Dermatologists in Australia have warned about the potential hazards of using commercially available skin-whitening products which may contain chemicals that irritate and redden the skin.
“There has been a slow but gradual increase in the number of patients using these and therefore the number of side-effects,” Dr Rodrigues said, adding one of her patients experienced irritation and redness after using whitening creams.
Skin whitening trend is a popular trend coming out of Korea and China, emerging into the Australian market in pharmacies and beauty stores. White skin is associated with success, prestige and envy, women commonly turn to skin lightening products to achieve and maintain their desired complexion.
“Asian cultures like white skin – it’s [considered] beautiful, young,” Penna, an assistant at Blush Cosmetics in Sydney’s CBD, said.
Women regularly purchasing whitening products were aged between 25 and 40.
The popularity for skin lighteners in the market is on the rise, projected to reach $US23 billion ($30.5 billion) by 2020, according to market intelligence firm Global Industry Analysts.
Dermatologists are concerned for two reasons, first being the potential for harmful reactions and secondly the psychological reasoning’s behind the use for the whitening products.
Hydroquinone is banned in most European countries, but commonly found in products sold in pharmacies and beauty stores here.
While there have been very few adverse reactions to hydroquinone listed on the TGA database, the interest in products containing hydroquinone is on the rise.
It’s unclear how widespread the use of skin-whitening products is in the Australia.
But with the increase of use in Australia, it’s important doctors are aware of their side effects and complications. Consumers that use these types of products need to be aware of the potential risks.