I have been doing some serious research on this subject as a friend of mine has an interest in lightening a dark patch of skin on her face, and I thought I would look into how to make your skin lighter safely, and without side effects.
There are many conditions such as hypo-pigmentation, (or the opposite version, hyper-pigmentation), freckles, acne scars, burns, birthmarks, etc, which leave uneven skin tone and cause people to seek a product to make their skin lighter.
If you type in how do I make my skin lighter on Google, you will probably get a list of companies which sell the creams in question, or even affiliate sites which lead to those companies, and often these people have no clue of what is in the product they are selling as an affiliate.
Therefore it is important to know how to do your research effectively, and to know what sort of results you can expect from different skin whitening chemicals.
Ways To Make Your Skin Lighter
At the safer end of the spectrum, you have products containing things like lemon juice, orange juice, lime juice, or even mango, with the claim that this can make a noticable change in skin color.
There is actually some truth to this, as vitamin C does work as a skin lightening agent, but for those seeking to cover up a big red patch on their face, or to bleach out their freckles, then this will probably not interest them, and will be disappointing.
It's important to remember as well that you could end up finding a product that works permanently, and gives you ghost white skin for the rest of your life, so you should be asking to see some consumer before and after photos.
The most notable case of someone changing their skin color was of course Michael Jackson. He used a prescription cream containing hydroquinone, and this is one of the strongest bleaching agents out there that are "safe" for human consumption.
There are also other products on the market that have been found to contain mercury, so it's very important not to leap into any decision, and consult with your doctor, or do your research thoroughly.
Here is a link to the Wikipedia page on skin whitening. It is edited by the public, but any edit has to pass through the editors, who are serious about maintaining the integrity of the information on the page.
It talks about the active ingredients found in skin lightening creams, such as arbutin, glycolic acid, (which are some of the better ones), and it also mentions the chemicals your should avoid.
Should You Make Your Skin LIghter?
It's not just a case of whether a skin whitening cream works, because if it does work, it can be a life-changing thing, for better or worse, as you now have a much lighter skin tone.
The other question is should you lighten your skin in the first place? For a darker skinned person, this may be a fairly big deal, and their could be cultural pressures as part of the psychology.
In Asia for example, it's seen as being a status symbol to have a lighter skin tone, as the richer classes had lighter skin because they didn't work in the fields all day.
It's not a decision you want to make quickly, but if you are going to go ahead with it, do your research very carefully. I could tell you to visit your doctor first, but he may not be willing to prescribe a cream.
A chemist might not have an effective product in store, and for all I know, your country might allow the sale of products containing mercury.
It's best to do what I was saying, check the medical journals, the Wikipedia entries, do a search on the company name along with scam, side effects, problems, and any other words that might uncover pages of unsatisfied customers, and only then should you go ahead with buying a product like this online.
Sometimes people buy online to save money, but if you just look for the cheapest products, you will most probably regret it, unless it's a brand name product at a lower price through a vendor. I wouldn't trust someone on eBay who said they had something for ten times less than the original price, sounds a bit like a fake Rolex.
It does cost money to buy a product that really works in bleaching your skin to a lighter shade, and you do not want to put the price as the primary thing in your mind, as it's a bit like going to a plastic surgeon.
I would recommend this site that I found called toniqueskincare.com, as it has a safe and effective product containing arbutin, (a natural source of hydroquinone), and glycolic acid, but I wouldn't take just my word for it. There are a lot of things to consider.