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Skin Whitening – The Need and Some Interesting Solutions

 

In fact, the term skin whitening may be a bit of a misnomer in the modern context. It’s true that, in the past, and even in certain cultures today, individuals have actually applied make-up in order to create a pure white effect. The Japanese Geisha is an obvious example of such use and one whose origins can be traced as far back as the late 8th century. The wealthier individuals of Elizabethan England also, adopted a similar practice although for markedly different reasons. Bathing was not common practice at the time and the makeup served as camouflage for grimy faces while providing a base on which to apply rouge.

 

Today, individuals are generally more concerned about their personal hygiene and prefer to exploit their natural attributes so, outside of pantomimes, the white-faced look has long disappeared from all but a few cultures. In its place, rather than literal skin whitening, most of those who undertake this type of treatment are actually looking for a means to simply lighten their complexions a little.

 

Curiously, even this desire is not a modern phenomenon and archaeological evidence has been found that suggests such techniques were also used in ancient Persia the country now known as Iran. Those forced to labour for many hours in the fields soon developed a heavily tanned appearance from prolonged exposure to the harsh sun.  At the time, society’s taste favoured a fair complexion and so many of the workers applied various chemical agents to their face and bodies in their attempts to reverse the deep pigmentation.

 

In fact, it seems that these ancients were capitalising mainly on the oxidative properties displayed by a purified extract of the chemical hydroquinone in order to achieve the desired skin whitening effect. The dark pigment whose presence in varying concentrations is responsible for the colour of the hair, the iris and, of course, the skin, is a compound known as melanin. It’s produced in specialised cells that, with the help of various enzymes, have the ability to metabolise it from the essential amino acid tyrosine. 

 

Although this organic compound is often referred to as a bleaching agent, it’s not. Hydroquinone actually works by interfering with one of the steps in the chemical pathway that is responsible for new melanin production. Thereafter, the ongoing and quite normal physiological breakdown of the pigment already present will proceed and, because it’s no longer being replaced, this leads to a gradual lightening of any area that has been treated.

 

Though the demand for skin whitening preparations has recently reached record highs in China and Japan, where it’s now favoured for overall lightening and a more westernised complexion, those of other races are now showing more concern about conditions that result in the uneven distribution of pigment, particularly on those parts of the body where the irregularity is normally visible. While cosmetics may be used to mask such blemishes, many are looking for a more long-lasting solution rather than simply resorting to a routine of daily camouflage.

 

Until recently, creams containing hydroquinone in various concentrations were still the agent of choice and one cannot deny the effectiveness that has made it a performance benchmark for other preparations. These alternatives, in fact, have proved essential in the light of various research findings that strongly suggest this chemical may be implicated as a cause of malignancies – notably leukaemia. This has led to a ban on skin whitening products containing the compound in many countries and, in others, a stringent, legal limit to the concentration of this chemical  that skin whitening creams and lotions are permitted to contain. This has not stopped the proliferation of bootleg products by shady backstreet suppliers and online retailers and these should definitely be given a wide berth.

 

In practice, many naturally occurring substances found in various soft fruits and other plants, and that display no harmful side-effects, have also been found to interfere with melanin production, albeit to far less of an extent than hydroquinone. Research evidence gathered by Scinderm over 26 years has also proved that, when several such compounds are blended in the correct proportions, the mix act synergistically and results in a lightening effect comparable with hydroquinone. This means all of our Scinderm products are free of this harsh chemical but still highly effective. Additional ingredients may protect against UV damage, aid exfoliation, moisturise, nourish and contribute to the general wellness of your skin during the whitening process.

 

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What Skin Type are you?

Take this Quiz to find out what is your photo skin type.

The Fitzpatrick Skin Type is a skin classification system first developed in 1975 by Thomas Fitzpatrick, MD, of Harvard Medical School. His skin classification system and its adaptations are familiar to dermatologists. In order to determine your Fitzpatrick Skin Type, our quiz measures two components (genetic disposition and reaction to sun exposure). Types range from the very fair (Type I) to the very dark (Type VI).

