One would like to think that society is moving forward; that we are beyond the point of endangering our health for our beauty; that we have come a long way from the days of using white lead to lighten our faces (as the ancient Romans did) or lead sulfate to remove our freckles (Rome circa 15th-18th century). But maybe we’re not as forward thinking as we would like to believe. While the days of full face whitening may be over, many women still use skin bleachers to fade hyperpigmentation and dark spots., and some of these products contain harsh chemicals. Here is a list of some of the chemicals you may not want to see on your skin cream label:
If you use skin lightening creams, you may have noticed this ingredient popping up on the label. Hydroquinone is a melanin inhibitor that works by preventing the production of skin pigments. Although it may look as if it is working in the beginning, long-term danger may await. Hydroquinone has been known to cause permanent skin discoloration, and has hence been banned in many countries.
Mercury is another ingredient that often looms large in skin lightening products. However, while it may serve to lighten your skin, it may also be doing damage to your kidneys. Mercury in skin products can cause scarring, discoloration, and rashes, and has also been found to break down the skin’s resistance to bacteria and fungus.
Banned in most countries without a prescription, topical steroids can cause skin thinning and fungal infections, and long term use can even lead to serious internal diseases. Steroids have also been associated with folliculitis and rosacea.
These preservatives are most often used to extend the shelf like of beauty products, but they have also been found to be carcinogenic. Parabens have not only been associated with an increased cancer risk, and they can also interfere with the endocrine system. Reports show that paraben can have an estrogen-like effect on the body which may disrupt the reproductive system.
Similar to paragons, phthalates are also carcinogenic in nature and should especially be avoided by pregnant women.
They smell lovely, but they may not leave your skin that way. Fragrances can be highly toxic and have an adverse effect on the central nervous system, possibly leading to irritability, hyperactivity, and depression.
So now that you’re sufficiently scared of your skin lightening treatment, you may be wondering if there are natural alternatives, and the good news is; yes, there are! Plant testing has revealed a number of all-natural ingredients that suppress melanin production without the side effects of chemicals. Look for products including such ingredients as licorice, mulberry extract, arbutus, kojic acid, Emblica and vitamin C next time you are looking for a pigment reducer for effective results without the negative side effects.
What natural products do you use for hyperpigmentation? Let us know how you’re staying safe while looking gorgeous!