As women we are always trying to enhance our beauty. We try different products not knowing what’s in those products and what damage they can have on us. Skin whitening, skin lightening, and skin bleaching is the latest beauty enhancement trend which we are seeing everywhere. Skin whitening refers to the process of using chemical substances in an attempt to lighten skin tone. This process can also provide an even skin complexion by reducing the melanin concentration in the skin.
Before we get into the harm these chemicals can cause, let’s try understanding some basics. Melanin is pigment produced by melanocytes scattered within the basal layer of the skin which helps determine how dark a person’s skin is. The more melanin the darker your skin is. However, this pigment also has a protective role. It is the skin’s own natural protection from the harmful ultra violet rays of the sun. Without it, the skin is extremely vulnerable to developing skin cancer.
Despite its growing popularity, research shows that skin whitening products that we get over the counter or online contain potent doses of chemicals that can be harmful to us. With ingredients such as glutathione and hydroquinone which slow the production of melanin in the skin. Some manufacturers add mercury and steroids to speed up the lightening process which is not only toxic but has serious health risks. Glutathione is a very potent antioxidant that’s in our body naturally.
The chemical was used to treat cancers and Parkinson’s disease. During the treatment process doctors noticed change in patients. Their skin started to glow and they were getting lighter. Glutathione was never meant for skin lightening. When used in a wrong way it can increase sun sensitivity and more seriously cause your heart to race. Hydroquinone (C6H6O2), on the other hand is a severely toxic and very powerful chemical used in photo processing. It is also used in the manufacturing of rubber and is an active agent in hair dyes.
Prolonged use of Hydroquinone thickens collagen fibers damaging the connective tissues. The result is rough blotchy skin leaving it with a spotty appearance. This does not mean that you should never use hydroquinone. However it is important to understand that this compound has great effects and should never be used without prescription from a good dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
Mercury in the form of Mercury Chloride & Ammoniated Mercury is carcinogenic (cancer-producing). Today this compound appears on the list of toxic substances that can only be purchased via pharmacies with prescribed labels of toxicity. Mercury slowly accumulates within the skin cells striping the skin of its natural pigment leaving behind the tell-tale signs of grey/ blue pigmentation in the folds of the skin. In the long run this chemical can damage vital organs and lead to liver and kidney failure and mercury poisoning.
Below I have put together a list of safer alternatives when you want to lighten Skin
Safer skin lightning alternatives:
- Vitamin C
- Folic Acid
- Vitamin A
So ladies, whilst we may all be chasing the perfect glow, consider the effects on your body. Otherwise we could all find ourselves with serious health problems in the long run. After all, beauty is not just about whats outside, but also whats inside.