Did you know that originally, the role of skin bleaching was creating uniform tone in persons with hyper pigmentation, moles and birthmarks on their skin? The chemical process is alternatively called skin lightening or whitening. It has become a controversial topic because today, dark-skinned people, such as the pop king Michael Jackson do it for beauty purposes.

The burning question is: is skin lightening safe? The answers are yes and no. Find out why below.

Why Yes

The only skin bleaching product with the least side-effects known is Arbutin. The product is an extract from bearberry and mulberry plants. In most cases, it is termed a natural skin whitening product. Arbutin works by inhibiting the production of melanin, the chemical responsible for darkening of the skin. To this day, there are no extreme side-effects of using it recorded.

Why No

One of the common problems of bleaching is that the chemicals used cause the skin to grow thinner over time. Thin skin is prone to injury, entry of pathogens and penetration by harmful UV light.

Second, skin bleaching causes pigmentation in the eye area. Thus, instead of lightening the entire face, it causes the area around the eyes to grow darker. This creates a weird look.

Third, one of the most common bleaching agents, hydroquinone, is known to encourage the growth of cancer cells. This is contrary to cosmeticians referring to it as safe because rather than alter the skin tone, it inhibits the secretion of melanin. France is one country where hydroquinone remains banned.

Fourth, bleaching has in some cases left permanent white spots on the skin of users. This occurs due to allergic reactions. The problem is that such spots are permanent. Conducting a patch test may prevent this.

Sodium hypochlorite is a chemical contained in most skin bleaching products. It has a history of leading to skin breakouts after bleaching. Victims of its use report skin breakout after exposure to direct sunlight. Other effects include pigmentation and severe irritation.

Finally, the introduction of too many chemicals into the body through the skin poses future risks. Bleaching agents contain chemicals such as calcium hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite, dithionate, sodium and hydrogen peroxide amongst others. Most of these chemicals are unnecessary in the body and will be viewed as poisons once inside. In the long run, they may lead to multiple health complications.