Most people don’t know about the side effects of bleaching face. It does more bad than good. There are no health benefits to this; rather, it results in a lot of complications. It is important to weigh the risks before bleaching your face.
1. What is Skin Bleaching?
Skin Bleaching is using products like skin-lightening creams to lighten the skin tone. It can also treat skin discoloration, freckles, acne marks, and age spots and hide facial hair. There are many bleaching treatments to get lighter skin. There are skin-bleaching creams, skin-lightening creams, fading creams, skin brighteners, laser therapy, and many others.
Melanin is the pigment responsible for dark skin. Areas with more melanin develop dark spots. Sun and hormones can affect the melanin in the skin. People get tanned after long hours of sun exposure.
2. How Does It Work?
It is important to remember skin bleaching can lighten dark spots and tone out the skin color. But it cannot make dark skin into light one. The skin-bleaching product has a bleaching agent, which reduces melanin production. Therefore, using skin bleaching products results in an overall lighter complexion.
Mostly hydroquinone is used in skin-lightening creams. The FDA has regulated the use of hydroquinone. This is considered safe, but it can be dangerous in large concentrations. The prescribed quantity of hydroquinone by dermatologists and specialists is 4% to 6%. It is vital to consult some professionals to determine the exact amount of hydroquinone required. Aside from hydroquinone, some natural ingredients used to lighten the skin are arbutin, vitamin A, steroids, kojic acid, retinoic acid, and others.
3. Side Effects Of Bleaching Face
There are serious side effects of bleaching face. This is why some countries have even banned them. The Food and Drug Administration declared skin-bleaching products hazardous. in 2006.
According to the NHS, the common side effects of bleaching the face are that skin can permanently become darker or too light, the blood vessels become visible as they get thin, it can result in severe kidney failure, liver and nerve damage, and applying bleach during pregnancy can affect the baby.
The various health risks associated with skin bleaching are mentioned below.
3.1 Mercury Poisoning
One of the major side effects of bleaching face is mercury toxicity affiliated with skin bleaching cream. Although it is not allowed to use mercury in cosmetic products, some bleaching cream contains mercury. In fact, in a study, it was found that 549 skin-bleaching creams had mercury. This leads to mercury poisoning.
Various symptoms associated with mercury poisoning are numbness, higher sensitivity to light, fatigue, high blood pressure, and even kidney failure. Another outcome is mental health problems. It causes frustration, increases irritability, and triggers tremors and memory loss. It is lethal and long-lasting.
Another side effect of a bleaching face is contact dermatitis. Dermatitis is inflammation in some areas of the skin due to exposure to certain chemicals. There is excessive oil in some regions, and the skin becomes scaly and itchy.
The associated symptoms are redness, swelling, blisters, dry and flaky skin that itches, ulcers, and hives. They can appear on the face, upper chest, armpits, and groin.
3.3 Blue-Black Pigmentation Or Exogenous Ochronosis
Another one of the major side effects of a bleaching face is a skin disorder called Exogenous Ochronosis. Using skin-lightening creams might result in a blue-black pigmentation in skin color. It can happen if one uses excess bleach with hydroquinone for a long time.
Developing Exogenous Ochronosis is more probably if people apply bleach on large areas of skin or the entire body. Frequent contact with hydroquinone can cause permanent skin discoloration.
3.4 Steroid Acne
Skin-lightening products that contain corticosteroids have major side effects. They get absorbed into our bodies and induce steroid acne. The good news is that Steroid Acne can be treated. But as you know, “Prevention is better than cure.” Therefore it will the best if you stop applying bleach.
The bad news is that though steroid acne commonly develops on the chest, it can also occur on the back, arms or any other body part which was exposed to corticosteroids for a long period. The symptoms range from mild issues such as whiteheads and blackheads to severe skin conditions like painful red bumps and resilient acne marks.
3.5 Nephrotic Syndrome
One more bullet on the list of side effects of bleaching face is Nephrotic Syndrome. This kidney disorder is caused when blood vessels that are responsible for filtering out waste and excess water are damaged. As a result, the body exudes too much protein.
This is another consequence of mercury toxicity linked with bleach creams. The major symptoms are swollen feet, swollen ankles, frothy urine, enervation, swelling around the eyes, and appetite loss.
Skin bleaching can also cause allergic reactions. Regular usage of bleaching products can result in premature ageing and sagging of the skin. Prolonged exposure to bleach can make one prone to skin cancer. I know Justin Beiber said never say never but you should never use bleach on a newborn baby. They have highly sensitive skin. This could permanently scar them as they get lighter or darker skin colour.
If you do use skin-lightening products, it is important to take some safety measures. The first step is to patch-test any new product you are trying in small unostentatious areas and check how your skin reacts to it after a couple of days.
The next measure is to let your skin get used to a chemical before applying it all over your body. You can start by using it a maximum of twice every week. You should also avoid using multiple products simultaneously as it will be an overdo. Do only how much your skin can take. It is advised to use minimum bleach only in dark areas.
It is crucial that you stay as far as possible from sensitive regions like the eyes, nose and mouth. So remember to wash your hands after using bleach. Always apply the bleaching products with a clean cotton pad or clean hands. In the case of laser treatments, you should also ensure that the treated area does not come into contact with other people.
They always say, “Work smart, not hard.” Wearing sunscreens can prevent the development of dark skin. This way there will be no need to lighten your skin. It is also important to have the correct skincare routine. For example, serum should be applied before moisturizer.
5. Benefits Of Skin Bleaching Products
Bleaching the face is always an important step of a facial. Although the results are not guaranteed, it has been found that bleaching the face helps in the following.
5.1 Bleaching Can Reduce Dark Spots And Blemishes
Facial bleach is one of the best remedies for dark spots which are triggered by sun damage, ageing and hormonal changes. It can effectively wipe out blemishes, and acne scars and treat skin conditions like discolouration, freckles and eczema.
5.2 Even Skin Tone
Bleaching the face can reduce uneven skin tone. The skin lightening cream lightens dark areas, mitigates hyperpigmentation and minimizes sun spots, freckles and tan. It is an efficient short-term solution to reduce melanin production cells called melanocytes. This evens out skin discolouration.
5.3 Brightens The Skin
Skin bleaching creams are a 10-minute solution to a dull face. Skin-lightening products bring a golden glow to your face by lightening the facial hair and removing any tan. This is because it contains a bleaching agent called hydrogen peroxide. It heals any skin damage.
6. Guidelines To Follow
The side effects of bleaching face are uncountable. So it is advised to consult a doctor before purchasing any over-the-counter bleaching cream. The instructions on how to use a skin bleaching cream are given at the back of the passage. Carefully follow those as the repercussions of misusing bleach are severe. It should not be left for more than the prescribed time else it might burn the skin. Avoid bleaching the skin regularly. If you face any issues post-bleaching, immediately visit a doctor.
7. Alternative Options
There are many natural ingredients and home remedies that can be used instead of toxic artificial products or hydrogen peroxide to make your skin tone brighter and your dark spots lighter. They are the best for sensitive skin and do not cause any problems like scarring, skin allergies etc. Chemical peels, overnight creams, Fuller’s earth paste, tomato, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, green tea elixir or yoghurt can be effective. Most of the time tan fades away after a while. So bleaching is not necessary.
Although bleaching is a good temporary solution to a number of skin problems it can end in even more health problems. There are many side effects of bleaching face. Overusing bleach can cause irreparable damage as the skin might not reverse back to its original condition even after discontinuing the bleaching. So, it is time to ask, “Is bleaching worth it?”
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