Whitening products might be able to whiten skin complexion, yet they can have negative impacts on your overall health.
Many local and imported cosmetic products that are used to whiten the skin are being sold across Cambodia. These can include skin care products, pills, collagen and multivitamin supplements.
A study from the National Institute of Health (NIH), a biomedical and public health research centre, defines a whitening product as a “cosmetic product that is used to reduce darkness and melanin in the skin.” Melanin, produced as a response to protect against UV radiation, is a natural pigment found in the skin, hair and eyes.
However, if people do not understand the ingredients used inside cosmetic products, they risk potentially doing damage to their overall health. Products containing mercury and hydroquinone can lessen skin layers, cause skin cancer, damage kidneys, lungs and the nervous system. If women use the products during pregnancy, it can negatively affect them and their unborn child.
It is difficult to completely eliminate the use of whitening products; however, people would be wise to select the products carefully, focusing on the standard and quality of the products, in order to safeguard their health.
Health experts’ recommendations on whitening products in order to minimise risk to your health:
- Discuss with an expert before using a whitening product to gain understanding of the risks and ingredients.
- Avoid products containing mercury, as it can pose a danger to your health. Some whitening products also contain chemicals such as steroids, BHT and BHA, dioxane, which can destroy skin cells.
- Avoid products with over 2% of hydroquinone and without a label.
- Check the expiry date (less than 3 years) of the products before usage.
- Understand the effects of the normally safe ingredients, such as: Kojic acid, Vitamin C, Niacinamide, Glutathione, Azelaic acid, Glycolic acid, Linoleic acid, paper mulberry, and liquorice
- Try to consume more fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin B, C, D, E, K – as opposed to relying on supplements
- Consult with experts when you react badly to a product, such as experiencing headache, rashes, and itchiness
A study, conducted by the European Code Against Cancer (ECAC), an initiative by the European Commission that focuses on cancer research and prevention, found that whitening products can have negative impacts on health and can be potentially life-threatening. The study also indicated that whitening products are designed to keep consumers purchasing. Meaning, if you stop using the product over a period of time, your skin can get darker and more unhealthy – creating a vicious cycle. The use of whitening products is not always problematic, but consumers need to be cautious and wary of what they are using on their skin.
This post is also available in: KH