Skin lightening or whitening has become very popular in many countries. It’s basically the practice of using substances to lighten the skin tone or to provide consistency in skin complexion by reducing the concentration of melanin.
The practice of skin lightening is very popular.
Recently, we’ve seen a massive interest with people looking to address skin conditions such as dark spots or uneven skin tones…a condition that is the result of an over production of melanin - the pigment that gives our skin, hair, and eyes their color.
The melanin in our skin is produced by melanocytes, which are found in the basal layer of the epidermis. An over production of melanin can be attributed to several factors such as:
Excessive sun exposure:
Too much exposure to the sun can cause brown spots to appear as the skin releases melanin to help protect it from UV light.
Melasma is a hormone-related skin condition caused by increased hormone stimulation which can increase the release of excess melanin. Often known as the “mask of pregnancy”, melasma is very common in pregnant women.
As you age melanocyte regulation becomes less effective, resulting in an uneven skin tone as the release of melanin is varied across the body.
Iron, calcium, vitamin A, E, and B complex deficiencies can cause skin discoloration so it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough of these nutrients either from your diet or through supplements on a daily basis.
However, it’s important to understand that despite its popularity in helping people even out their skin tone, there are some risks involved with skin lightening and the standard whitening products used by millions of people worldwide.
Skin bleach chemicals such as hydroquinone have been found to cause adverse effects on some users. Our products do not include them. This is why many skin care professionals recommend the use of natural products over chemical-based skin bleaching products.
Risks associated with hydroquinone and other chemical based products
Hydroquinone is considered to be the primary topical ingredient of inhibiting the production of melanin. It is mostly considered for its potent antioxidant properties. As a result, most of the products on the market contain this chemical.
This ingredient works by inhibiting the skin’s ability to produce melanin. Products containing hydroquinone have been associated with increased health risks causing them to be banned in many countries.
Recently, the Mississippi Department of Health tested and found several chemical-based skin whiteners to contain mercury. Exposure to mercury has long been associated with serious health consequences. It damages the kidneys as well as the nervous system. Mercury also interferes with the development of brain cells in babies.
Other risks of hydroquinone and chemical-based skin lighteners include
- Premature skin aging in cases of prolonged use
- Increase in the risk for infections, acne, poor wound healing and skin thinning due to the presence of steroids in the products
- Unwanted and irreversible skin discoloration
- Skin irritation
- Talk to your health care provider prior to using any chemical-based skin whiteners. However, it’s best to avoid them completely.
- Ensure the product does not contain mercury. Look for such words as mercurio, calomel, mercuric, mercurous or mercury.
- If the product contains hydroquinone, it must be listed as not being more than 2%
- Use natural skin whitening products wherever possible.
Why use natural skin lightening products?
Natural products don’t contain harmful ingredients that could potentially have an adverse effect on the user’s skin and overall health. Instead, they use natural ingredients proven to help reduce the concentration of melanin in the skin as well as help even skin tone.
Unlike chemical-based skin products, natural skin lighteners do not tend to have side effects. Some people argue that products containing hydroquinone and other skin bleaching chemicals are more effective because of these ingredients. However, in our opinion, the risks far outweigh the benefits. Why put the health and appearance of your skin at risk? Natural skin lighteners are just as effective and you’re not putting yourself at unnecessary risk.
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