From celebs like Lil Kim, Ciara and Beyonce to Nicki Minaj and Rihanna, there’s been massive speculation that many of Hollywood’s biggest names have been pressured to bleach their beautiful melanin — in order to secure lucrative television, magazine and movie spots. While some have been dragged on social media for using skin bleach on their entire body to change their complexion, others have been awarded top prize for their glowing dermis.
Only, skin brightening and bleaching are not one in the same. According to the National Heath Servicewebsite, skin bleaching also known as “skin lightening,” is a cosmetic procedure that aims to lighten darks areas of skin or achieve a generally paler skin tone. Mainly used to treat “skin problems” such as freckles, age spots, acne scars, or discoloration related to hormones, skin bleaching products contain hydroquinone as an active ingredient, which reduces the production of concentration of melanin in the skin.
Some skin “whiteners” also contain mercury. In large doses, exposure can cause serious health problems, leaving mainly pregnant women, nursing babies and young children vulnerable. “Your family might breathe mercury vapors released from these products. Your children might touch washcloths or towels that are contaminated with mercury. It could be as simple as touching someone’s cheek or face,” Dr. Arthur Simone, a senior medical adviser at the FDA, said.
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