Toning and bleaching are commonly confused or used interchangeably in skin care by persons trying to care for, improve, or correct various aspects of their skin.

Toning is the treatment of uneven skin tones, whereas bleaching is the use of chemicals to lighten/whiten skin.


In skin care, toning is done to keep skin looking its best, while bleaching in most cases completely alters/changes the skin tone.

Toning is essentially in place to even out skin tone. It’s also a step in skin care to keep the skin tight while bleaching is a totally different ‘ball game’.

A lot of people will argue that they tone to fade discolouration and correct hyper-pigmentation and it might just be what they need for skin to come alive but around here, a lot of people hear the word ‘TONE’ and they go off seeing it as skin bleaching which a lot totally loathe.

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These quick pointers will get you started on these confusing terms used in skincare:

Toning involves using toners, washes, lotions and even serums to cleanse the skin. They also help shrink pores. In some cases people tone (some based on dermatologist’s prescription) to even out uneven skin tone, correct dark spots, discolourations and so on.

Toning should actually be seen as part of a skin cleansing process because it benefits the skin, gets rid of dead skin cells and reveals a newer, clearer, cleaner and fresher skin. It automatically brightens dull skin as well.

Skin bleaching however involves using chemicals to lighten/whiten the skin. Skin bleaching products which come as cream, soap, washes and more usually contain harsh and toxic chemicals that strip the skin, disrupts melanin production amongst others.

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With skin bleaching as well, this can be prescribed on persons with stubborn discolouration and hyperpigmentation but it comes with a lot of side effects largely skin cancer when not done by experts.

Skin bleaching is frowned upon as it has become increasingly popular in recent times and comes with grave reactions. A common ingredient for bleaching is Mercury which comes with poisoning, skin thinning, premature skin ageing, even worse acne reactions and more when overused!

When it comes to toning/bleaching due to skin problems, a dermatologist should be consulted if there’s a need to.

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