Fairness creams have long been accused of being discriminatory and racist, but what is a lesser known fact about the million dollar industry is that they can land you with far more serious problems.
Most creams sold in the market are a dangerous cocktail of compounds like steroids, hydroquinone, and tretinoin; the long term use of which can lead to lethal health concerns likes permanent pigmentation, skin cancer, liver damage, mercury poisoning and others.
Pakistani Market’s Beauty Creams Claim
Today, Pakistani market is full of various varieties of beauty creams. These all whitening and face beauty creams claim to be the best beauty creams at their own. Some common names are
Golden Pearl Beauty Cream
Faiza Beauty Cream
Face Fresh Beauty Cream
HoorPari Beauty Cream
Dove Beauty Cream
Royal Beauty Cream
Sandal Beauty Cream
Dr. Osman Mushir Tahir, a plastic surgeon
said that using various local creams to whiten your skin tone can be highly unsafe and can do irreversible damage to your skin.
Tahir who has qualified from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh said,
“These creams have mercury and various other chemicals in them which damages the skin badly and makes it paper-thin.”
He stressed that it is not the whitening of skin that matters, rather it is the restoration of healthy skin and evening the tone of the skin which is important.
Dr Amit Vij,
says, “Face whitening creams are harmful for all – be it man or woman. They might be in great demand for the fair look they promise but the only ones who’ve been regular in using it would know the harm that the creams have caused to their skin. That’s not to say that the person didn’t achieve his goal – of looking fair, but at what cost?”
But going by the texture of men’s skin and presuming that their fairness creams have higher quantity of bleach, are men at a higher risk of skin damage? “Like I said, these fairness creams are bad for men and women alike. And as for men, their skin is only slightly rough on the beard area, rest is as sensitive and prone to reactions.”
“The main ingredient of these fairness lotions is bleach, so you can understand how people turn fair. And it is just that, that causes all the harm.”
Dr Vij says
“The obvious side-effect is thinning of the skin. Daily use of these creams leads to the skin losing its tightness and becoming thinner in return. Growth of acne is another harm that these creams cause to the skin.”
Elaborating further, he says, “Also, most fairness cream consumers are unaware of the photosensitive reaction which these creams cause. Due to this the more exposed one is to the sun, worse one’s skin condition becomes. This would mean anything from getting pink and red rashes – the degree of which would vary from person to person to sun burns, blisters, itchiness to burning sensation, each time the person steps out in the sun.
“Such a skin, that has become photosensitive, could also lead to one having problems if he went in for any kind of packs or massage treatments, for those oils or packs could further react on the skin.”
Doctors in the UK
were confused by symptoms presented by a woman when no reason for her weight gain, stretch or stripe marks and inability to conceive could be found. It was only after further questioning that she admitted to using a skin lightening product .
The product, which is illegal in the EU, was clobetasol. This is a cream containing high levels of the steroid corticosteroid. Typically this cream is prescribed for skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis, and is only to be used for up to two weeks at a time.
The UK doctors reported that the woman far exceeded the recommended usage, using two tubes of clobetasol a week for over seven years.
Such products are being increasingly used by people in a number of countries in an attempt to lighten the skin. Older people as well use skin lightening to remove age or liver spots and other skin darkening conditions.
The list of side effects of the steroid corticosteroid is long.
The most serious is Cushing’s disease, a malfunction of the adrenal glands leading to an overproduction of cortisol. Other side effects include:
* increased appetite and weight gain
* deposits of fat in chest, face, upper back, and stomach
* slowed healing of wounds
* muscle weakness
* thinning of the skin
Main Hydroquinone Side Effects
Hydroquinone is the only skin bleaching chemical recognized by the FDA. Skin bleaching creams may have different percentages of Hydroquinone in their compound, but any skin bleaching cream with over 2% may cause side effects. The most common side effect of skin bleaching is skin irritation and a burning sensation. The itching or stinging of the skin should be mild and temporary, with some reddening of skin where cream is applied.
Allergic Reaction to Skin Bleach
Allergic reactions can occur from skin bleaching, and would result in severe burning or itching of the skin. Unlike mild skin irritation expected with application, the pain would be severe and intolerable. Crusting on the skin could appear, as well as swelling of areas where skin bleach has been applied. Allergic contact dermatitis is the medical term used to describe allergic reactions to material in contact with skin. (See Resources.) The allergic reaction would warrant stopping the use of skin bleaching creams immediately, and seeking medical attention if reaction is severe. With allergic contact dermatitis, the allergy should settle down a few days after skin is no longer in contact with skin bleach cream.
Mercury Side Effects
Skin bleaching creams containing mercury should not be used for long periods of time. Mercury can cause poisoning, and mercury in creams can start accumulating in the cells of the body. Too much mercury exposure, or poisoning, can lead to liver damage and kidney failure.
Sun Ray Exposure
Skin bleaching creams take time for full effects and to see results. Hydroquinone and mercury cause skin to be hyper-sensitive to sun rays. Stay out of the sun after skin bleach cream is applied, or wear protective clothing and use an SPF 15+ sunscreen when outdoors. Tanning beds or any type of sun lamps should be avoided during this time.
Benzoyl peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, or other peroxide products should not be used with skin bleaching creams, especially when using hydroquinone. The combination of hydroquinone and peroxide can cause temporary dark staining of the skin.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Skin bleaching is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding. The cream can get into the mother’s bloodstream and travel to the fetus.
Proper use of skin bleaching creams is extremely important, and directions should be followed carefully at all times. Skin bleaching creams should be used temporarily, for no longer than four weeks. Large skin areas, such as the entire face, should not be bleached at once due to the possibility of skin discoloration. Bleaching cream should be applied only to spots that need to be removed or lightened.
Use of Batnovate c
Atrophy or Striase
Formula cream in Pakistan for skin whitening contains Betnovate – a steroid and gives side effect like acne or pimples
Best way to acquire a fair skin
the best way to acquire a fair skin is “by doing away with the pigmentation,” advises Dr Vij. “Fairness creams only hide them, but that’s definitely not a permanent treatment and that’s the reason why people are tempted to use them regularly. It’s important that people realise that bleach can never avoid photosensitivity, which is a big problem once one is struck with it.”
So as a piece of another advice, Dr Vij adds, “All fairness creams are bad, period. Therefore, it’s advisable to keep away from them completely. However, to avoid tanning and dry skin, go for sunscreens, moisturisers and homemade packs as they are more effective and come with no side-effects whatsoever.”
Home Made Best Whitening Cream
Turmeric powder – 10g
Medicated ubtan – 10g
Baal jharr – 10g
Liquorice – 5g
Orange skin – 10g
Husne yousaf – 10g
Milk – as required
Kewra water – as required
Rose water – as required
Mix all ingredients in rose water or kewra or milk, it’s your choice, and apply this cream at night and wash next day with rose water. Your face will clear and your colour complexion will fair
Love your skin and Treat it Well. Keep Smilling & Be Happy With your natural look.
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