Skin Whitening Dangers Skin Whitening Dangers | Skin Lightening Cautions | How to find safe natural skin whitening products Skin whitening and skin lightening products are extremely popular across Asia and among people who have an Asian heritage, with tens of millions of dollars being spent on various skin whitening creams, lotions, and other products. Historically there have been natural skin whitening products and recipes using ingredients like turmeric and other natural skin whitening herbs, and these feature prominently in Thai Traditional Medicine, for example. But in previous generations these natural skin whitening secrets were very much limited by cost and availabiluty to the wealthy in society. The current popularity of skin whitening and skin lightening products is a very recent phenomenon, really going back no further than the 1970’s when the first whitening and brightening products were mass marketed in Asia – with resounding success. But more recently some scientists have started to share concerns that there may be unexpected implications of this more widespread use of products that interrupt the natural production of the skin pigment melanin – resulting in skin that is more pale than the normal tone, and these concerns come in four ways. Products that retard skin pigmentation – safety and possible long term implications With the growing recognition the skin is in fact an organ and a pathway into the bloodstream, some people have begun to question whether there is enough evidence to be sure skin whitening products are truly safe. Seldom does a relatively new product category get such a level of usage, and all occurring within the past few decades. What if there were long term health implications that didn’t start appearing for 20 or 30 years – or were only evident in later generations? While this is not a likely situation, it is a concern that has some validity. ‘Natural’ and ‘Organic’ terms are used loosely The terms “natural” and “organic” often don’t mean what consumers think they mean when choosing a product. Definitions for words like ‘natural’ are very wide and a consumer may purchase a product/brand that includes words like ‘Organic’ with images that strongly align with a ‘natural’ positioning – but very few such products are free of artificial chemicals. Just because a product says ‘natural’ doesn’t mean 100% natural – in theory it may only contain small amounts of natural ingredients. Just because it is natural doesn’t mean it is always safe Even if a product is completely – or almost completely – natural, doesn’t automatically make it safe. There are many natural ingredients that are deadly – and many artificial ingredients to all purposes benign – so despite popular sentiment “natural” should not be seen as automatically being “good for you”. Products interfering with natural skin pigmentation result in greater sensitivity to UV damage One issue often overlooked is the fact that – as the law of unintended consequences would suggest – unless the user of skin whitening products takes particular care, they run the risk of causing their skin to age more rapidly – and the result could be that in achieving the goal of lightening their skin tone, they fail badly in their other aim which is not to look prematurely old. The reason is simple: UV radiation (sunlight – even on a cloudy day) is the primary reason for skin damage and skin aging. Skin whitening and lightening treatments and products inhibit the natural production of the skin pigment melanin, which causes the skin to darken. Melanin is produced naturally as a means of protecting the skin from excessive UV damage (which is why regular exposure to the sun gives you a tan – it’s the skin’s way of protecting itself from damage). Use skin whitening products and change nothing else in your daily routine and because you have neutralised the body’s natural defense against UV damage, it’s likely you will have a greater level of skin damage, premature aging, and even risk of cancer. At very least you may find as many people do that for some strange reason their colour returns very quickly – even after a day or two on vacation spending time outdoors. Why should this be a surprise? How to reduce your risks when using skin whitening / lightening products If you want to reduce your level of risk, and the solution of simply not using skin whitening products as much doesn’t appeal to you, then there are some tips that you should follow – in fact these aren’t just idle suggestions but really “must do” items. 1. Always when you are outdoors in sunlight wear a broad brimmed hat to shade your face – and don’t forget your neck and other exposed skin 2. Try to avoid going outside when the sun is high – normally 11am – 3pm; and if you do seek shade as much as possible 3. Always wear a quality UV screen on your face – even if it’ cloudy or you work indoors. There are some excellent dual-purpose moisturizing lotions and UV screen products that are produced as one application – Royal Siam’s Day Long Moisturizer SPF 100++ is an excellent example and it’s SPF100 rating is one of the highest commercially available 4. Be aware UV radiation is effective and damaging even when it is cloudy, or you are behind glass (in a car as well as building). And sunlight’s reflection off water and snow can magnify the potential UV damage 5. Be very careful when choosing what appear to be natural skin whitening products – especially if you want nothing but natural ingredients. Remember the claims ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ or similar terms do not have clearly defined meanings, and a ‘natural’ product may only have a small proportion of natural ingredients. 6. If you are comfortable with a blend of natural and synthetic ingredients – carefully managed for safety as well as efficiency – the best skin lightening cream (conveniently a single-use product) is Royal Siam’s Overnight Whitening Mask from the “Powered by Nature” range. The Overnight Whitening Mask is one of Royal Siam’s most popular products as it creates a visible difference in skin tone, elasticity and the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles in a single overnight application in most cases Don’t make skin whitening a routine activity Skin whitening or lightening may appear a very routine undertaking, particularly when products are available inexpensively from supermarkets, convenience stores and gas stations. However these products do in fact interfere with the body’s natural means of defense against UV damage – and you need to exercise care and discretion about what products to choose and how to use them. Tweet .