The Dangers Of Skin Bleaching Creams

Skin bleaching creams are primarily used to treat discolored skin
without permanently changing the color of the skin. Bleaching process is done
mainly to remove skin aging spots, scars, freckles and uneven skin tone. Skin
bleaching creams are a non invasive treatment of such skin related issues and
are generally the first step to treating undesired color of the skin or spots.

Having said enough about skin bleaching creams and their use, it is worth
a mention that these creams are accompanied by some dangers as well. Many
creams consist of ingredients that do not suit all skin types. Two toxic
chemicals viz. Mercury and Hydroquinone are major culprits behind the dangers
of skin bleaching creams. These chemicals have been known to cause several side
effects and shall be used with caution only

Dangers of Hydroquinone

Although Hydroquinone is the only skin bleaching chemical that has found
recognition by the FDA, any cream that contains more than 2% of it may cause dangerous
side effects. The most commonly occurring side effect is burning sensation on
the skin and itching. This itching and reddening may be local to the area of
the skin where cream has been applied.

Allergic Reaction to Skin Bleach

Skin bleaching creams may cause severe allergic reactions on some people.
These allergies may result in itching and burning of the skin. If your skin is
allergic to the bleaching cream, the pain would be much more in intensity than
the normal irritation which is expected on application of a bleaching agent. It
is recommended that the use of that bleaching cream be discontinued immediately
and a medical intervention be sought as soon as possible. However, if the
reaction is not very severe, you can expect it to die down in intensity in a
few hours and completely disappear in a few days.

bleaching dangerous results

Dangers of Mercury

Use of skin bleaching creams that contain mercury is not recommended for
a continued period of time. Mercury, if used for long, can cause poisoning and
it can also begin accumulating in the cells of the body. Severe poisoning and
exposure can even lead to serious conditions such as kidney and liver damage.

Sun Ray Exposure

Exposing bleached skin to the sun can result in a disaster. Since
Hydroquinone and Mercury cause skin to become sensitive to rays of the sun, it
is wise to stay out of the sun after bleach. In case it cannot be avoided, wear
adequate protective clothing and an SPF 15+ sunscreen. Avoid tanning beds or
sun lamps for sometime after using bleaching cream

Peroxide Precautions

A skin bleach is usually followed by some other treatment of the skin. Do
not use Hydrogen Peroxide, Benzoyl Peroxide or any other peroxide product after
Hydroquinone containing bleaching cream or else it can lead to dangerous
reactions on the skin such as dark stains on the skin

Dangers for pregnant and breastfeeding women

Breastfeeding and pregnant women should stay away from bleaching creams
as the toxic substances can travel to the fetus through the mothers

It goes without saying that proper care should be taken while using
bleaching creams. It is wise not to apply cream on the entire area that is
desired to be bleached; instead a small portion of the skin should be tested
for any reactions first. Follow the instructions and if possible, consult a veteran
before using a bleaching cream to ensure safe use.

What Are Skin Bleaching Creams?

Skin bleaching creams, also called skin lighteners, or whiteners, are creams made of substances that lighten the skin color by reducing melanin. The amount of melanin you have is determined mainly by your genetic make up, such that the more melanin you have, the darker your skin is. Other factors such as hormones, exposure to sunlight, and exposure to some chemicals, can also affect how much melanin your skin produces.

Many people around the world use skin bleaching creams to treat various skin problems, ranging from acne scars, to age spots, to localized dark patches, like post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma. Some people who are naturally dark-skinned also lighten their skin using bleaching creams. These creams can either be bought as either prescription drugs, or over the counter creams. The ones that are easily accessible over the counter are unregulated and can be very risky to use.

skin bleaching

What are Skin Bleaching Creams Made Of?

Bleaching creams can contain one or multiple active ingredients, which reduce melanin pigment when applied on the skin. Some of these ingredients are more effective than others, which explains why some lighteners work, while others don’t.

Hydroquinone is the most common active ingredient in many skin lighteners. In the US, hyroquinone is regulated by the FDA, and you can only buy a bleaching cream containing up to 2% hydroquinone over the counter. Depending on your skin problem, your dermatologist can prescribe for you a lightener with up to 4% hydroquinone.

Other ingredients used in lighteners include topical retinoids, steroids, kojic acid, arbutin and mercury. It is worth noting that mercury is a very toxic agent, which has the potential of causing serious side effects, including mercury poisoning, as well as kidney, neurological and mental problems. It can also be passed from the mother to her unborn child, so pregnant women should stay away from any skin lighteners containing mercury.

What are the Risks Associated with Using Bleaching Creams?

The risks of using a whitening cream depends mainly on which active ingredient it is made of, the concentration, the size of area it is applied, as well as, how long it is used. The most significant risk is the possibility of getting exposed to mercury, which is very toxic and can lead to numerous health problems as you’ve read above. Long-term application can also cause the darkening of your nails and skin. This s caused by mercury being deposited in your dermis, epidermis and hair follicles.

Hydroquinone, when used for more than six months, can also cause serious risks to your skin. The main risk that comes with prolonged use is the development of exogenous ochronosis, an untreatable blue-black stain on the skin and nails, which is caused by a deep deposition of the pigment in the skin.

Steroids may also cause skin thinning, poor wound healing, increased risk of skin infections and acne. In addition, long-term use on large areas of the body, can put you at risk of developing various health problems caused by its absorption into the body.

Before buying any skin bleaching cream, always ask your doctor about it first, to be sure that it’s safe and won’t cause undesirable side effects on your skin.