Dangers of Skin Bleaching Solutions and products

Skin bleaching or skin whitening isn’t really a new idea.

Back in the Elizabethan times men and women strived to obtain a pale white skin complexion. It was regarded as a sign of elegance and also of social standing. Those who meet the expense of to put on Ceruse – a paste made from vinegar and white lead – to their facial area, neck and chest area.

For woman it was also popular to own rouge cheeks and crimson lips. These people might use dyes from herb root base and animals on their cheeks nevertheless the lips were reddened additional by by using a pigment made from red mercury sulfide. Mercury was also utilized to rinse the face, acting like a light chemical peel to make the dermis soft and fresh new.

Surely, we now know the about impact of lead and mercury poisoning on your body, so it’s no surprise that these routines caused serious scare tissue that included skin blemishes and acne pimples but will also a thinning of the surface skin layer. In additional severe cases the skin might even turn a blue grey shade.

Inspite of the hazards, these dangerous recipe were set up in beauty remedies well into the 18th century and mercury may still be seen in skin brightening lotions and soaps nowadays.
Even though a lighter skin complexion is still regarded as attractive in some societies, increasingly more ladies are trying to find skin whitening treatment methods to treat skin issues associated with hyperpigmentation. Uneven skin color and areas of hyperpigmentation can occur due to sun exposure, skin itchiness, hormonal imbalances or oral contraceptives.

Skin whitening or skin bleaching creams may be used to treat a range of problems including dark spots, acne scarring, freckles and melasma but be care ought to be taken when choosing a product. Many skin lighteners still are made up of chemicals that pose intense health problems if used for prolonged intervals.

So How Do Skin Whiteners Work?

Skin bleaching creams contain ingredients that act to slow producing melanin in the skin’s outer layer. Melanin is a brown pigment produced in the melanocytes in the skin. Melanin is the body’s natural protection against the harmful effects of UV rays, however, an over production of melanin (hyperpigmentation) can cause uneven skin tones and other skin problems.

Skin bleaching agents act to reduce the action of the enzyme, tyrosinase, which manages the rate of melanin production inside the skin.

Products that contain effective ingredients can help to treat the problems associated with hyperpigmentation, however, chemical-based skin whiteners can can be potentially dangerous and carries the numerous health problems with prolonged use.


What Skin Bleaching Components Should We Avoid?

Chemicals traditionally used in skin whitening products may include hydroquinine, mercury and steroids. While the using these chemicals has been banned in some nations, ingredients like hydroquinine may still be prescribed by medical professionals.

The leading danger of exposing the skin and body to these toxic chemicals is that, over time, they can supply adverse negative effects and serious health issues including skin discoloration, malfunctions of the nervous system and internal organs and an increased probability of cancer.

Hydroquinone [C6H4(OH)2] is a contaminated chemical that is used in black and white film processing, producing rubber and is seen in some hair dyes. Hydroquinine is utilized in skin lightening lotions and creams because it is an successful bleaching agent, decreasing producing the tyrosinase enzyme and reducing the amount of melanin formed.

While we have no idea the full extent of the health risks hydroquinone poses, it is regarded as cytotoxic (toxic to cells), mutagenic and carcinogenic (cancer causing). Hydroquinine is believed to boost the risk of problems such as thyroid disorders, liver disease and adrenal dysfunction. It has been banned for sale as a skin lightener in Europe, Japan, and Australia and plenty of groups are calling for the FDA to ban this chemical in the US.

A ban was proposed by the FDA back in 2006 but now skin-lightening products that contain 2 % hydroquinone can be sold over-the-counter and products that contain up to 4 % hydroquinone can be had by prescription from a physician.

Common unwanted effects reported from the use of hydroquinine creams include skin rashes, burning skin irritation, excessive redness and a dryness or cracking of the skin.

If used for extended periods of time, hydroquinone can occasionally induce a condition known as “ochronosis.” Individuals with ochronosis can show a blue-black darkening in certain areas of the skin.

Like other pigment-reducing complexes, hydroquinone may make the skin more susceptible to the sun’s Ultra violet rays. This can lead to serious sunburn and an increased probability of certain types of skin cancer.


In August 2013 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a reminder to consumers informing them not to use skin creams, beauty soap or creams that might contain mercury due to the dangers of mercury poisoning. The FDA first banned the use of mercury in skin-bleaching and lightening items back in 1990 but the regulatory office has since found that mercury was being used as an ingredient in some products that were manufactured abroad and sold illegally in the United States.

Mercury is a harmful chemical that is readily absorbed into the body but it is not easily eliminated. When mercury is utilized for skin whitening the initial side effects can include skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring. Continued exposure to mercury can have more serious health consequences.

The World Health Organisation recommends that using mercury on a long term basis can damage the kidneys and the nervous system. It can also cause depression or psychosis and interfere with the development of the brain in unborn children and very young children.

The FDA recommends that you see the label of any skin bleaching creams you choose. Items containing mercury will have the phrase “mercury,” “mercurous chloride”, “mercuric,” “mercurio,” or “calomel.” If there is no content label or list of ingredients do not use that products.



Sadly, many skin-lightening creams are made up of illegal compounds which can include high-dose steroids. Although steroids can be useful in treating inflammation of the skin caused by diseases such as eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis, they were never intended for skin lightening use.

When steroids are prescribed this take place under the supervision of a dermatologist and the application is generally minimised to a few short weeks.

While topical corticosteroids can seem to lighten the skin rapidly, this is due to they act as “vaso-constrictors”. This implies the arteries in the area treated may become constricted (narrow) and the flow of blood will be slowed, giving the skin a whiter appearance.

Steroids may also slow the process of cell rejuvination so less melanocytes are formed, leading to a decline in melanin production. The negative side of slowing the skin’s natural cell renewal is that the epidermis (outer skin layer) can gets thinner and lots of people criticize of the appearance of green veins in the skin.

Unmonitored use of high-dose steroids can result in many problems. The thinning effect on the skin can increase the risk of physical damage to the skin. The skin may become more susceptible to chemical and environmental factors and there will be an increased risk of sun damage and additional pigmentation problems.

The high doses of steroids found in the illegal skin whitening creams can also interfere with the body’s hormone levels and, in extreme cases, can result in problems such as Cushings syndrome which affects the adrenal gland.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s