The 4 Whitening Skin Care Products You Must Avoid! Here’s Why

By on June 22, 2013
Although most people prefer to have tan skin, not all of us do–and for those of us in search of a perfect, milky white complexion, our best resort could be whitening skin care products.

You won’t find many whitening products here in the United States, but a quick trip to Asia will deliver all of your whitening skin care needs, from whitening creams to intensive face masks that claim to even out pigmentation and stop the production of melanin, the pigment that makes our skin look darker.

But is it necessarily safe? Not so, according to Arthur Perry, M.D., a clinical associate professor of plastic surgery at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

“Brown pigment in our skin is produced by special cells that make melanin,” says Perry. “Most of the skin lighteners block the formation of this pigment. So, they really don’t “bleach” the skin, they just stop the pigment from being produced and it eventually wears off.”

As for what’s a big no no, Perry identifies two chemicals, hydroquinone and mercury, as being universally dangerous. While in years past skin care products utilized these active ingredients, recent research shows that it can anything from a persistent rash to kidney damage.

That’s reason to be fearful, but scarily enough, these aren’t the only ingredients you need to avoid.

The Unsafe Chemicals in Your Whitening Products, Revealed

If you’re looking for a skin care product that can help lighten up your complexion, buyer beware: Not all products are safe. To keep yourself–and your skin–safe, here’s what you need to avoid:

1. Hydroquinone, or anything derived from it. Although the FDA considers it a safe product, studies consistently show it increases the rate of tumors in rodents, making it a possible carcinogenic. Hydroquinone can also increase skin sensitivity, and ironically, cause your skin to become darker when used improperly. Recommendation: Just avoid it; it’s not worth the risk.

2. Arbutin. Considered similar in chemical structure to hydroquinone, this compound is also met with controversy due to a recent German study, which found that intestinal bacteria can turn arbutin to hydroquinone, increase a person’s intestinal cancer risk. While it does occur naturally in some foods, such as pears, concentrated forms of arbutin aren’t considered safe.

3. Mercury. It’s fallen out of use for a few decades now, but skin whitening products made overseas still use mercury, often because of its efficacy as a skin lightening product. While it’s effective; it’s also dangerous–repeated use of mercury can damage the nervous system and kidneys. Recommendation: Avoid at all costs.

4. Steroids. Often used in conjunction with other skin lightening products, steroids help suppress the immune system, and therefore make it easier to lighten the skin. But it often comes as a cost–a cost that can create serious adverse effects that mainly target a person’s hormones. It’s advisable to stay away from steroids unless instructed to do otherwise by a doctor.

Readers: Have you tried skin whitening products before? Which ones would you recommend?

Safety of Whitening Products For the

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