In some cultures white skin is associated with status, belief and self image. As such many people try to whiten their skin, however, skin whitening can be harmful. Many skin whitening and skin bleaching products contain the toxic chemicals Hydroquinone and mercury. After using these types of products, the skin becomes extremely sensitive to sunburn and eventually develops melasma.
There are natural ways of lightening skin tone such as using melanin-inhibiting ingredients along with sunscreen and a prescription retinoid (vitamin A). In addition, regularly exfoliating to shed dead skin cells makes skin appear brighter and healthier.