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Skin Lightening: Contents, Causes and Effects

A bleached skin with disorderliness

A bleached skin with disorderliness


In life, some men and women are not happy the way nature made them. Because of this reason they work hard to tell nature (God) that He made a mistake in their skin color when He was creating them, and that pushed them into the consumption of bleaching, whitening or body lightening creams. On daily basis, the number of people that dive into bleaching is of high increase.

What is bleaching? Bleaching is the process of whitening or lightening any material by the use of chemicals. It is not all chemicals can bleach but specific ones. During bleaching process, care is taking because excessive use of any chemical with higher content of any ingredients could be harmful.

What is skin bleaching, skin lightening or skin whitening? Skin bleaching is defined as the practice of using chemicals to lighten skin tone or provide an even skin complexion by lessening the concentration of melanin in the human skin. Melanin is responsible for giving black coloring in the human skin. When skin bleaching cream is applied on the skin, the effectiveness of the pigment is hindered.

There are many skin bleaching creams used in Africa, Asia, and also in Europe. Growth in skin bleaching is more in some parts of the world like Asia, Africa and in the Middle East. The high demand of skin lightening cream in those parts of the world is because their population is mainly dark-skinned. As a result of this, many want to look like the English and hence lightening up their skin color.

In Nigeria, which is the most populous country in Africa, skin lightening among the women of the country is not new. People do not feel surprised when they notice that the woman they saw two months ago now has lightened skin. These women think that lightening their skins make them beautiful forgetting that that artificial is artificial.

It is not just all about skin lightening but also what comes after the bleaching. Yes, some turn white after bleaching their body but what of the consequences or the negative effects associated with it. Some who do not really understand the negative effects of skin bleaching before they jumped into it are blaming themselves as they do not know what to do again.

There are a number of materials or chemicals used in skin bleaching. Few among the many are:

  • Hydroquinone;
  • Lactic Acid;
  • Gel;
  • Mercury;
  • kojic acid;
  • arbutin;
  • Shea butter;
  • Topical retinoids;
  • Corticosteroids;
  • Alpha-arbutin;
  • Botanicals;
  • Niacinamide;
  • Azelaic acid;
  • magnesium ascorbyl phosphate; and
  • Sodium lactate.

Skin Lightening Creams

There are many “species” of skin lightening creams used all over the world, United States, Canada, Australia, Spain, Italy, London, China, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, and other parts. These creams are many and those that are usually purchased are the ones that are sold in that particular country. Hence, some bleaching/skin lightening creams are:

  • Illuminatural 6i
  • 2% Vitamin C Body cream with MSM
  • Dermology skin brightener
  • Obagi Nu-Derm Clear
  • Meladerm skin lightening cream
  • Lactic Acid 50% Gel peel
  • Rephase D-White
  • Hydroquinone body cream
  • Retin A Gel 0.1%
  • Revitol skin lightening cream
  • 0.5 Retinol face serum
  • 5% hydroquinone Kligman’s formula body cream

The above listed are skin lightening creams out of many sold in market places. The use of any of them is dependent on the choice of the users.

Avoiding skin bleaching

Avoiding skin bleaching

Causes of Skin Bleaching/Lightening

There are a number of reasons why people bleach their skins to become whiter than they were before. Some of the causes of skin bleaching are:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Self-hate
  • Peer group
  • Quest for beauty

Low Self-esteem

Low self-esteem has made so many people lost opportunities in life. It has made many to wander around like sheep without shepherd. It has made people to belittle themselves and hinder them from getting to the level they want to see themselves.

Many who bleach their skins today is because they see themselves as being inferior to those who naturally white skinned. Because of this reason, they began to bleach their skins to look like the white forgetting that artificial is always artificial no matter what one does. Black women that live in Europe are serious bleaching their skins forgetting that their dark skin is a gift from nature and has unique quality.


Some person hate themselves to the extent they keep asking God: why did you make me to have dark skin? It a point, they got tired and devised a means to change their skin colour through bleaching process. Self-hate has pushed many persons to take wrong decisions which landed them into troubles. When people who started using bleaching cream because they hate themselves due to their skin colour began to see the consequences of the decision they took in the past, they at times search for reasons to justify themselves.

Peer Group

There are some categories of persons that like to do certain things because their friends are doing that. Large numbers of person find themselves into the world of bleaching because their friends were into that kind of lifestyle. Some students including youths who bleach in many universities and high schools is because their friends are into that system. When they prepare for party or any social gathering, she appears odd among the other friends. The next step is joining them in the circle of bleachers.

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Quest for Beauty

The word “quest” is the search for something. Some persons are seriously searching for beauty either by hook or by crook. The large numbers who are really searching for this beauty are mainly women. Even those women that look very ugly do not even want to believe that they are ugly. Instead of using the way they are to make positive changes and impacts in their lives, they find joy in lightening their skins through bleaching.

