In various cultures around the world, skin lightening is a common practice. Ivory, porcelain-like skin is obtained through a mix of ingredients in lotions. Unfortunately, some of these ingredients have been shown to cause problems. To prevent damage to the skin, avoid the following chemicals.
- Hydroquinone – Although this product has been used for decades, recent studies have indicated some frightening side effects. Over time, using hydroquinone to lighten the skin can cause liver, skin and lung cancer. In addition, some people may be naturally allergic to this chemical.
- Alcohol – Many different skin products can cause drastic skin care problems. It dries out the skin and changes the natural pH level. Alcohol also worsens hyperpigmentation. This means that the skin will actually become darker if alcohol is used in any skin care product.
- Tretinoin – When tretinoin is used, it causes cells to reproduce and replace each other faster. This causes the pigmentation of the skin to drop. Over time, using tretinoin can make the skin thinner and itchier. It can cause flaking or dryness. This chemical will also make the skin more sensitive to harmful UV rays.
- Corticosteroids – Corticosteroids are frequently used in skin care products to help reduce inflammation. Often, this ingredient is used for conditions like dermatitis or psoriasis. When corticosteroids are used for an extended period of time, they can cause the skin to become thinner. This makes the skin far more sensitive to sunlight and can lead to steroid rosacea.
- Glycolic Acid – Over the short term, glycolic acid can be extremely effective in lightening the skin. Unfortunately, it carries many of the same risks as tretinoin. Glycolic acid causes the skin to be sensitive to UV rays. This means harsher sun burns immediately and a higher risk of skin cancer or sun spots over the course of a lifetime.