Posts Tagged ‘Skin whitening’
Is Using Hydroquinone Safe or Dangerous?
Using Hydroquinone 4% or HQ4 to gradually lighten skin had always been a hot topic – there are those who say it’s totally unsafe, and there are those who swear by their HQ. I think the best way to make a decision is to be informed. I’m going to lay out the facts about HQ and hopefully it will make you make an informed decision about whether or not to use Hydroquinone.
Sammy Sosa Before and After Skin Bleaching.
Fact 1: Hydroquinone 4% is SAFE to use and is Non-Cancerous
HQ 4% might cause redness or irritation, but only if you are allergic to it. There will always be someone who is allergic to HQ, just like there will always be someone allergic to aspirin, or nut products or even the sweat that their own body produces (me). Taken from Dr. Susan Taylor in her book Brown Skin.
The application of Hydroquinone on skin is in standard product concentrations is NOT harmful to humans. The use of hydroquinone in murine (mice) led to an actual decrease in murine hepatocellular carcinomas (cancerous liver tumors) but an increase in hepatic adenomas (benign liver tumors), suggesting protective effects of hydroquinone. The report also states that murine renal (kidney) tumors caused by use of hydroquinone do not appear relevant to humans after decades of widespread use, and murine leukemia has not been reproducible and would not be expected from small topical doses in humans as well. Taken from Dr.Jacob Levitt M.D, 2006 Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology,
There are over 100 scientific articles confirming topical Hydroquinone is safe for humans and no independent studies have proven otherwise. Taken from Dr. David J. Goldberg, clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Fact 2: Most reported cases of so-called Hydroquinone horror stories are usually caused by human error.
The safest dose of hydroquinone is at 4% applied topically. Some users, in a desperate attempt to make themselves fairer, use dosages of up to 20% hydroquinone. This would of course cause a skin reaction.
There are people who would actually experience skin darkening when using HQ. This could be due sun exposure on areas exposed to HQ. If you are going to lighten your skin 4-5 shades lighter with HQ, you would need to protect your skin with at least an SPF50 at all times, and minimize sun exposure. This is a fact. If you don’t think you can avoid the sun and use sun protection religiously, don’t use HQ.
In some places, unscrupulous sellers would add mercury and steroids to HQ, without putting in on the label (if there is one). When victims suffer from a toxic reaction to these poisons, they would of course blame HQ. It is extremely important to get Hydroquinone from reputable sources only.
Anyway, I am neither an advocate or opponent of skin whitening. Some people like to tan, some people like to get lighter. It’s a personal choice. But whatever your preference is – safety should be your no.1 concern.
Who Really Owns SkinWhitening.org?
I know I’ve been posting a bit too much about skin whitening lately. Trust me, I’m not obsessed about skin whitening (anymore) as I’ve pretty much resolved my skin issues a few years back but I came across this particular website thanks to a reader who asked me about the product recommendations on said site.
So I went to the site and it looked legit enough on the surface. However, I have a few issues with the site that I hope someone from the site would care to comment on.
Issue 1: Their Free “Skin Lightening Report” is badly written and inaccurate.
This ebook was obviously ghostwritten by someone who does not speak English as a primary tongue and was poorly researched/edited. Clumsy sentence constructions abound and inaccurate/unsupported facts can be found liberally in this ebook. There are too many to list but one particular claim really got to me:
…anal bleaching is opted by many women to de-pigment the darken [sic] area around the anus, due to careless hygiene of women.
Really? Are you saying that the large majority of women who are plagued with pigmentation in the area surrounding their private areas are just dirty? Please. This poorly written book undermines the legitimacy of Skincare.org and the product reviews and recommendations that they give.
Issue 2: No Background Information on Site Owners.
Clumsy sentences and inaccurate facts aside, I also find it really weird I can find no background information or short biographical information on “Melanie” and “Kelly” , the two cosmetic scientists who are the supposed owners of the site. Not even their last names are listed here. Which is really strange don’t you think?
Issue 3: Unsubstantiated Media Claims.
Furthermore, the site claims to have been featured on Esquire, USA Today, Yahoo! and InformationWeek etc, but I can find no such media clippings on the site or on the web to back up the claims. Don’t you think it’s weird for a website to claim to have been in the media yet deciding to omit posting said media clippings on its website?
Anyway, I have written to Skincare.org asking them about the issues above. If they do respond, I’ll be sure to update this post – but until then, it’s still caveat emptor for you guys who are going to trust Skincare.org product reviews/recommendations since I can’t really verify the history or background of the owners.
Reader Question: What Are Effective Ways To Whiten Skin Using Methods Other Than Injections?
About a couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a reader asking me how to whiten her Fitzpatrick IV skin to Fitzpatrick II. To know more about the Fitzpatrick scale please click here.
I’m actually working on an ebook right now about skin lightening and hyperpigmentation, and I hope to get that out ASAP but until then here’s a brief guideline on how to lighten your skin safely and effectively:
Step 1: Always Wear Sunscreen
The No.1 cause of skin darkening is UV rays. So the FIRST thing you have got to do is invest in at least an SPF30 sunscreen. I use Neutrogena’s sunscreen in SPF30 on my body and SPF50 on my face everyday. Do not skip sunblock ever. You need to stop melanin production in your skin to start lightening. Furthermore, if you lighten your skin using products and you don’t wear sunscreen, you are going to negate the effectiveness of your skin lightening cream. You must use sunscreen/sunblock that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.
Step 2: Exfoliate Your Skin
Stopping melanin production is one thing, but now you have to reverse the darkening that has happened so you need to exfoliate your skin. Skin darkening will happen to anyone who is a Fitzpatrick II onwards who have spent time in the sun without sunscreen (which is everyone who grew up where the sun shines) Here’s a big tip on how to exfoliate – stop using skin scrubs or that loofah. Manual exfoliation doesn’t really do anything other than scrub the top most layer of skin – and frankly it can be abrasive. Invest in chemical based exfoliators – i.e those that contain AHAs or BHAs. I’m a big fan of chemical exfoliators because they not only exfoliate to the deeper levels of the epidermis (where melanin is produced) effectively yet gently, but they also rebuild the collagen bundles in your skin resulting in firmer skin. My favourite all over body exfoliator is a product called Carotein Cream. This is by far, is the most effective (and affordable) exfoliating cream in the market. And it works. I have really dark South Indian friends who managed to lighten 4 shades using this cream alone. Another method of exfoliation is using chemical peels. You can actually peel your skin at home using at-home peels. My favorite at home peel is a Lactic Acid peel which comes in concentrations of 30% to 80%.
Step 3: Suppressing melanin production
If you have been dilligently following Steps 1 & 2, chances are after about 6 weeks, you should notice a lightening of your skin of up to two shades lighter. It won’t happen over night because your skin takes about 4-6 weeks to completely renew itself. However, if you really want to amp it up you can try skin lightening creams such as those that contain hydroquinone (no more than 4%) , kojic acid or arbutin. And some of you might ask- isn’t HQ dangerous? the short answer is No. HQ is dangerous in high concentrations. I don’t recommend anyone to use it at concentrations higher than 4% HQ. If you have started with Step 1 and Step 2, 4% HQ is more than sufficient for skin lightening.
Note: Skin lightening is actually a very lengthy and complicated topic and I’m sorry that my time management skills are so horrible right now I can’t finish the ebook on time. FYI, I was a Fitzpatrick IV and now I’m a Fitzpatrick II. To get effective (and affordable products for skin lightening is possible but you really need to do your research. After about a decade of trial and error, I’ve managed to find great products (which I will discuss in the ebook).
Hope this helps : )
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