Black celebrities from Beyonce to Whoopi Goldberg have been the subjects of massive speculation that they have been pressured to bleach their beautiful melanin in order to secure lucrative musical, movie, television, magazine and movie opportunities.
While some have been accused of skin bleaching their entire bodies to change their complexions, others have been awarded praise for their glowing dermis. However, skin brightening and skin bleaching are not one in the same.
According to the Healthlines website, skin bleaching/lightening is a cosmetic procedure that aims to lighten darks areas of skin to achieve a generally pale tone. These products include bleaching creams, soaps, and pills, as well as professional treatments like chemical peels and laser therapy.
Skin bleaching/lightening products can contain hydroquinone as an active ingredient, which reduces the production of concentration of melanin in the skin; or mercury, which, in large doses, can cause serious health problems.
The use of mercury as an ingredient in skin bleaching/lightening products is banned in the U.S. Results aren’t guaranteed, and there’s evidence that skin lightening can result in serious side effects and complications.
“Your family might breathe mercury vapors released from these products — your children might touch washcloths or towels that are contaminated with mercury,” says Dr. Arthur Simone, a senior medical adviser at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”Damage may occur to a baby’s developing brain and nervous system, and nursing mothers can pass mercury to their newborns.”
You can shy away from hydroquinone by using creams containing fluocinolone acetonide or tretinoin purchased over the counter or by prescription.
Most skin lightening products are not recommended for darker skin tones and could cause hyperpigmentation. Skin lightening treatments are also not recommended for use by children or people who are pregnant or nursing.
Meanwhile, skin brightening/illuminating” is used to add radiance to dry, dull skin and deliver a natural glow. They come in the form of serums or exfoliators.
However, one thing’s for sure: a successful beauty routine begins with healthy skin. In other words, always remember to read the label! If you’re having trouble reading the listed ingredients, it’s more than possible the products you’re using could be harmful in the long run.