Skin bleaching is the use of products like creams, soaps, pills that contains some skin whitening chemicals such as Hydroquinone, kojic acid,Glycolic acid,Vitamin C, Mecury etc, to reduce the amount of melanin in the body. These chemicals have different mechanism of action.
In the society today, people tend to feel inferior or lack confidence due to the color of their skin. Thus, the need to lighten the skin.
Due to the stigma surrounding bleaching, companies have become more clever with the language they use and instead, tend to use less problematic words like lightening and brightening but the devastating effects remain the same.
Melanin is the pigment that darkens the skin and the iris. It is produced by the cell melanocytes, when its distribution is reduced the skin’s dark coloration is also brightened. This is the reason why most of the mechanism for bleaching targets the production or storage of the melanin.
Each of the chemicals used has its own effect. Although the combination of one or two of it can reduce the risk like the use of Hydroquinone and kojic acid which mildly ameliorates the effect of Hydroquinone.
Consequences Of Bleaching
Some of the consequences of these chemicals occurs by Disrupting the most superficial layer of the skin (stratum corneum) and are given below;
- Lesion of the skin
- Increased susceptibility of the skin to ultraviolet rays and other environmental hazards
- Decrease in integrity of the skin against mechanical or physical assault
- Compromised ability to conserve water and heat (homeostasis)
- Easy passage of pathogens into the body through the skin
When the superficial protection of the skin is reduced, it exposes the melanocytes to UV radiation which could increase the risk of skin cancer.
Also being exposed to mercury over time can cause symptoms like numbness, tingling, dizziness, forgetfulness, headaches, and depression.