WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BLEACH?
Bleach refers to a number of chemicals which remove colour, whitens or disinfect and is mostly done by oxidation.
Bleaching has been known for millennia but the chemicals currently used for bleaching is the result of work of several 18th century scientists. Chlorine is known as the basis for the most commonly used bleaches.
Oxidizing bleaching agents that do not contain chlorine most often are based on ‘peroxides’ such as hydrogen peroxide, sodium percarbonate and sodium perbonate. While most bleaches are oxidizing agents, some are reducing agents such as sodium dithionite and sodium borohydride.
However, bleaches are used as household chemicals to whiten clothes and remove stains and as disinfectants, primarily in the bathroom and kitchen but bleaching usage has been transferred to the skin as a form of transformation for both men and women.
WHAT IS SKIN BLEACHING?
Skin whitening, skin lightening and skin bleaching is using chemical substances in an attempt to lighten skin tone or provide an even skin complexion by lessening the concentration of melanin. Several chemicals have been shown to be effective in skin whitening, while some have proven to be toxic or have questionable safety profiles, adding to the controversy surrounding their use and impacts on certain ethnic groups.
NEGATIVE HEALTH EFFECTS
There is evidence to suggest that some types of skin whitening products use active ingredients such as ‘mercurous chloride’ and ‘hydroquinone’ which can be harmful. The use of hydroquinone has been banned in Europe as this is also the case in many other countries where hydroquinone can only be prescribed by a doctor for certain skin conditions.
A test of common skin lightening creams available in Nigeria showed that they caused ‘mutations’ in bacteria and were possibly carcinogenic.
There is a growing market in skin lightening products that are toxin-free. However, they are more costly due to their expensive ingredients.
Most skin-lightening treatments which can reduce or block some amount of melanin production are aimed at inhibiting ‘tyrosinase.’ Many treatments use a combination of topical lotions or gels containing melanin-inhibiting ingredients along with a sunscreen and a prescription retinoid.
Depending on how the skin responds to these treatments, exfoliants either in the form of topical cosmetic or chemical peels and lasers may be used. There are various mechanisms described for achieving this. Inhibiting tyrosinase activity reduces the synthesis of melanin so that as existing skin cells are naturally exfoliated keratinocytes with less melanin are eventually brought to the surface, giving the skin a lighter or a more even toned complexion.
There are three stages of skin whitening. They are:
1 Pre-melanin synthesis
2 During melanin synthesis
3 Post-melanin synthesis
What can be used at this stage includes:
TRETINOIN: Research has shown that the use of ‘tretinoin’ also known as all-trans retinoic acid, can only be somewhat effective in treating skin discolorations. Users of tretinoin have to avoid sunlight as the skin can tan. Using tretinoin always makes the skin more sensitive to UVA and UVB rays.
DURING MELANIN SYNTHESIS
Process at this stage involves the usage of any of the following:
HYDROQUINONE: This is considered the primary topical ingredient for inhibiting melanin production as its components have potent antioxidant abilities.
Hydroquinone is a strong inhibitor of melanin production, meaning that it prevents dark skin from making the substance responsible for skin colour. This can disrupt the synthesis and production of melanin ‘hyperpigmentation’ and has therefore, been banned in some countries because of fears of cancer risk.
ARBUTIN: Arbutin is technically known as ‘hydroquinone-B-D-glucoside’ which can inhibit melanin production. Pure forms of arbutin are considered more potent for effective skin lightening. Arbutin and other plant extracts are considered safe alternatives to commonly used ‘depigmenting agents’ to make the skin fairer.
KOJIC ACID: This is a by-product in the fermentation process of malting rice for use in the manufacturing of ‘sake’, the Japanese rice wine. Kojic acid is an unstable ingredient in cosmetic formulations which upon exposure to air or sunlight it can turn brown and lose its efficacy.
AZELAIC ACID: This is a component of grains, such as wheat, rye and barley. It is usually applied topically in a cream formulation at a 10-20 per cent concentration. Azelaic acid is used to treat acne, but also can be effective for skin discolorations.
VITAMIN C: Vitamin C and its various forms are considered an effective antioxidant for the skin and help to lighten it as well.
