Global Issue of Skin Bleaching and Risks of Skin Lighteners

ELLE Magazine lightens Image of Indian Woman for cover.

Skin bleaching is not only a controversial and global practice, but also an old one. The Ancient Egyptians and Greeksused on their skin, as did the Japanese Geishas in recent history. Skin bleaching occurred in medieval Europe,white leadand the European Colonies in Africa and the Caribbean; it was practiced in the United States in the early 1900s. It still exists today in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region.People of all ages, races, ethnicities, genders, social classes, incomes, and education levels lighten their complexion.

Dominican Baseball Player Sammy Sosa lightened skin.

People bleach their skin for one of several reasons: the skin is perceived to be too dark; preference for light skin, becauselight skin is seen as beautiful; the practice is seen as fashionable, modern and facilitates social mobility; a response to influence; and to attract potential spouses (Blay, 2007; Jablonski, 2006). These reasons have been theorized within peer the frameworks of , , and.self-hate, colorismmis-educationidentitycomplex personhood.  READ MORE from 

Risks of Skin Lighteners- From Web M.D.

One of the most significant risks of using some skin lighteners is the potential exposure to mercury. One study found that nearly 1 out of every 4 skin lighteners made in Asia and sold in the U.S. contained mercury.

There are other potential risks of skin lighteners. Those risks can include the following:

  • Prolonged use can contribute to premature aging of skin.
  • Long-term use may increase the risk of skin cancer from sun exposure. Always use sunscreen when using a skin lightener and going out in the sun.
  • Steroids in some skin lighteners may increase risk for skin infections, skin thinning, acne, and poor wound healing.
  • Applying steroids to large areas of skin may put you at risk for health problems related to steroid being absorbed by the body.
  • Hydroquinone may cause unwanted and untreatable skin discoloration.
  • Various bleaching agents, including natural ingredients, can cause skin irritation or allergic reaction.
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