Skin darkening as you age is quite common and it is caused by the cumulative exposure to sunlight. So it is no surprise that many people are wanting to lighten skin by 5 shades or more to get back to the skin tone they had as a baby. Sun tanning is usually not permanent but it can be very difficult to reverse if it has been decades of excessive sun exposure.
Most people will naturally darken over the summer by 1-2 shades which is normal skin tanning. Then once the winter weather arrives, they will lighten by 1-2 shades because of the shorter window of time that the sun is out and being indoors due to cold weather. Now, if you are not seeing natural skin lightening during the time that you are not sun bathing, it may reflect serious skin damage in the deeper layer of skin.
Hydroquinone is used by millions of people to lighten their skin quickly. Many people do not want to wait until their body naturally gets rid of a tan or scar on their skin and choose to use hydroquinone to speed things up. Hydroquinone is a safe skin lightening agent that can be bought over the counter in 2% concentrations for mild discoloration.
If the skin darkening you are experiencing is more severed (4-5 shades darker) then you will need to use hydroquinone to lighten your skin gradually until you achieve the results you want. It may take many months to many years to lighten the skin by 5 shades but you can speed this up by using Retin-A cream.
Retin-A cream is great for speeding up the exfoliation process and helps hydroquinone cream work better. Some people may be sensitive to Retin-A cream so begin to use it slowly until you are sure you will not have a reaction.
We get a lot of emails asking if it is okay to use monobenzone as a skin lightener on normal skin. The answer is: it is better to use hydroquinone for skin lightening purposes and there are many reasons for this.
Based on the above list, we only recommend using monobenzone for the treatment of vitiligo. If you have normal skin that has just darkened over time, you can give a higher strength hydroquinone instead.
Hydroquinone works very well for lightening the skin by 5 shades and you may need to start at the 10% hydroquinone strength to get better results. We also recommend adding Retin-A cream to improve your results as well.