Question from the Press about skin whitening:
I used to be very pale (as in geisha-white), but became very tan after an outdoor trip. Is there anyway for me to get my original skin colour back?
Our skin is constantly renewing itself. New cells move up from deeper layers as the outer layers are shed off. And this includes the pigment cells that were activated by the suntan. I am quite sure you will revert to the original skin color (geisha white? – is that appealing?). It’s just a matter of time. Skin cells are renewed at different rates on different parts of the body. So while your arms and legs might take 2 months to regain its original color, the face would take only 3 weeks or so.
The important thing of course is not to tan the skin again meanwhile. Wear sun protection of high enough SPF if you need to be out in the sun. This is beginning to sound like a broken record, as I repeat this many times a day in my aesthetic practice. This is because UV radiation in sunlight releases free radicals that cause oxidative stress to the skin. Long-term exposure will lead to photo aging (spots, wrinkles and broken capillaries) and of course skin cancer. Trust me, it is much easier to protect from UV radiation than having to treat pigmentation.
Whitening creams will irritate the skin to varying degrees. So unless you are looking to treat some pigmentation (dyschromia is the scientific term), the discomfort is not worthwhile. And besides, how are you going to apply a whitening cream all over your body?
There are aesthetic procedures that can lighten skin colour. These include light chemical peels and IPL, which are perenial favourites of aesthetic clinics. But do bear in mind that like with whitening creams, these aesthetic treatments can cause temporary discomfort and have their inherent risks. They are more usually reserved for treating sun-damage rather than to fade a tan. Sun-protection and lots of patience is usually enough to fade that tan.