Written by Evlin Symon
There are many people out there who dream about having a perfect skin. No uneven pigmentation, no dark spots, no fine lines. In light of such desires, it should come as no surprise that they show an interest in skin bleaching products and interventions. In this article, we will discuss about the dangers of skin bleaching, trying to raise awareness about such problems. The main idea is that you understand that neither the products, nor the intervention is healthy for the skin. Instead, you have plenty of natural remedies available to lighten and brighten the skin.
First, let’s talk about the skin bleaching surgery. This is a procedure that actually eliminates the dark pigment of the skin, meaning melanin. The de-pigmentation process is undertaken with the help of chemical substances, these acting to reduce the melanin content. This procedure is recommended for lightening dark spots, elimination of scars or birthmarks and also for evening the skin tone. Cryosurgery is sometimes used with the purpose of skin bleaching. Now that you have all the facts, let’s talk about the dangers of such procedures. When the dark pigment of the skin is reduced, you present a high risk of skin cancer. And this risk clearly outweighs any of the benefits that may be associated with these procedures.
Skin bleaching creams are definitely more used than the above-mentioned procedures, but they are just as harmful. Studies have clearly demonstrated that they are harmful to the skin on the long run, even though they may help one achieve a smooth skin tone in the beginning. The chemicals that are used as ingredients in such products are more damaging than you imagine, presenting an equally high risk for skin cancer. Apart from that, it can cause all sort of problems, favoring the appearance of acne, inflammatory processes and even causing the skin to thin.
Perhaps one of the biggest threats presented by skin bleaching products is related to the mercury content. This substance is often used as an ingredient in such creams, as it is capable of blocking the production of melanin at the level of the skin. However, not many people know that mercury is actually toxic, the regular application of skin bleaching that contains this ingredient being able to cause both neurological and kidney damage. Mercury toxicity can cause a number of symptoms, making the person feel irritable all the time and suffer from headaches. Apart from that, one will experience difficulty concentrating, begin to forget things or have trouble recollecting certain facts (memory loss). Numbness, tingling and weight loss accompanies the clinical picture. Some patients might even experience insomnia and depression, as a direct result of mercury toxicity.
The chemicals that are chosen for the making of skin bleaching products might lighten the skin tone, but they reduce the melanin concentration, favoring the appearance of skin cancer. The skin becomes vulnerable, suffering from constant irritation and redness. The constant application of such products can do damage not only at the level of the skin but also in the rest of the body, causing high blood pressure and diabetes, among other health problems.
Apart from mercury, there is another substance that poses increased danger for our skin, meaning hydroquinone. When used in concentrations that exceed 2%, this substance becomes carcinogenic. In some people, it might cause a permanent discoloration of the skin, which cannot be treated through any means. The prolonged usage of skin bleaching products has been proven to cause the premature aging of the skin, not to mention make the skin more sensitive to the harmful action of the sun (hence the increased risk of skin cancer). Both mercury and hydroquinone are known to interact with UV rays, which means that the effect of the skin bleaching products is even more powerful when the person is outside.
Corticosteroids are often added to skin bleaching products, these causing a wide range of side-effects when used for prolonged periods of time. It has been discovered that they increase the risk for infections at the level of the skin; moreover, they cause the skin to become thinner and favor acne breakouts. In some people, these substances are directly responsible for the poor healing of the wounds or the aggravation of already-existent skin diseases, such as dermatitis or eczema.
When a person begins to use skin bleaching products, he/she enters into a vicious cycle. Enjoying the skin lightening effect, they end up using more product. The more product they apply to their skin, the less melanin will actually be produced. Without melanin, the risk of skin cancer is higher than ever. Instead of using such products or resorting to the skin bleaching properties, it is recommended to stick to natural remedies. For example, the fresh lemon juice can be used to lighten dark spots and even out the complexion (just make sure that you refrain from immediate sun exposure, as the skin will be quite sensitive).