There tends to be an element of confusion about the differences between bleaching and whitening the skin. Though both are used for correcting skin pigmentation issues, the reasons for whitening or bleaching the skin may vary depending on the results you aim to achieve. So it is essential that we understand the differences, enabling us to avoid disappointment by obtaining the right product in a sometimes unscrupulous market.
The desire to whiten or bleach the skin has reached mammoth proportions throughout many parts of the world. The underlying issues surrounding skin bleaching or whitening are generally associated with perceptions of beauty and to increase self-confidence. Some users however have not recognised that there is a difference between whitening and bleaching the skin.
A skin whitening product is usually suitable for treating hyperpigmentation issues such as freckles, or dark spots, or it may be used to even the skin tone or brighten the skin. Skin whitening products tend to be milder, than products designed for the complete de-pigmentation of the skin. This is because the bleaching agent designed to transform very dark skin has to be more aggressive to inhibit melanin production which is present in larger quantities in people with darker skin.
The recent controversy surrounding the proliferation of skin bleaching in India and more recently in Thailand, has raised alarm around the safety of products used to lighten or bleach intimate and sensitive areas such as the, armpits, vagina, and the anus. Even in countries like the U.S. and the UK where regulatory agencies exist, harmful creams and soaps are sold illegally.
Because the most harmful bleaching products tend to be inexpensive, and promise to give results fast, they are purchased with little or no regard for the long-term damage they may cause. Some consumers actually refuse to consider purchasing bleaching creams that do not contain hydroquinone.
This has resulted in many doctors reporting high levels of burning and scarring among patients using toxic and inexpensive products containing hydroquinone, mercury or steroids. Toxic substances tend to be found more frequently in bleaching creams as opposed to whitening creams.
Well tested skin bleaching or whitening products rarely cause scarring and burning, so it might be a good idea to identify these products based on the market they are targeted to and your desired results. So consider your choices wisely to avoid disappointment; or worse – damage to your health and skin.
Contact your physician before using any skin whitening or bleaching product.