Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Is it possible to lighten my skin color permanently?"

ZocdocAnswersIs it possible to lighten my skin color permanently?


My skin color is light brown, but I prefer milky white skin. So, I want to know if there is a natural way I could make my skin color lighter.


It is possible to lighten skin, but this is actually a medical procedure that is reserved for certain patients with a need for the procedure. That is why you should discuss you concern with a dermatologist. Some patients have a disease that affects their skin pigmentation called vitiligo. In patients who suffer from vitiligo, their immune system attacks the pigment producing cells in their skin called melanocytes. This causes them to lose all pigment from patches of skin throughout their body. Because this can leave patients with disfiguring variations in their skin pigment, medications and treatments have been developed to help even skin tone by lightening the pigmented skin areas. Lightening skin involves reducing the amount of the melanin that pigments the skin, either by decreasing its production, bleaching it away, or damaging the cells that produce pigment. The problem with these procedures is that melanin is important to your health because it is your primary protection against skin cancer. Skin whitening should only be done by a doctor, because many of the products offered over the counter have been proven to be unsafe or even toxic and can damage skin over the long term. Dermatologists typically do not offer skin whitening for purely cosmetic reasons, because it substantially increases your risk of cancer. You should bring up your concerns about your skin color to a dermatologist. They can inform you about any safe options available to lighten your skin pigment, or, more importantly, can offer counseling to help you learn to love your natural skin color. Beautiful skin comes in ALL colors, so it is far safer to work with a counselor who can help you learn to see the beauty in your own skin than to try to change it through chemicals and medications.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.