Women health

 Skin bleaching side effects

The risks of excessive skin bleaching

The use of skin bleaching solutions over an extended period of time can result in serious inside repercussions as well as noticeable skin damage and scars. The dangers are highlighted by a true account of liver failure and long-term health problems.

The NHS reports that using products containing hydroquinone, corticosteroids, or mercury may have adverse consequences on the skin, including scarring, kidney, liver, or nerve damage, as well as changes in a newborn baby's appearance and behavior (if used during pregnancy).

The overuse of skin-bleaching solutions can result in irreparable harm, and even when bleaching has ceased, the skin may not heal completely. The use of bleaching solutions depletes the skin's melanin, which increases its sensitivity to the sun. As a result, you should wear clothing over your skin in addition to sun protection to reduce your chance of developing skin cancer. This does not stop many consumers from using these harmful and unlawful products, nevertheless.

A warning about irreversible long-term damage

Since the age of 18, a family friend with Nigerian ancestry who prefers to remain anonymous has been using skin bleaching cream. She described how, in the 1970s, no one had been informed of the health risks associated with using these products. She had sought to work as a cabin crew for an airline, and everyone knew that in order to do so, you had to be fair-skinned. There was no way that someone with dark skin could serve the social elite.

She was introduced to cream by a cousin. She was hired by the airline, had lots of attention and admiration from the crew and customers, and then she realized she really can not stop bleaching.

Nobody brought up the need for sun protection or the threat of skin cancer. As the years went on, new things were released, and because she traveled, she was able to purchase items in Europe that were either out of stock or required to put her name on a waiting list but were available elsewhere.

Her hands felt extremely scratchy, like paper, and she began to notice breakouts on her face. Then she started to feel sick, but no one knew what was wrong. She maintained using the skin-bleaching cosmetics until she became too ill to fly because she didn't associate her health issues with them.


When she was hospitalized with liver failure and uncontrollable shaking of her hands in the 1990s, there was little more knowledge about the usage of hydroquinone and mercury in these products. A Nigerian doctor told her that years of skin bleaching were to blame for her ailments.

She was given medication and required a few weeks in the hospital, but she never felt ashamed because at the time, all she understood was that having fair skin was attractive. She wouldn't have met her pilot spouse if she hadn't bleached; she only met him because of her light skin.

She does, however, caution younger women about the risks. Although she has stopped bleaching, she has never entirely recovered. She believes that the liver failure caused her hands to shake violently in the first place. She misses her radiance but is often curious about how she would have looked if she hadn't used any skin-whitening products.

The intergenerational problem

Some moms who use unlawful skin-bleaching products even bleach their children. Their two primary motivations are to conceal the fact that they themselves are not naturally fair-skinned and to believe that having light skin is attractive. For instance, some expectant mothers in Ghana have gone so far as to take skin-bleaching pills in the mistaken belief that doing so will make their baby naturally light.

This became obvious to me that many people either did not completely comprehend the hazards associated with either skin bleaching or irreparable harm. I also saw how deeply ingrained the ideal of light skin is and how it outweighs any danger.

I should mention tanning injections a little bit if I'm going to talk about the dangers of skin bleaching. We Black women are so critical of white women who bleach their skin that we overlook the usage of sunbeds and tanning injections by white women.

Sunbeds are permitted, but tanning injections are not. They contain Melanotan, a synthetic form of the hormone that produces melanin, which can result in depressive symptoms, loss of appetite, nausea, elevated blood pressure, and even panic attacks. Melanotan may cause skin cancer, according to users who claim their moles have grown and become darker.

But it's not just the risk involved that gives skin bleaching such a bad connotation among the African and Caribbean cultures; it's also the psychology involved. First and foremost, why do people do it?

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