Part I: Genetic Disposition

Your eye color is:
Light blue, light gray or light green = 0
Blue, gray or green = 1
Hazel or light brown = 2
Dark brown = 3
Brownish black = 4

Your natural hair color is:
Red or light blonde = 0
Blonde = 1
Dark blonde or light brown = 2
Dark brown = 3
Black = 4

Your natural skin color (before sun exposure) is:
Ivory white = 0
Fair or pale = 1
Fair to beige, with golden undertone = 2
Olive or light brown = 3
Dark brown or black = 4

How many freckles do you have on unexposed areas of your skin?
Many = 0
Several = 1
A few = 2
Very few = 3
None = 4

Part II: Reaction to Extended Sun Exposure

How does your skin respond to the sun?
Always burns, blisters and peels = 0
Often burns, blisters and peels = 1
Burns moderately = 2
Burns rarely, if at all = 3
Never burns = 4

Does your skin tan?
Never -- I always burn = 0
Seldom = 1
Sometimes = 2
Often = 3
Always = 4

How deeply do you tan?
Not at all or very little = 0
Lightly = 1
Moderately = 2
Deeply = 3
My skin is naturally dark = 4

How sensitive is your face to the sun?
Very sensitive = 0
Sensitive = 1
Normal = 2
Resistant = 3
Very resistant/Never had a problem = 4

Add up your total to find your Fitzpatrick Skin Type.

Look up your total score below and read all about your skin type.
Type I (0 - 6 points)
Type II (7 - 12 points)
Type III (13 - 18 points)
Type IV (19 - 24 points)
Type V (25 - 30 points)
Type VI ( 31+ points)

This skin type quiz is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, skin care professional diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Close
Type I (0-6 points)

Type I: You always burn and never tan in the sun. You are extremely susceptible to skin damage as well as cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. You are also at very high risk for melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. Generally follow The Skin Cancer Foundation's prevention tips but use Z Plus Broad Spectrum SPF 45+ daily and clothing with a UPF rating of 30 or higher. Seek the shade whenever you are out in the sun. Check your skin head-to-toe each month, paying careful attention to any suspicious growths, and make sure you have an annual professional skin check up. If you fall in this type you are prone to extreme sun damage when exposed sunlight and risk severe sunburn. Skin Type I are prone to premature ageing such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, etc Skin Type I are conducive to the usual aesthetic treatments such as Microdermabrasion, chemical skin peeling, laser hair removal, laser resurfacing and most other treatments can safely be done without the danger of adverse side effects such as hyper or hypo pigmentation occurring.

Recommended Products: MelanoWash; Light Oxygenating Complex, Skin Corrector, Skin Neutralizer, Koji Booster, Beta Glucan Base Cream, Z Plus Broad Spectrum SPF 45, Striking Lite Cream and Complex

Professional Treatment: A series of six (6) 20% Cherry Turnover Mask Peels once every two to four weeks depending on skin thickness and skin habits. Close
Type II (7- 12 points)

Type II: You almost always burn and rarely tan in the sun. You are highly susceptible to skin damage as well as cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. You are also at high risk for melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. Generally follow The Skin Cancer Foundation's prevention tips but also consider using Z Plus Broad Spectrum SPF 45+ sunscreen and clothing with a UPF rating of 30 or higher. Seek the shade whenever you are out in the sun. Check your skin head-to-toe each month, paying careful attention to any suspicious growths, and make sure you have an annual professional skin checkup. If you fall in this type you are prone to sun damage when exposed sunlight and risk of sunburn. Skin Type II are prone to premature ageing such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, etc Skin Type II are conducive to the usual aesthetic treatments such as Microdermabrasion, chemical skin peeling, laser hair removal, laser resurfacing and most other treatments can safely be done without the danger of adverse side effects such as hyper or hypo pigmentation occurring.

