A Lighter Shade of Dark
Looking good has never been more important and beauty products are a major source of income in most countries today. For one reason or another, people are particularly keen to purchase skin lightening products ” either to lighten a dark complexion or to eliminate pigmentation marks.
Those pallid European ladies of yesteryear used fresh lemon juice to keep their skins white. Whether this had anything to do with skin lightner or not it is difficult to tell, but lemon is noted for its astringent and antiseptic qualities so they certainly had no need to worry about blackheads!
For skin whitening products to work the skin whitener has to be fairly strong. The way these skin lightner agents work is by inhibiting melanin. There are only three chemicals able to work effectively as a skin lightener: these chemicals are Mercury, Hydroquinone and Kajoic Acid, all of which are highly toxic.
The ingridients of skin lightening creams that known to have effect are Mercury and Hydroquninone and, more recently, Kojic Acid. Hydroquinone has been forbidden in the UK since 2001 while Mercury has been illegal since 1978.
Despite this, illegal imports are still turning up in shops in the UK, with skin whitening cream, skin whitening lotion and other skin whitening products such as soap, containing as much as 6% each of banned substances.
The newer Kojic Acid, which also prevents melanin being produced, is even more highly toxic than the substances long since banned. Its skin lightening effect comes at a price: it is well known as a carcinogen and damages tissues in the deeper levels of the skin. Up to 74% of many skin products now contain at least 7 hazardous toxins including mutagens that are known precursors to cancer and teratogens that can cause birth defects. Is lightening your skin so very important that this is worth the risk?