Skin Care

The Harmful Side Effects Of Skin Bleaching

Why would you want to change your beautiful strong skin into ugly, squishy, yucky skin through skin bleaching?

Skin bleaching is a term used to describe the act of using substances, products, mixtures or certain procedures to lighten the skin. This procedure works majorly on melanin.

Skin bleaching is also known as skin whitening. The original intent or dermatological reason for the use of skin bleaches are not to be abused as we see today around the world, especially in Africa.

The original intent was to help solve hyper pigmentation cases, help to resolve many skin diseases and so on.

In Africa, Nigeria is on top of the list of countries that excessively use skin bleaching products. According to WHO, Nigeria has the highest number of women bleaching their skin Africa by 77% and this is bad!

Another interesting fact is that a good percentage of these women use bleaching products unconsciously. This act is going out of hand as the use is increasing by the day and also its health consequences.

Healthy purposes of skin bleaching

As unusual as it may sound, skin whiteners are actually for health purposes even though this aspect is under-explored and little or nothing is known about it. So what are these health benefits….let’s dive in.

  1. To treat skin problems like hyper-pigmentation, acne, melasma, and uneven skin tone can be treated using skin lightening treatments. Over the counter skin, lightning can help reduce the conditions.
  2. To treat uneven skin tone.
  3. To lighten acne scars.

These listed above are the major benefits of skin bleaching.

Skin bleaching ingredients

We think it’s interesting that you know what makes up that magically transforming product that transforms your skin tone. Here are a few;

1. Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is a topical application in skin whitening to reduce the color of skin.  It is particularly functional in the treatment of hyperpigmentation.

In 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration revoked its previous approval of hydroquinone and proposed a ban on all over-the-counter preparations.

The FDA stated that hydroquinone cannot be ruled out as a potential carcinogen.

Numerous studies have revealed that hydroquinone if taken orally, can cause exogenous ochronosis, a disfiguring disease in which blue-black pigments are deposited onto the skin; however, skin preparations containing the ingredient are administered topically [1].

While using hydroquinone as a lightening agent, it can be effective with proper use, it can also cause skin sensitivity. People with normal or oily skin are less likely to experience side effects.

Next time you’re buying your body cream or any cosmetological products, check out this ingredient and we advise that you do not purchase such ingredients.

2. Kojic Acid

What does Kojic acid really do to your skin?

It simply prevents the production of melanin in your skin. It is also used in the treatment of different skin conditions such as melasma when it is not abused. It possesses anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.

It is advisable to use this particular substance on the non- sensitive parts of the body. It is also interesting to know that kojic acid is made from different kinds of fungi.

Kojic Acid has its own side effects, and they include Contact Dermatitis, susceptibility to sunburn and so on. It is a major carcinogen as it predisposes its consumers to cancer, so watch out for this ingredient, it is safer not to use.

3. Mercury

Many skin whiteners contain toxic mercury. According to WHO, the main adverse effect of using toxic mercury in creams and soap is kidney damage apart from this, the negative side effect includes accumulation in the skin. This is deadly to your health.

This product has been banned in the U.S. for almost three decades now.

6. Glutathione

Glutathione is mostly used as pills and injectibles. Its side effects are numerous. For example, lightening of hair, hypo-pigmented skin patches, moderate to severe abdominal pain, the risk of skin cancer and so much more.

The harmful side effects of bleaching

The side effects of skin bleaching

There are numerous side effects of skin bleaching and none of them is either manageable or mild.

These side effects range from swelling of the skin, setting down of fat on face, thinning of the skin, acne, dark grey spots, Increase in appetite and weight gain, osteoporosis, neurological and kidney damage, Psychiatric disorders, severe birth defects, asthma, and liver damage (Liver cleansing foods).

A few of these side effects have been highlighted below.

1. Cancer

The thing about cancer and bleaching is that these creams and products contain extremely dangerous components which can cause uncontrolled growth of tumors in the body.

Cancer such as blood cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer and of course, skin cancer is what skin bleaching products predispose you too. You don’t want to joke with this one.

2. Cataracts

Surprising? We know.

Studies have shown that prolonged use of topical corticosteroids which are present in bleaching products causes cataract especially bilateral cataract.

The increasingly frequent use of corticosteroids in African blacks for skin lightening raises concern regarding the risk of epidemic cataracts in young women attempting to lighten their skin to be beautiful.

3. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis simply means loss of bone density. The continuous deposit of these components thins out the skin on the long run. You do not want to have bone issues as you get older.

Osteoporosis causes other secondary conditions such as a fracture.

4. Dark grey spots

At first, the bleaching products serve you well if you’re lucky, then after continuous or prolonged use the dark grey spots start showing up, this is as a result of post-inflammatory pigmentation or inflammation that present itself as acne.

5. Neurological and kidney damage

This is as a result of the high level of mercury used in bleaching creams. It should be noted that mercury is corrosive to the skin, gastrointestinal tract and it causes kidney toxicity.


To wrap things up

Skin bleaching is a destructive practice whether for short-term practice or long-term use.

Its consequences are dangerously severe, especially for long-term users. Conditions like cancer, osteoporosis, cataract, neurological and kidney damage are not to be toil within the name of looking beautiful, fairer doesn’t mean better.

Health is wealth, you’re perfect with that skin, do not betray it.

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1 Comment

  1. Seems bleaching is here to stay in Nigeria and Africa at large….i hate seeing young girls and worst is Men who apply those subtances on their skin. Why?

    Inferiority complex?

    One should be comfortable in his/her skin.

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