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Hi All: I'm new to this forum and well, online forums in general. So, please bear with me.

I am a dark skinned Indian woman and am extremely allergic to most sun screens. I have yet to find one that does not cause hives within 12 hours. This coupled with being a vaguely outdoorsy person has darkened my skin considerably.

My dark skin was something that did not bother me when I lived outside of India. However, Since I moved to India, (a culture in which is it not considered particularily rude to comment on someone's physical appearance whether it is weight, skin color or grooming) the darkening of my skin since childhood and it's current darkeness is constantly commented on.

Without getting into the socio-cultural complexities of why I have chosen to lighten my skin a couple of shades I would like some advice from everyone on what sort of regimen I should follow in terms of exfoliation, application and sun protection.

I have never given up on finding a sun screen that does work for me and would be extremely grateful for any advice. I am waiting on some Neutrogena for Children sunscreen in the hopes that it will work. I hope to be desciplined with updates.

To lighten, I plan on using a Soy and Aloe based cream that is :
10% Arbutin
20% Vitamin C
2% Niacinaminde
4% Glucosamine

I am uncertain about exfoliation. I have a 30% Glycolic peel that I was thinking of using once a week on my face. Should I use it more/less often. Also, I was planning on using a 30% glycolic wash for my body however, I would really appreciate some advice with this.

How often I should wash my skin and apply the cream. I have not started the lightening process yet as I would like to be armed with as much information as possible on procedure and risks. Thank you for all your help.
 

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Hi Shahrazade! Welcome to the forum. I'm sure people here will race to support you as you progress through your desired change. The Glycolic is a good idea. I've got 50% glycolic on the way. It is very helpful for skin lightening.

The cream you are intending to use may lighten a little, but since you have an accumulation of sun damaged melanin saturated skin, exfoliation is the only thing that will remove it. Contrary to popular belief, skin lighteners do NOT 'bleach' pre-existing melanin-rich skin. That old skin must slough off over time. The lightener is absorbed into the deep layers of the skin where melanin is produced. Most work by inhibiting the metabolization of an enzyme called tyrosinase which triggers the production of melanin. As the new skin develops & is revealed, it'll be lighter due to the effects of the lightening agents on the cells. You will need to find a sunblock you can tolerate. There's a link on here somewhere to a transparent zinc sunblock many people here like.

The cream you describe may brighten skin that is quite fair already, but for very dark skin, it'll do little, I'm afraid. An alternating method of Tretinoin & 4% HQ is one of the best ones for dark skin. Please read the thread by LaDonna: "From Lauryn to Mariah..." where the method is described in detail.
Retin A (tretinoin 'RA') is a potent exfoliant. In tandem with HQ, they augment eachother's best effects. RA is a strong exfoliant & it takes most people's skin time to adjust to it. In any case, please read through this thread & think it over. I'm sure others will have ideas for you too.
 

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Hi Shahrazade and a big welcome from me too
. As usual, Ondine's advice is the very best! The zinc sunscreen she mentions is here:

Invisible Zinc™

I hope it would not give you hives. It is extremely gentle and soothing on my skin. The drawbacks are that it DOES have a slight white tinge, but they do have a tinted version, and that it smells pretty awful. But Ondine is right. You NEED to find a sunscreen you can use. Do you know what ingredient causes the hives? Does anyone else have any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi Everyone:

LNL: The cream is actually a formulation from my dermatologist. (I was planning on adding the four active ingredients to it) I have rather dry skin and am sensitive to skin creams with a ton of preservatives and fragrances, so I have to get something from the derm. Before this I used to use Shea Butter from L'Occitane. However, it has become difficult and expensive to source once I moved to India.

Karenannev: Thank you so much for the link. I currently already use a sun screen with Zinc Oxide with only makes me slightly rashy. However I've noticed that sun screens with High SPF, Waterproofing or Frangrances cause the worst reaction. The down side to the one I use is getting caught in the rain. It washes off as a thick milky white liquid which I sort of have a sense of humour about. [Just got caught in the rain on my way in for lunch]. I'm planning on using a sunscreen that is used for children. However I think I will get a tube of the one featured in the link too. I will post updates once my care package arrives and I start using it =)

Ondine: Thank you for recommending the thread and sunscreen. The reason I thought to go with Arbutin was because I had heard terrible stories about HQ. However, I can see that most of then were overblown. If I am not being too forward - what is your skin care regimen? I thought to use the Glycolic instead of the Retin A for exfoliation or is that a bad idea? How are you planning on using the gylcolic peel?

According to my family, I was born rather light skinned (Fitz 3) which is something I see on parts of my body like my torso and upper legs that are hidden from the sun. However, after a lot of time in the sun without any SPF whatsoever I am considerably darker on parts of my body that do see the sun (Fitz 5). I would like to even out. I might never be as light as my torso, however I dislike the extreme differences in color.

I like your advice regarding trying to lighten up extremely dark areas before going whole hog. I really appreciate your help. Thanks again.
 

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the glycolic peel ought to arrive any day now. B4 making any usage plan, I intend to reread all the advice the saddus over in Anti-Aging generously provided & I'll also carefully check out the instructions that come with the product too. Glycolic & RA are both exfoliants. I'd begin with the lowest strength of RA first as you can always work yr way up. ADC sells RA at all strengths. Begin with 0.025% then go up to 0.05% then finally 0.1% as your tolerance builds. RA is not for everyone. HQ4% is tolerated well by the vast majority of people. You can get it from ADC cheaply & stock up to offset the shipping charges. If you read LaDonna's thread 'from Lauryn to Mariah...' you'll see a very good & effective method provided.
 
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