The idea of lightening and whitening skin tones has been prevailing for centuries. The idealogy of looking whiter has existed since Queen Elizabeth I’s time, as we know of her fatal lead makeup for the ‘white’ look. 

The perception and the harm

The gimmick that human skin of any tone could be made white has a huge market. The belief created in the minds of consumers about getting rid of melanin paves the way for producing such whitening products. The pre-set beauty standards, and the mindset of people corresponding to them, lead to the repercussions of the products. These skin whitening products are not toxic for perception but also physically toxic. 

The ingredients that apparently work for whitening the skin can also have hazardous impacts. Skin-whitening products can be in the form of face creams, face wash, masks, moisturizers, soaps, facewashes, and even skincare. Most of these products, in any form, might have ingredients like mercury and hydroquinone that can cause more harm than good to the skin. Answering, is skin whitening FDA-approved? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the use of skin-whitening products with mercury. The sale of skin-whitening products with hydroquinone can be only under prescription, and such a sale is not FDA-approved.

Skin lightening creams’ side effects

The whitening products usually claim to deal with the complexion and uneven skin tone, but the unclaimed effects of using a skin whitening product can include:

  • Rashes: The ingredients can be harsh on the skin and can irritate the skin, leading to rashes.
  • Swelling: The hydroquinone in these products can aggravate the skin and lead to swelling.
  • Discoloration: The chemicals in these products can interfere with the skin form and cause inflammation, leading to discoloration, which can be retrieved or, in some cases, permanent.
  • Damage to organs: The mercury that is present in the whitening products is highly toxic and can have an impact on the functioning of kidneys, liver, digestive systems, and the performance of the organs. 
  • Visible skin vessels: With time, the products used on the skin surface and the ingredients can lead to visible skin vessels and nerves due to thinning of the skin.
  • Impact on the fetus: The products used during pregnancy that contain such harmful ingredients can impact the fetus in the womb.

Deposition of these toxic substances on the skin surface can lead to these side effects over time. 

The products have escalated to skin treatments and lasers to attain a fair skin tone. The widely used method is skin creams, masks, and other skin whitening products. The promised results and the advertisements for skin whitening products endorse fair skin as beauty and how one needs it. 

Do not be a consumer: FDA says

  • Do not purchase products that have mercury or hydroquinone in them. It can lead to several damages to the skin and the body.
  • Mercury can be present in the combinations of mercurous chloride, calomel, mercuric, Mercurio, or Hg.
  • Products that do not list the ingredients.
  • Products with an ingredient list that is not legitimate or handwritten should not be purchased. 

If products contain any of the mentioned, they will fall under the list of banned skin-lightening creams.

The mental and physical

The need to take care of your skin and to keep it healthy is an absolute need.  But altering the level of melanin the skin carries can have several consequences. The more melanin you have, the better your skin can shield. Products with their ultimatum as a lighter complexion can take a toll on the person mentally and physically. 

FDA skin facts

The FDA skin facts were after the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed becoming a law. The FDA’s skin facts focus on educating people about the harmful side effects of using products containing hydroquinone and mercury. The initiatives taken hope to bring awareness to the long-term effects these ingredients and products can have, some of which can also be irreversible. 

This blog hopes to bring awareness among people about the harmful effects of skin-whitening products. Please be mindful, read the ingredients list, and consult a healthcare provider before using any products.