(NaturalNews) Doctors in the UK were confused by symptoms presented by a woman when no reason for her weight gain, stretch or stripe marks and inability to conceive could be found. It was only after further questioning that she admitted to using a skin lightening product (1).
The product, which is illegal in the EU, was clobetasol. This is a cream containing high levels of the steroid corticosteroid. Typically this cream is prescribed for skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis, and is only to be used for up to two weeks at a time.
The UK doctors reported that the woman far exceeded the recommended usage, using two tubes of clobetasol a week for over seven years.
Such products are being increasingly used by people in a number of countries in an attempt to lighten the skin. Older people as well use skin lightening to remove age or liver spots and other skin darkening conditions.
However few people are warned of the dangers of the toxic ingredients which, as well as containing steroids, includes hydroquinone. While hydroquinone is allowed in the US by the FDA, it is banned in Europe because of the potential to cause cancer.
The list of side effects of the steroid corticosteroid is long. The most serious is Cushing's disease, a malfunction of the adrenal glands leading to an overproduction of cortisol. Other side effects include:
* increased appetite and weight gain
* deposits of fat in chest, face, upper back, and stomach
* slowed healing of wounds
* muscle weakness
* thinning of the skin
However, there are other skin
lightening creams containing equally toxic chemicals. In 2003, Dr S. Allen Counter of Harvard Medical School reported that the high levels of mercury found in people, but particularly women, from Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, West Africa, and in Tanzania in East Africa related to the use of skin lightening creams.
He states that 96% of over 300 patients in the Southwestern United States that have higher than normal mercury levels were female and all had used skin lightening products
; likewise 90% of women tested in clinics in Arizona who were Mexican-American had been using the same products (2).
Women more often try to whiten their skin and as a consequence poison their bodies. These lightening creams such as 'Crema de Belleza-Manning', which is made in Mexico, contain mercurous chloride and is easily absorbed through the skin.
Toxic levels of mercury lead
to mercury poisoning which causes neurological and kidney damage, and may also lead to psychiatric disorders. In addition, it can lead to severe birth defects.
Fairer, lighter skins is highly valued in some countries such as Asia and India. And even in countries where traditionally a tanned skin is seen as healthier, some women are using skin lightening products to achieve the flawless look of stars, such as Cate Blanchett.
Skin lightening products reduce the amount of melanin which makes the body more vulnerable to UV rays and thus to skin cancer and ageing. It is then necessary to protect your skin from the skin.
Given that chemical skin lightening has a range of serious side effects, the best advice would be to stay clear of such products and be happy to be in your skin.
About the author
Lynn Berry is passionate about personal development, natural health care, justice and spirituality. She has a website at www.lynn-berry.com