Dr Bav Shergill, Consultant Dermatologist and Trustee at the British Skin Foundation gives his advice about the use of harmful banned skin lightening products.
“Many illegal skin lightening beauty products promise to lighten dark blemishes and make complexions fairer, though people should be aware that there are dangers associated with use of these products.
Personal recommendations by a friend or relative are certainly not the same as having something prescribed to you by a expert doctor who can advise you on how to minimise the risks associated with a product.
Side effects of skin lightening products
In terms of the possible side effects of using skin lightening products that contain mercury, these include increased pigmentation, foetal abnormalities if used during pregnancy, and severe itchy rashes. In high doses, they can also cause psychological damage.
Skin lightening that contain high-dose steroids can lead to permanent skin bleaching, thinning of skin and development of visible blood vessels, known as telangiectasia.
What’s more, the colour loss on the skin may not be even resulting in a patchy effect. Hydroquinone can cause intense irritation, uneven bleaching of the skin and a distressing condition called cutaneous ochronosis, which is a bluish black discoloration of the skin.
Bear in mind that products that contain these ingredients are banned for a reason. The negative side effects can have a huge emotional impact on the user, so it is important to discuss any issues or concerns you have about skin tone with your GP.”