Skin Health
Lightening, Brightening, Whitening: What’s What?
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Lightening, brightening, clarifying, melasma, dark spots, hyperpigmentations. An introduction to some of the most common terms, conditions, causes and treatments regarding lightening and pigmentation concerns.

Why Would I Want Lighter or Brighter Skin?

Why Choose Lightening Over “Whitening”?

Does VMV’s Illuminants+ Lighten or Whiten Skin?

Why Would I Want Lighter or Brighter Skin?

All of us are born with skin that is lighter (paler) than the skin we end up with as adults. This is partly because over time, our cumulative exposure to sun and light increasingly darkens our skin.

While you can return your skin (or get it closer) to its original, lighter shade, you cannot completely change your skin’s color to a totally different color. That is, with the correct protection and treatment, you can return your skin to a shade equal or closer to its original, much-lighter shade but you cannot “convert” medium brown Asian skin, for example, to very pale Caucasian skin.

When treatments aim to lighten skin, the objective is usually to return it to a healthier, pre-sun-and-light-exposed shade, which also means free of uneven patches and dark spots that can accumulate over time. Such treatments frequently use tyrosinase inhibitors—active ingredients that aim to block the enzyme that begins the process of melanin production.

When treatments aim to brighten skin, the objective is usually to impart a vibrant, natural radiance to skin that can be lost as older, dead skin cells adhere to the surface of the skin (the natural shedding process of the skin that pushes lighter, brighter, healthier cells to the skin’s surface slows down). Such treatments frequently use micro-exfoliants to speed up this natural renewal process.

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Why Choose Lightening Over Whitening?

Lightening is a process that returns your skin to its original, lighter pre-sun-and-light-exposed shade — which, because it is the shade of your skin before harmful exposure, is arguably also a healthier state.

The best lightening therapy also works to return skin to its clarity (absence of dark spots and uneven patches) prior to sun and light damage. This means that the therapy works to reverse damage like dark spots or blotches, melasma and other hyperpigmentations. As such, the lightening process works to return your skin to health.

Because skin “whitening” treatments sometimes aim for a drastic change in skin tone, they can involve harsh bleaches that try to strip the skin of its pigment. At times, the whitening process is so irritating that post-inflammatory hyperpigmentations (PIH) and even ochronosis (blue-black plaques that can look like bruises) can result. PIH is a condition of skin darkening that occurs after a skin trauma, such as a rash, pimple, insect bite, irritation, or burn. Harsh “whitening” products can therefore create more unsightly, hard-to-treat dark spots and blotches (PIH and ochronosis are notoriously difficult to lighten). Other common adverse reactions from whitening products include stinging, hypersensitivity, and even serious burns.

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Does VMV’s Illuminants+ Lighten or Whiten Skin?

Illuminants+ Active Pigment Management: Tone Correction, Brightening + Hyperpigmentation Therapy lightens, brightens and actively treats pigmentation problems. We have never made a “whitening” treatment. In addition to avoiding the possible side effects of harsher “whitening” therapies, there is a semantics issue: We at VMV believe that all skin is beautiful, regardless of color, especially when it is clear, even-toned, healthy, and bright.


Illuminants+ is a unique, multi-level system with:

  • 9 active lightening ingredients. Illuminants+ effectively helps clarify melasma and other hyperpigmentations, lighten skin tone notably and deliver a vibrant glow, an inherent brightness and radiance, to skin.
  • The impressive alpha-hydroxy acid, glycolic acid to provide effective microscopic exfoliation, allowing the active tyrosinase inhibitors (ingredients that prevent melanin overpoduction) to penetrate better into the skin. Treatment is enabled to occur at a deeper level, and newer, healthier, lighter and brighter cells are allowed to rise to the skin’s surface.
  • A triad of potent antioxidants — vitamin C, green tea, and rice phytic acid — to fight against free radicals and repair damage from sun and other environmental, oxidizing agents that produce a duller epidermis and dermis.
  • Armada Post-Procedure Barrier Cream 50+ — comes with Illuminants+ Treatment Creams — to prevent repigmentation by blocking out the full spectrum of skin-harming light: outdoor and indoor UVA, UVB, Infrared and Visible Light (even from computer screens, halogens, fluorescents, etc.). Used everyday, both indoors and outdoors, Armada enhances and sustains your skin’s new lightness.

Illuminants+ effectively treats melasma, dark spots, and other hyperpigmentations. It also delivers an even-toned, blemish-free clarity, lightens overall skin tone by several notable shades, and gives skin a gorgeous radiance and inherence brilliance — visibly “lit” skin.

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Click here for more on dark spots and hyperpigmentations.

Click here to learn how hypoallergenicity can help with lightening concerns.

Click here to learn about setting skin goals.

Click here for simple checklists to help you stick to your new skin resolutions.

Click here for more on clinically-sound Vx Facials + Skin Services to boost your lightening-brightening regimen.

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