Should We Use Skin Whitening Creams on a Baby?
What is a Skin Whitening Cream?
Creams that lighten and bleach the skin are known as skin-lightening products. To reduce melanin levels, they target skin cells. Skin cells create the pigment melanin. It controls whether our skin appears bright or dark. Products for whitening the skin can be found as creams, lotions, oils, and serums.
How does a Skin Whitening Cream Work?
Ingredients in skin-lightening lotions act to reduce your body's synthesis of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. They are referred to as "skin whitening" or "skin bleaching" lotions for this reason. Melanocytes are the cells that produce melanin. Bleaching products operate by reducing the number of melanocytes in your skin.
Known to reduce melanocytes, hydroquinone is a common ingredient in skin-lightening treatments.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is frequently found in skin-lightening treatments and is believed to reduce the synthesis of melanin in our cells.
A common ingredient in skin-brightening products, glycolic acid serves as an exfoliator. By getting rid of dead skin cells, it aids in brightening the skin.
Retinoids, products derived from vitamin A, can also be used to lighten dark spots. They work by speeding up the turnover of surface skin cells. They can include retinol, adapalene gel, tazarotene, and tretinoin.
Sometimes, these creams also have retinoids, which are vitamin A-derived compounds, to fade dark spots. They function by accelerating the skin's surface cell turnover. Retinol, adapalene gel, tazarotene, and tretinoin are some examples of retinoids.
Supposed Benefits of Using a Skin-Whitening Cream
Skin-brightening creams, sometimes referred to as skin-lightening creams, are made to make skin appear lighter. The creams are frequently used to treat specific dark skin patches like age spots or acne scars. They are occasionally used to make the skin look lighter overall.
Why Shouldn’t Skin Whitening Creams be Used?
These creams can have adverse effects even though they can be prescribed for particular skin disorders. Particularly with over-the-counter creams that might not have undergone safety testing, the hazards can be severe.
Lightening creams are applied under a dermatologist's supervision to treat particular skin issues. However, some people also frequently employ lotions to generally brighten skin tone. Children are particularly at risk from this practice.
There are two issues with skin lighteners.
First, the substances used to lighten skin have been connected to health issues. Many skin-lightening products contain hydroquinone as their main active ingredient (including those available by prescription). Ochronosis, or a dark bluish skin darkening, has been associated with hydroquinone use. Additionally, the FDA is looking into it since it might be a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent).
Over-the-counter (OTC) skin lighteners are risky. The FDA issued a consumer notice in November 2015 informing consumers that at least seven states had reported finding mercury in skin-lightening lotions. The neurological system and the kidneys might suffer harm from mercury exposure. Mercury exposure can impede brain development in very young children (including unborn babies). The warning claims that even if the cream isn't applied directly to the child's skin, mercury can still harm the health of kids living in the same household as the adults using it.
Prescribe International published an evaluation of various research involving thousands of patients in a 2011 article. They came to the conclusion that applying skin lighteners often across sizable portions of the body could result in permanent skin issues and raise the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and other illnesses.
Due to the differences in their bodies from adults, children are more at risk. The skin of a baby is thinner. It can allow more of what is on their skin to enter their bloodstream. Because the barrier between their nervous system and brain is still developing, agents in their blood have a higher chance of entering those systems (the blood-brain barrier).