscreens
Selecting sun protection lotions, creams, and gels that actually work
Bleaching to Whiten Skin Color
Effective and safer lightening options for sensitive Asian skin
Laser Resurfacing & Chemical Peel
Issues relating to resurfacing procedures on darker Asian skin
Radio-Frequency Plasma Resurfacing
Deeper skin resurfacing with "cold" RF energy to lessen pigmentary risks
Spa-level treatments such as IPL, weak lasers, microdermabrasion, and more
Restylane, Juvederm, BOTOX ®
Injectable pharmaceuticals to modulate skin and muscle appearance and movement
Scalp, Face & Body Hair Transplants
Special issues related to Asian hair replacement on the scalp and body
Asian Skin and Scarring
Prevention of keloids and hypertrophic scarring in Asian skin
Tattoos and Laser Removal
Tattoo removal using the Q-switched laser to minimize scarring and skin pigment damage
Laser Hair Removal from Asian Skin
Removing unwanted hair
from the face, neck, underarms, legs, and other areas