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Hydrogen Peroxide Skin Lightening: Should You Try It?

Curious about hydrogen peroxide skin bleach? This guide provides all the answers to your questions about hydrogen peroxide face bleaching and more.

What is Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen Peroxide is a weak acid with strong oxidizing properties that make it useful for bleaching paper, removing stains from clothing, whitening teeth, and more. It is a colorless liquid with a faint odor and a bitter flavor.

What is Hydrogen Peroxide used for?

The hydrogen peroxide found at drugstores has a variety of applications. It was once a popular disinfectant and can still be used for emergency wound cleaning. Its bubbling action makes it helpful for cleaning lightweight debris up and out of wounds, making it particularly useful in cases where loose soil has gotten into a cut or scrape. People sometimes use hydrogen peroxide for cosmetic purposes such as lightening hair and reducing bumps caused by keratosis pilaris, and it’s a good ingredient for DIY household cleaners, too.

Many commercial products contain hydrogen peroxide. If you have a tube of whitening toothpaste at home, there’s a good chance that it contains a small percentage of hydrogen peroxide.

At higher concentrations, hydrogen peroxide can be a dangerous chemical. It’s used to bleach textiles, it is used as a component in some organic chemicals, and it’s used in foam rubber production. Hydrogen peroxide is even a component of some rocket fuels!

Can skin get lighter from Hydrogen Peroxide?

The short answer to this question is “yes.” There’s a little more to the story, though. Hydrogen peroxide doesn’t stop your skin from producing the melanin that gives you your beautiful, natural color. Instead, the acid it contains works to exfoliate your skin’s top layer, which exposes the layer of newer, lighter-colored skin underneath. It can take several treatments to get the desired result.

Why try to lighten your skin with hydrogen peroxide?

The purpose of this type of skin lightening isn’t to make yourself appear paler. After all, there’s nothing quite so beautiful as people of different colors. Instead, hydrogen peroxide skin lightening is usually used to treat minor skin discoloration such as the dark spots that are often left behind when a pimple fades.

If you’re looking for a way to show off your natural complexion at its lightest, practice safe sun care. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats, along with clothing that protects your skin from the sun. At the same time, remember to get just enough sun to stimulate natural vitamin D production, and keep in mind that a few minutes of natural sunlight is among the best mood boosters available!

What are the side effects of bleaching skin with Hydrogen Peroxide?

If you have sensitive skin, you might want to skip this skin lightening technique altogether, since the most prominent side effect of bleaching with hydrogen peroxide is irritation. Some people have suffered from further complications such as hives, redness, irritation, and itchiness. If you are prone to eczema or other forms of dermatitis, then you should be aware that hydrogen peroxide can bring on an outbreak. In cases of severe overuse, blisters and chemical burns can happen.

Besides irritation, hydrogen peroxide lightens hair. If you use it on an area with dark-colored hair, that hair may turn reddish or orangish in color. This might not be noticeable on small areas, however it’s a side effect worth keeping in mind since hydrogen peroxide bleaching is done for cosmetic purposes.

Alternatives to Bleaching Skin with Hydrogen Peroxide

In case hydrogen peroxide skin bleaching isn’t for you, you’ll be glad to know that there are quite a few safe alternatives including specially formulated OTC skin bleaching creams. You can use glycolic acid or other alpha-hydroxy acids that are considered safe for use on skin. Hydroquinone is another safe bleaching agent, as are vitamin C and kojic acid. Even lemon juice can be used to produce a similar skin lightening effect, although it’s possible that this method will take longer than others.

The Best Way to Lighten Skin with Hydrogen Peroxide, Plus What to Expect

Before you use hydrogen peroxide to lighten skin, it’s a very good idea to test for sensitivity. The best way to do this is to apply one drop of hydrogen peroxide to the skin behind one of your ears, wait 24 hours, and check for a reaction. If there’s no irritation, it’s probably safe to go forward with your plan.

Prepare for Treatment

Because hydrogen peroxide will lighten just about anything it touches, it’s important to set up your treatment area carefully. Use white towels or older towels you don’t mind damaging with bleached spots, and wear clothing you don’t care about. If you have long hair, it’s a good idea to tie it up out of the way so that you don’t bleach it by accident.

Start by washing the skin you plan to treat. Next, use an abrasive exfoliant such as sugar scrub or salt scrub to remove dead skin cells. This might sound like overkill, but it’ll pave the way for the hydrogen peroxide.

Apply Hydrogen Peroxide Carefully

Next, use a cotton swab to carefully apply a drop of hydrogen peroxide to the area. Be sure to wipe away any drips immediately. Let the hydrogen peroxide sit on your skin for up to 20 minutes. You might notice some tingling, and the area you’re lightening might look flushed.

When time’s up, use warm water to wash the area. Use your fingers to lightly massage the water into your skin so that all the hydrogen peroxide is removed, and then pat the area dry with a soft towel.

Note that it’s not normal to feel any discomfort or burning. If you notice a sensation other than mild tingling, rinse your skin with water immediately and do not continue these treatments.

Be Patient! It Can Take Time to Lighten Skin with Hydrogen Peroxide.

Don’t expect miracles to happen right away! Depending on the severity of your dark spots, hydrogen peroxide can take several weeks worth of treatments to work. The new skin underneath will be sensitive, and will be prone to sun damage. Be sure to protect it with sunscreen, particularly in the first few days after treatment.