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What problems can skin lightening cause?

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Long-term use can lead to premature aging and may raise your risk of skin cancer.

Steroids in some skin lighteners may make you more likely to have skin infections, skin thinning, acne, and poor wound healing. Applying steroids to large areas of skin means they'll be absorbed by the body and could cause other side effects.

Hydroquinone may give you unwanted and untreatable skin discoloration.

Various bleaching agents, including natural ingredients, can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction.

From: Skin Lightening Treatments WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Palomar College: "Skin Color Adaptation."

AcneNet: "Skin Color Changes: Spots May Fade With Right Treatment."

AgingSkinNet: "Age Spots."

Dermalogica: "Your Skin: What Causes Uneven Skin Tone?"

Georgia State University College of Arts and Sciences: "Researcher Investigates Reasons Behind Skin Bleaching With Dangerous Chemicals in Tanzania."

Minnesota Department of Health: Skin-Lightening Products Found to Contain Mercury" and "Stop Using Skin Lightening Products Containing Mercury: Health Alert for the General Public."

WHO: "Mercury in Skin Lightening Products."

Cleveland Clinic: "Understanding the Ingredients in Skin Care Products."

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on March 6, 2019

SOURCES:

Palomar College: "Skin Color Adaptation."

AcneNet: "Skin Color Changes: Spots May Fade With Right Treatment."

AgingSkinNet: "Age Spots."

Dermalogica: "Your Skin: What Causes Uneven Skin Tone?"

Georgia State University College of Arts and Sciences: "Researcher Investigates Reasons Behind Skin Bleaching With Dangerous Chemicals in Tanzania."

Minnesota Department of Health: Skin-Lightening Products Found to Contain Mercury" and "Stop Using Skin Lightening Products Containing Mercury: Health Alert for the General Public."

WHO: "Mercury in Skin Lightening Products."

Cleveland Clinic: "Understanding the Ingredients in Skin Care Products."

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on March 6, 2019

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What should you check on the label on skin lightening products?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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