Ask Your Doctor: SKIN BLEACHING

anguillian
By anguillian December 18, 2017 11:50 Updated

 

 

 

Skin lightening has recently become a popular trend in many countries, including Anguilla. There are many ways individuals use to lighten their complexion, but there are many dangers associated with some products that are available on the black market.
Why is skin lightening so trendy in Anguilla?
In recent years, skin bleaching has become very popular in Anguilla. The exact cause for this phenomenon is not known. Is it a remnant of slavery? Is it a matter of poor self-esteem? Some individuals still think the lighter the skin the better their chances for advancement. Some people mistakenly feel lighter skin is also associated with privilege. Some individuals, especially women, have the perception that the fairer you are, the more likely one is to become successful socially, economically and romantically. There is no evidence of this.
A few individuals use lightening products for medical reasons, for instance, discolouration, or dark spots or following skin burns. It should be pointed out, that there is never a good reason to make your skin susceptible to illness or to risk its natural beauty.
Dangers of skin bleaching
The practice of skin bleaching can be extremely dangerous as it can lead to various chronic health issues, as toxic chemicals are introduced into the skin and bloodstream. Some of the products used are known to be toxic to the body. One typical example is the drug hydroquinone – a popular bleaching agent that has been implicated in several cancers and blood-related problems. Skin bleaching can cause the growth of funguses and bacteria. The possibility of skin cancer associated with the use of these products needs further research.

Products used to lighten skin
The extent to which people will go to get lighter skin is shocking. There are many creams and lotions available for lightening the skin. Some individuals use a variety of concoctions with known serious side effects. Some even use ingredients which they know contain harmful ingredients. In Anguilla, a few individuals actually use household bleach to lighten their skin. Some even use it on their children’s skin as well.
Education
There must be a well-organized campaign to combat the increasing use of dangerous skin lightening products. This must involve various agencies as it is not just a health problem.
Conclusion
In recent years there appears to be a new trend in many countries, including Anguilla, of using a variety of ingredients to lighten the skin. Some of these ingredients are extremely dangerous and can pose serious health risks. Individuals using these products must be aware of the side-effects and resist using these products even if they have short term benefits. We must continue our efforts to educate the public on the harmful effects of skin lightening. All of us should be proud of our natural skin colour and tone.
Ask Your Doctor is a health education column and is not a substitute for medical advice from your physician. The reader should consult his or her physician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field are ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.
Dr Brett Hodge MB BS DGO MRCOG, is an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist and Family Doctor who has over thirty-two years in clinical practice. Dr Hodge has a medical practice in in The Valley (Tel: 264 4975828).

-Press Release
(Published without editing by The Anguillian newspaper.)

anguillian
By anguillian December 18, 2017 11:50 Updated

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