Being desperate about your looks, if not checked could lead you to do certain things to alter your complexion and well being. Skin lightening or skin whitening refers to the use of chemicals or physical treatment to lighten the
skin. Many people lighten skin because of various reasons such as to remove blemishes like dark patches, spots, birth marks, as well as beef up their self esteem. So, when they make their skin lighter, they believe it makes them more beautiful. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 77% of Nigerian women use skin lightening cream. The Lightening agents commonly in use include hydroquinone, mercury, kojic acid, corticosteroids e.t.c.
The lightening technique works by inhibiting the concentration or production of Melanin which is the agent that gives the skin its colour and protects it from the Sun. Unfortunately, most women that bleach or lighten their skin do it unknowingly when they use some products to remove some blemishes, though when they see the effect initially, they tend to continue because they like that initial result.
For instance, many people use triple action cream which contain antibiotics, antifungal and corticosteroids to remove dark spots while some use them as body cream but it is a very wrong practice as it is meant to be used to treat some specific skin conditions.
It will be good to note that skin lightening comes with dangerous health consequences which include: cancer, kidney and liver damage, skin irritation, darkening of the skin, thinning of the skin, stretch marks, visible veins, increased risk of infection.
Always read and understand the ingredients of a product before you use it or see a Dermatologist who would help you identify your skin type and advice you on the cream that is suitable for your skin. (post picture from www.Lilieshaven.files.wordpress.com)