Skin bleaching is a widely popular cosmetic procedure all across the globe. Various skin bleaching products are known by different names – skin lightening products, skin brighteners, bleaching creams, and so forth. But is skin bleaching a good idea or not?
How Does Skin Bleaching Work?
Long story short – skin bleaching is intended to even out the skin’s complexion. Lightening creams use a vast variety of ingredients, which reduce the amount of the skin pigment called melanin. The lack of enough melanin production makes the skin’s complexion brighter and this is exactly where the ingredients in the bleaching creams kick in. These melanin-reducing ingredients may feature mercury, hydroquinone, Kojic acid, steroids, retinoic acid, or Arbutin glycoside depending on the manufacturer. For example, manufacturers in the US are forbidden from using mercury as a bleaching agent in brightening creams, but European and Asian manufacturers aren’t.
Why Should You Use it?
Most people who rely on skin bleaching usually use bleaching products in order to get rid of cosmetic flaws. Among such imperfections are freckles, acne, discolored skin spots, darkened skin spots, scars, age spots, hormone-related discoloration, and so on. Another common reason for the usage of skin bleaching creams is to brighten up naturally darker skin tones. Bleaching can be applied on facial skin as well as on the entire body. Although bleaching products can be prescribed by a professional dermatologist, bleaching by default is a cosmetic procedure, not a medical one, so it can also be sold without a prescription. If considering bleaching, look at the average timeline for your skin tone and evaluate from there.
Why Shouldn't You Use It?
There are a number of reasons as to why skin bleaching is a bad idea. For starters, mercury is the most common ingredient found in bleaching products. And while it’s forbidden for manufacturers in the US, bleaching goods imported from Asia and Europe will feature mercury. Not only can this ingredient lead to mercury poisoning, but it may also cause neurological problems and liver diseases. Furthermore, pregnant women using bleaching products with mercury will pass its toxicity to their children. Another factor for not using skin bleaching is that it may cause premature skin aging, acne, infections, inflammation, skin thinning, ochronosis, allergic reactions, and so forth. Moreover, excessive skin bleaching is a truly bad idea as it increases the possible risk of developing skin cancer due to constant sun exposure without proper sunscreen creams with a high SPF.
Those skin bleaching products, which feature steroids, also pose danger not only for the skin, but also for the rest of the body. If your organism doesn’t react well to absorbing chemicals and steroids, skin bleaching can lead to a number of health problems. On top of that even all-natural skin bleaching agents, such as fungi-based ones, can also trigger an allergic reaction.
When is Skin Bleaching a Good Idea?
If your dermatologist has prescribed skin lightening products, it’s safe to use them, but only for the pre-designated areas in moderate amounts as prescribed by your doctor. Many skin bleaching creams are also sold in drug stores above the counter without a prescription. However, you should always consult with a doctor or a professional pharmacist before using them. Another thing you should never neglect is the inscription on the package. Mercury may be disguised as Mercurous or Calomel. And while hydroquinone is safer than mercury, its content should never be above 2%.
If you’re uncertain about a skin bleaching product, you should opt for getting a second opinion from another dermatologist. There are numerous substitutes to the idea of using skin bleaching creams, such as laser treatment, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and so on.
Keep in mind that not all skin types are universal. Skin bleaching might have proven to be a good idea for one of your friends, but that does not mean that your own type of skin is suitable for such products, even if they come from a reliable manufacturer. Skin brightening procedures remain cosmetic procedures above all, and they shouldn’t be taken lightly or treated like medical procedures. If you believe you’re in need of such products, ask yourself if the risks of side effects from excessive usage are worth it compared to the problem you’re trying to get rid of by applying skin bleaching creams.