Danger of Baby Skin Bleaching

A lady who simply gave her name as Veronica sent PWG the message below:

Dear PWG team, I don’t understand this world anymore. Some things which are not supposed to be mentioned among us are in vogue now and those that are not participating are classified “old school.”

Some months ago one of my neighbors gave birth to a baby girl. The woman and her husband are as dark as anything but the baby turned out, four months later, to be light skinned. Nobody saw it as anything until the secret came out.

One evening I went to visit the woman and saw her using a lightening soap to bathe the baby. In fact, the baby had a special collection of both local and foreign whitening creams and soaps. I was just wondering how she could possibly do this to the delicate skin of her daughter despite the hazards involved until I did some asking around and found out that she’s not the only one in this.

As I write you this now, the baby is at the hospital battling with a skin condition. Please, I want you to advise mothers against this practice

WHAT IS BABY SKIN BLEACHING?

The story you just read has set the tempo  for today’s post and like the writer rightly said, baby skin bleaching is now a practice currently being practiced by most mothers. The practice involves the use of creams over time on a baby to decrease melanin. Melanin is a pigment produced by a group of specialized cells known as melanocytes. This pigment gives our skin, hair, and eyes their colour. Less melanin means lighter skin, and vice versa.

HOW COMMON IS BABY SKIN BLEACHING

Baby skin bleaching is very common in our world today.

Doctors would often initiate skin lightening creams for the treatment of skin pigmentation and discoloration associated with acne vulgaris, eczema, skin injury, exposure to sun, atopic dermatitis, pityriasis rosea but in recent times mothers deliberately use these creams and all manner of herbal concoctions to lighten the skin of their babies in response to social pressures.  This new trend cut across all socio-demographic characteristics.

Health Implications

The skin on your baby is very fragile, delicate and thin. This means that the skin is very sensitive to and can react easily to weather temperatures and also irritants. Irritants can come from a variety of substance but mainly from the chemicals contained in the products you use on your baby.

This is particularly dangerous because:

1. Hydroquinone is a primary active ingredient found in most of these creams. This compound has been linked to ochronosis- a dark-bluish skin discoloration of certain areas like the face, neck and other exposed areas. The US Food and Drug Administration are currently investigating this compound due to reported concerns about the likelihood of being carcinogenic.

2. Some of these skin-lightening creams contain mercury and exposure to mercury can cause grave damage to your kidney and nervous system. In babies, exposure to mercury can interfere with the development of their brain. According to an alert issued by the FDA on this, mercury can have similar effects on the health of children in the same household as adults using the cream even if it isn’t directly used on the child’s skin.

3. A 2011 article in the journal Prescrire International reviewed several studies involving thousands of people. After their study, they concluded that the regular use of skin lightening creams over large areas of the body can lead to permanent skin damage, as well as increase the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and other life threatening diseases.

4. Children are at higher risk of damage caused by these substances, because their body is different from an adult’s. They have a thinner skin which can easily absorb more of whatever is on their skin into their bloodstream. Agents in their blood are more likely to cross into their brain and nervous system because their blood-brain barrier is immature.

Conclusion

Bleaching creams contains concentrations of hydroquinone, corticosteroids, ammoniated mercury and kojic acid. Using these creams overtime on the skin of a baby may have damaging effect on their health.

Don’t go with the trend and putting the life of your baby at risk. Your baby’s skin is beautiful just the way it is. If it is flaky or spotty for any medical reason, you can speak to his pediatrician about appropriate products that may help even it out. You can permanently damage it and cause your baby a lot of harm if you decide to go by what your friends ask you to do.

Baby skin bleaching is unhealthy and can endanger the life of your baby. Regardless of the color of your baby’s skin, you should be happy as long as they are healthy and happy.

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