Skin bleaching is the use of products( creams, tablets, injections) to lighten dark areas of the skin or achieve an overall lighter complexion.
Melanin which is a natural skin pigment that determines the skin, hair, and eye colour is the target of these products.
Melanin on the skin also helps protect the body from harmful ultraviolet rays.
These skin lightening products when used reduce melanin production by suppressing the enzyme responsible for melanin formation.
There is evidence that skin lightening can result in serious side effects and complications. Some side effects include:
- Higher chances of sun rays damaging the skin leading to the risk of wrinkles, uneven texture, discolouration, and skin cancer.
- Irritation and sensitivity of the skin due to the harshness of lightening products to the skin.
- Mercury poisoning
some skin lightening creams contain mercury which enters the body to bring about fatigue, high blood pressure, and numbness.
This is the inflammation of the skin. Its symptoms on the skin are; skin redness, blisters, hives, swelling, itching, skin ulcer, dry skin, burning, and tenderness of the skin.
- Skin discolouration
Blue-black pigmentation of the skin occurs after long-term use of bleaching creams containing hydroquinone.
- Nephrotic syndrome
This is a kidney disorder caused by damage to blood vessels in the kidney responsible for filtering waste and excess water hence too much protein is excreted in urine.
The signs and symptoms are; swelling around the eyes, swollen feet and ankles, and foamy urine.
This is caused by mercury-containing creams.
With the numerous effects enumerated above, however, the level of melanin can always be improved by those with a low level of melanin by eating vitamin A food( carrot, sweet potatoes, spinach, orange, fish, etc).
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