Toning vs Bleaching
For a long time in the skincare world, there have been controversies about the concepts of toning vs bleaching. Oftentimes, people erroneously use the terms interchangeably, and quite a number of people who are actually skin bleaching hide under the canopy of ‘toning’.
Well, canopy or not, the truth will remain. Toning and bleaching are actually not the same. Together, in this article, we’ll be looking at the differences between Toning and Bleaching, the cons and the pros, if there are any, so that you can make informed choices when it comes to caring for your skin. A wise man once said, ‘”I regret taking care of my skin’, said no one, ever.”‘
Let’s kick off with the one we’re more familiar with; skin bleaching. Like every other bleaching process, skin bleaching involves the use of harsh chemicals to whiten or lighten the skin. The keywords here are ‘harsh chemicals’. Skin bleaching involves a reduction in the body’s melanin concentration. For those who may not know, melanin is a dark brown substance that naturally occurs in a person’s skin, hair and eyes. The more melanin you produce, the darker your skin, hair and eyes will be, and so when we bleach our skin, we’re tampering with our body’s melanin level.
Why you shouldn’t bleach your skin
You may probably wonder, ‘if I reduce my body’s melanin, so what?’ I’ll tell you what. As with every other thing in our bodies, melanin has its own important functions. For one, it protects the skin from sun damage, absorbs harmful UV rays and also reduces by a certain percentage, the chances of getting skin cancer. Interestingly, melanin also plays a vital role in preventing premature ageing and wrinkles! So black doesn’t crack? Yeah, it’s all on melanin, and maybe good genes.
Now it’s one thing to decide to bleach your skin deliberately. It’s another to find your skin getting lighter because you used a certain soap or cream without any intent. We should always look out for chemicals like hydroquinone, kojic acid, steroids and mercury. These are the harsh chemicals we talked about earlier, and not only do they whiten the skin, but they also pose the risk of several harmful side effects with prolonged usage.
For instance, mercury which is found in many skin-lightening products, has been found to cause irritability, skin damage and much direr consequences like nervous disorders and brain damage. So tell me, are you still wondering ‘so what’?
Skin toning, on the other hand, is the process of using toners, lotions or washes to cleanse the skin, shrink the appearance of pores, remove excess oil or dirt and maintain the skin’s pH. Skin toning is the treatment of uneven skin tone, dark spots and discolouration. From the motive alone, toning differs greatly from bleaching. Skin toning does not attempt to alter one’s natural skin colour.
However, there’s just one twist to this. What exactly is your natural skin colour? There are times when you may have noticed parts of your face suddenly taking on a darker and dull-looking complexion, something different from the usually covered parts of your body. Now that certainly isn’t your natural skin colour. This is referred to as hyperpigmentation, and it is often caused by exposure to sun, stress, hormones, ageing, acne and so on.
To remedy hyperpigmentation, toning your skin will restore your natural skin colour and ensure evenness in your skin tone. This is not bleaching, as you’re literally just cleansing your pores, regaining lost moisture and taking back your glow without any harsh chemicals.
Although toning can be done with processed lotions and cleansers (ensure you cross-check the components against the harsh chemicals earlier mentioned, in cases of false advertising), it can also be achieved with natural products like shea butter, aloe vera, vitamin c serum, honey and many others. So you see, toning is something that should be part of our everyday skincare routine. On the contrary, bleaching should not.
I’m certain we can now tell the difference between toning and bleaching, but the main point is this- good and healthy skin is not dependent on skin colour, and neither is beauty. A talented musician once sang, ‘you should know you’re beautiful just the way you are. And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart. No scars to your beautiful. We’re stars, and we’re beautiful.”
You might also be interested in Skincare Routines For Nigerians.