1) Tell me about your role and what you do?
Associate Clinical Data Coordinator
2) Define the difference between bleaching and skin lighting?
Skin Lightening utilises an enzyme called Tyrosinase, which is an enzyme that helps with the production of melanin the pigment in skin and hair. Tyrosinase inhibitors an ingredient in lightening creams stop melanin production in the skin producing melanin and are therefore used to reduce hyperpigmentation.
Skin-lightening procedures work by reducing the concentration or production of melanin in the skin. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its colour and helps protect it from the sun.
(Products that contain these ingredients but are not prescribed by a doctor are banned in the UK, as they can cause serious side effects if used incorrectly.
Dermatologists prescribe skin lightening medications to treat various common cuteanous diseases that lead to unevenness or discoloration. (One of the most frequent reasons patients are prescribed skin bleaching medicines is to treat post inflammatory pigmentations that can happen to anyone)
3) Do you agree with bleaching – why?
I don’t personally agree with it, because the risks outweigh the benefits. The main risk being sun damage melanin protects us from UV rays and protects us from skin cancer but stripping the protective melanin from the skin exposes you to a lot a risk. The results are not also guaranteed.
4) Why is skin bleaching only prevalent within the Black and Asian community?
It is prevalent in Black and Asian people because we have the highest concentration of melanin, so the effects are more noticeable in us. Darker skin is considered not attractive and lighter skin shades attractive, therefore people want to match societal beauty standards.
5) What do bleaching creams contain?
Hydroquinone which is used as a topical cream for lightening.
Corticosteroids (steroid medication), such as hydrocortisone.
6) What are the implications of the chemical on the skin?
- Possible risks of creams containing hydroquinone, corticosteroids or mercury include:
- Skin turning dark or too light
- Thinning of the skin
- Visible blood vessels in the skin
- Kidney, liver or nerve damage
- Abnormalities in a new-born baby (if used during pregnancy)
- Substances like hydroquinone may contain carcinogens (substances which cause cancer)
7) Tell me about a memorable case of skin bleaching you have encountered?
Vybz Kartel lol.
8) What advice will you give to anyone who is considering bleaching or anyone who is already bleaching?
Don’t. It is not worth it, social media has helped to celebrate melanin with famous bloggers and celebrities embracing dark skin and its beauty. Melanin is a protective pigment in the skin, blocking UV radiation from damaging DNA and potentially causing skin cancer.
Jema Hacuma, Associate Clinical Data Coordinator