Recommended Products: MelanoWash; Light Oxygenating Complex, Skin Corrector, Skin Neutralizer, Koji Booster, Beta Glucan Base Cream, Z Plus Broad Spectrum SPF 45, Striking Lite Cream and Complex

Professional Treatment: A series of six (6) 20% Cherry Turnover Mask Peels once every two to four weeks depending on skin thickness and skin habits. Close
Type III (13- 18 points)

Type III: You sometimes burn and sometimes tan in the sun. You are susceptible to skin damage as well as cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. You are also at risk for melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. Be sure to apply Z Plus Broad Spectrum SPF 45+ every day, wear sun-protective clothing, and seek the shade between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun is strongest. Check your skin head-to-toe each month, paying careful attention to any suspicious growths, and make sure you have an annual professional skin checkup.

If you fall in this type you could be prone to sun damage when exposed to long periods of sunlight and risk sunburn. Skin Type III individuals are conducive to the usual aesthetic treatments and most treatments can safe, however caution must be displayed by the skin specialist in not causing Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH). A chemical reaction to some oral medication and exposure to sun can cause photosensitivity and can lead to hyperpigmentation. This type can be at risk during treatment for post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. To avoid premature ageing, skin cancer and hyperpigmentation, protect with Z Plus Broad Spectrum sunscreen.

Recommended Products: MelanoWash; Light Oxygenating Complex, Skin Corrector, Skin Neutralizer, White Lightening Concentrate, Koji Booster, Herbal Mulberry Cream, Beta Glucan Base Cream, Z Plus Broad Spectrum SPF 45, Striking Lite Cream and Complex

Professional Treatment: A series of six (3) 20% Cherry Turnover Mask Peels once every four to eight weeks depending on skin thickness and skin habits. Close
Type IV (19- 24 points)

Type IV: You tend to tan easily and are less likely to burn. But you are still at risk; use Z Plus Broad Spectrum SPF 45+ sunscreen outside and seek the shade between 10 AM and 4 PM. Follow all other Prevention Tips from The Skin Cancer Foundation as well. Check your skin head-to-toe each month, paying careful attention to any suspicious growths, and make sure you have an annual professional skin check up.

Skin type IV -can be prone to an overactive production of melanin following sun exposure which can result in the uneven pigmentation of melasma especially if they are on hormonal therapy such as the oral contraceptive or during pregnancy.

Those with a higher level of skin type such as skin type IV -can be prone to an overactive production of melanin following certain light and laser skin rejuvenation treatments or laser hair removal and thus proper preparation of the skin and sun avoidance is recommended prior to aesthetic treatments such as laser / light and peels. Those with a higher level of skin type such as IV-VI are usually prone to an overactive production of melanin following invasive skin treatments such as microdermabrasion, chemical peeling, laser skin or hair treatments. This can lead to permanent discoloration or scarring of the skin, and most experts agree that people with V-VI type skin should undertake any laser treatment with extreme caution.

Recommended Products: MelanoWash; Light Oxygenating Complex, Skin Corrector, Skin Neutralizer, Koji Booster, Beta Glucan Base Cream, White Lightening Concentrate, Herbal Mulberry Cream, Z Plus Broad Spectrum SPF 45, Striking Lite Cream and Complex

Professional Treatment: Enzymology Close
Type V (25- 30 points)

Type V: You tan easily and rarely burn, but you are still at risk. Use Z Plus Broad Spectrum SPF 45+ sunscreen and seek the shade between 10 AM and 4 PM. Acral lentiginous melanoma, a very virulent form of the disease, is more common among darker-skinned people. These melanomas tend to appear on parts of the body not often exposed to the sun, and often remain undetected until after the cancer has spread. Check your skin head-to-toe each month, paying careful attention to any suspicious growths, and make sure you have an annual professional skin check up. Keep an eye out for any suspicious growths, especially on the palms, soles of the feet and mucous membranes.