The bad side of bleaching

The bad side of bleaching

Effects of Skin Bleaching/Lightening

What are the harms associated with skin bleaching?

It is true that some persons look good when they apply bleaching cream on their skins, but what about the consequences or adverse effects of making use of bleaching cream. There are many dangers associated with bleaching, be it face whitening or the entire skin bleaching. The negative, disadvantages or adverse effects of skin bleaching are:

  • Vulnerability to body infections
  • Stretch marks Exposure
  • Skin weakening
  • Vulnerability to injuries
  • Exposes the Veins
  • Intense Irritation
  • Redness
  • Pigmentation

Vulnerability to Body Infections

Bleaching of human skin makes the skin contents to be incomplete. Because of the incompleteness of the major contents that makes the human skin, micro-organisms can enter the human system through the skin. Skin infections can attack the skin easily because of bleaching.

There are many kinds of sicknesses that the doctors worldwide treat on daily basis in hospitals. Among the causes of some of the sicknesses is the excessive use of skin lightening creams. Some skins have been damaged beyond repair that some are not curable any longer.

Stretch Marks Exposure

Stretch marks are marks that appear on the body. The marks show due to excess fattening of the body or obesity. It also occurs during women pregnancies. When this appears on the skin of one who bleaches, it is usually “audible” because of the action of the bleaching. People easily notice stretch marks that are on the body of the person that bleaches when compared with than on the other who do not bleach.

Skin weakening

The ingredients used in manufacturing of bleaching products are harmful to human skin. Because of this, they weaken the skin. Many women have lost their lives during surgical operations because of bleaching. The bleaching products they use on their skins makes their skins to tear during the stitching process. When the doctor tries over and over again and got tired, the women lost their lives.

Vulnerability to injuries

A bleached body is prone to injuries. When the body is bleached, the skin becomes softer than it was before. Because of this softness, any little object that mistakenly hits on the skin can cause injury to it. Skin bleaching is one of the causes of unemployment among some persons because they continue to look for jobs that will suit their skins and prevent them from sustaining injuries.

Exposes the Veins

Beyond any doubt, another effect of skin bleaching/whitening is exposing of the veins in the body. When bleachers look at their body and see something of this nature, they sometimes feel bad. Exposing of the veins make cream bleaching users to look disorganized.

Intense Irritation

Some bleaching products irritate. In the other words, there are many skin lightening creams that do not give comfort to the skin. Those who apply them keep on being disturbed mostly during hot weather until they take their bathe. When the person sweats, there is usually reaction between the salt in the sweat and the ingredients in the bleaching products which make the one that applied any of the products uncomfortable.


No skin is made naturally red, but as a result of skin bleaching, some skins have turned red. The application of bleaching cream on the skin on the long run can result to skin redness.


Making effort to make your skin beautiful is not bad but destroying it in the course of doing so is irrational. Pigmentation simply implies colouring. Long time use of bleaching products can lead to pigmentation increasing to the joints of the fingers, buttocks, toes and even on the ears. The use of such products has made some people’s skin have many patches. Skin pigmentation disorders the colour of human skin. The reason is because bleaching creams/products destroy the melanin in the skin.


It is better for one to save himself the agony of suffering during the old as a result of skin lightening effect. Skin lightening has ended many lives, yet people are still lightening their skins because of the feeling of low self-esteem.

This topic has done justice to skin bleaching or skin whitening as some people named it. The piece centred on skin bleaching ingredients, bleaching creams, causes of bleaching, and the adverse effects of bleaching. These are detailed out to the understanding of the readers. More importantly, the adverse effects of making use of beaching products were stressed.


Ericia eric on February 04, 2018:

Bleaching is very harmful and very dangerous

Uzochukwu Mike on April 02, 2015:

Please I do not have much information on whether the use of natural remedies is nice to the human skin or not. All I know is that skin lightening is bad.

Sassy from Phc on March 30, 2015:

But ...hope to use natural remedies for skin lightening eg orange,papaya and lemon juice are nice and can't be harmful to the skin?

Okwuagbala Uzochukwu Mike P (author) from Anambra State, Nigeria on February 17, 2015:

Yes you are right but skin bleaching in its totality is bad.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 17, 2015:

Only michael jackson was successful in skin bleaching

Okwuagbala Uzochukwu Mike P (author) from Anambra State, Nigeria on January 23, 2015:

Thanks DDE for your understanding. Many started without knowing the side effects and continued to blame themselves in future.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 23, 2015:

Informative and very useful on skin lightning. Many women prefer to bleach their skin and don't realize how unsafe it is.

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