The only change so far wrought by these creams has been in the bank accounts of their manufacturers. To date, says dermatologist Rekha Sheth, medical science has found no way to turn dark skins fair.The color of your skin is determined by the pigment producing cells called melanocytes present in the upper layer of the skin. In the dark skinned persons, the production rate of melanocytes is higher and their number may be marginally more, than in the fairer skinned. This is genetically determined; but factors like uv radiation from the sun, hormonal imbalances, skin disordered, prolonged illness, certain medications and some perfume based cosmetics can increase the production of the melanocytes causing hyper pigmentation. Such hyper pigmentation can be reduced by a hydroquinone based medication prescribed by a skin specialist and used under strict medical supervision. Hydroquinone stabilizes the production of melanin i.e brings it down to normal levels, but it cannot bring melanin production to below normal levels, and that is why it cannot make your skin lighter than its genetically determined color.

So called fairness creams also use hydroquinone. But hydroquinone used on normal skins, far from turning them fair, can even cause adverse reactions, ranging from allergic reactions dryness, itching, burning, peeling and redness to leucoderma(milky white patches resulting from the destruction of melanocytes.) With prolonged, indiscriminate use, these patches could even appear on parts of the body where the cream is not being used.

While there is no cure for dark skins, there is prevention. Dark skins tan more easily than do fair skins, and keeping out of the sun is the most important step you can take to keep down melanin production.

But the bottom line of course is that the glow that comes from a healthy skin can put the milkiest-white complexion in the shade.

And two more bonus points : The higher rate of melanin production in the dark skins provides increased protection from the sun’s uv rays which means slower skin aging and much lower risk of skin cancer.