GLUTATHIONE: This is a tripeptide molecule found in mammalian bodies. It is an antioxidant that plays an important role in preventing oxidative damage to the skin. Glutathione utilizes different mechanisms to exert its action as skin whitening agent at various levels of ‘melanogenesis.’ Glutathione antioxidant property allows it to inhibit melanin synthesis by quenching of free radicals and peroxides that contribute to tyrosinase activation and melanin formation. This skin whitening is available in cream, soap, lotion, nasal spray and injectable form.
CINNAMOMUM SUBAVENIUM: This is a Chinese herb and has been suggested for use as a skin whitening agent. The plant contains substances which inhibit production of tyrosinase, an enzyme which catalyses the production of melanin.
ALPHA HYDROXY ACIDS: This comes primarily in the form of ‘lactic acid’ and ‘glycolic acid’ and are the most researched forms of AHAs because they have a molecular size that allows effective penetration into the top layers of the skin.
NIACINAMDE: This is claimed to be a much safer alternative when applied topically for skin or genitalia whitening. It also promotes acne reduction, increases skin moisture and reduces wrinkles.
NATURAL AND CHEAP WAYS TO LIGHTEN THE SKIN
Dark and dull skin can be caused by over exposure to the sun, environmental pollution, a medical condition, dry skin, stress, poor lifestyle and prolonged use of chemical-based cosmetic products.
Some women save themselves the time and money by using natural remedies that will effectively brighten and lighten their skin complexions.
YOGURT: A by-product of milk, has many nutrients that are good for the skin. It also contains lactic acid that has bleaching properties and is said to be suitable for all skin types.
ORANGES: Oranges have bleaching properties that can lighten you skin tone. The most important ingredient is Vitamin C.
GRAM FLOUR: This is said to be one of the best ingredients for people who wish to lighten their skin complexion.
HONEY: Honey helps bleach skin while also acting as a moisturizing agent. It has anti-bacterial properties that can help fade age spots and acne scars.
LEMONS: The acidic property in lemons works as a natural bleaching agent for the skin and the high amount of Vitamin C in them encourages new cell growth.
ALOE VERA GEL: This can alleviate hyperpigmentation and restore your skin’s original colour. The cooling effect of aloe vera helps regenerate new cells and rebuild damaged tissue and can lighten dark spots and improve your overall skin complexion.
HARMFUL EFFECTS OF SKIN BLEACHING
Regardless of being a man or woman, everyone wants to have a flawless, even and smooth skin tone. Skin bleaching is an option to get rid of the black spots or any other type of spots on skin. But skin whitening options have become very complicated as there are plenty of options available in the market leaving the customers confused.
As good as these products are, here are some of the side effects:
1 Dark grey spots
2 Skin cancer
4 Body odour
5 Thinning of the skin
7 Increase in appetite and weight gain
9 Kidney damage: due to high level of mercury used in the cream
10 Psychiatric disorders
11 Severe birth defects
13 Liver damage
However, some of these side effects could be seen almost immediately, while some appear after prolonged use of the skin whitening creams.
SKIN BLEACHING PILLS
Effective skin whitening supplements not only help in bleaching the skin but also in solving most of the skim problems and blemishes such as freckles, uneven skin tones, dark spots, acne marks and age spots. There are those that are more effective than skin lightening creams.
However, here are the top rated best pills for improving complexion and removing dark spots and much more:
1 Gluta-C Glutathione
2 Ivory caps maximum potency
3 Met-tathione whitening pills and soap
4 BeauOxi white plus 5-in-1
5 Mosbeau placenta white advanced supplement
6 Fairtone skin lightening pills.
TYPES OF BLEACHING CREAMS
Skin bleaching has now become a common trend among Nigerian young ladies as virtually all babes crave a spotless and light skin, hence they adopt a lot of methods through which they achieve their desired complexion. Bleaching is fast becoming trendy as most ladies now see it as fashionable.
Many ladies who bleach their skin either go from dark skin to white skin or from chocolate complexion to glowing yellow complexion. It is so professionally done without leaving any traces of the old colour.
One of the reasons they bleach their skin is that they believe it enhances their beauty and makes them more attractive to men.
Here are different creams used for bleaching the skin.
1 Kamana Egyptian milk
5 Glutanova injections
6 Ebony Glow
7 Latino Oil
8 Thai White cream
9 Total Body shine
10 Crystal Body Polis Powder
11 Indian Secret Oil
12 Fair and White
13 Dermatone Cream
14 Crystal White
15 QEI+ Lotrion and Serum and much more…