Skin Type V also reacts differently and at times more severely to common conditions such as acne, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) which can lead to potential problems with hyperpigmentation, or uneven darkening or lightening of skin colour as the formation of melanin is a dynamic process and responds to various stimuli. Thus the skin is more reactive to an insult which can lead to dark marks called Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation PIH. PIH may takes years to fade thus wearing a sunscreen is essential to prevent PIH.

This skin type can also produce less pigmentation called Hypo pigmentation or lightened areas, after a burn or other injury. Individuals with skin type V are usually prone to an overactive production of melanin following laser skin or hair treatments, chemical peels, any type of abrasion should be avoided. Most experts agree that people with type skin V should avoid any invasive procedure as this can lead to permanent discoloration or scarring of the skin. Sun avoidance and sun protection with a broad spectrum sunscreen is highly recommended for this type. Those with a higher level of skin type such as IV-VI are usually prone to an overactive production of melanin following invasive skin treatments such as microdermabrasion ,chemical peeling, laser skin or hair treatments. This can lead to permanent discoloration or scarring of the skin, and most experts agree that people with V-VI type skin should undertake any laser treatment with extreme caution.

Recommended Products: MelanoWash; Light Oxygenating Complex, Skin Corrector, Skin Neutralizer, Koji Booster, Beta Glucan Base Cream, White Lightening Concentrate, Herbal Mulberry Cream, Asian Pearl Cream, Z Plus Broad Spectrum SPF 45, Striking Lite Cream and Complex

Professional Treatment: Enzymology Close
Type VI (31+)

Type VI: Although you do not burn, dark-skinned people are still at risk for skin cancers, and should wear Z Plus Broad Spectrum SPF 45+ sunscreen and seek the shade between 10 AM and 4 PM. Acral lentiginous melanoma, a very virulent form of the disease, is more common among darker-skinned people. These melanomas tend to appear on parts of the body not often exposed to the sun, and often remain undetected until after the cancer has spread. Check your skin head-to-toe each month, paying careful attention to any suspicious growths, and make sure you have an annual professional skin check up. Keep an eye out for any suspicious growths, especially on the palms, soles of the feet and mucous membranes. This skin type Skin type VI also reacts differently and at times more severely to common conditions such as acne, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) which can lead to potential problems with hyperpigmentation, or uneven darkening or lightening of skin colour as he formation of melanin is a dynamic process and responds to various stimuli. Thus the skin is more reactive to an insult which can lead to dark marks called Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation PIH. PIH may takes years to fade thus wearing a sunscreen daily is essential to prevent PIH. This skin type can also produce less pigmentation called Hypo pigmentation or lightened areas, after a burn or other injury.

There is a greater risk of keloid (raised, often large scars) development because darker skin has a better bed of collagen. Studies suggest that the fibroblasts which make collagen, are larger and more numerous and active. Damage to darker skin is therefore associated with a greater incidence of keloids and hypertrophic scars. Most experts agree that people with type skin VI should avoid any invasive procedure as this can lead to permanent discoloration or scarring of the skin. Sun avoidance and sun protection with a broad spectrum sunscreen is highly recommended for this type. Those with a higher level of skin type such as IV-VI are usually prone to an overactive production of melanin following invasive skin treatments such as microdermabrasion ,chemical peeling, laser skin or hair treatments. This can lead to permanent discoloration or scarring of the skin, and most experts agree that people with V-VI type skin should undertake any laser treatment with extreme caution or avoid treatment altogether.

Recommended Products: MelanoWash; Light Oxygenating Complex, Skin Corrector, Skin Neutralizer, Koji Booster, Beta Glucan Base Cream, White Lightening Concentrate, Herbal Mulberry Cream, Striking Lite Complex or Cream, Z Plus Broad Spectrum SPF 45, Striking Lite Cream and Complex

Professional Treatment: Enzymology Close