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What Are the Dangers of Skin Bleaching?

What Are the Dangers of Skin Bleaching? What Are the Dangers of Skin Bleaching? What Are the Dangers of Skin Bleaching?

If you have acne scars, age spots, freckles or other dark patches of skin, your dermatologist may recommend a skin-bleaching cream or gel. The most effective skin bleaching creams break down the melanin pigment in the skin’s cells to lighten the area gradually. Skin-bleaching products are safe for most people, but some experience unpleasant and potentially dangerous side effects. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist before using any product to lighten your skin.


One of the most common side effects experienced by people who use skin-bleaching products is skin irritation. Irritation is a greater concern for people with naturally sensitive skin. Test for sensitivity before using skin-bleaching products by applying a small amount to the area you wish to treat and wait 24 hours to see if irritation occurs, recommends DermNet NZ. The most common skin irritations are stinging, reddening and itching. Many skin products, including bleaching creams, can irritate the mucous membranes, so take care to keep the product away from your eyes, nostrils and mouth.


Discoloration of skin treated with skin-bleaching products can occur, especially if you use benzoyl peroxide or other peroxide products on the skin at the same time. You should avoid using peroxide products with skin-bleaching creams unless directed to do so by your dermatologist. Most skin discoloration associated with skin-bleaching products is temporary. Rarely, some people may develop a condition called ochronosis when using hydroquinone, a popular skin-bleaching agent. Ochronosis causes a persistent blue-black pigment to the skin.


Many bleaching creams increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. It is important to avoid sun exposure as much as possible when using these products, especially in the early afternoon hours when the sun’s rays are the hottest and most dangerous. If you must go outside, wear protective clothing and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps when using skin-bleaching products.

Allergic Reaction

While rare, some people experience an allergic reaction to topical skin-bleaching products. Stop using the product and seek medical attention if you experience severe burning, itching, crusting or swelling after applying bleaching products, as these are the most common signs of an allergic reaction. Some people experience allergic reactions to other ingredients in these products, other than the bleaching ingredient. Creams that contain sodium metabisulphite can cause serious allergic reactions in some people that can lead to hives and difficulty breathing.

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