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Skin Bleaching and Dermatologic Health of African and Afro-Caribbean Populations in the US: New Directions for Methodologically Rigorous, Multidisciplinary, and Culturally Sensitive Research

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Skin-bleaching practices, such as using skin creams and soaps to achieve a lighter skin tone, are common throughout the world and are triggered by cosmetic reasons that oftentimes have deep historical, economic, sociocultural, and psychosocial roots. Exposure to chemicals in the bleaching products, notably, mercury (Hg), hydroquinone, and steroids, has been associated with a variety of adverse health effects, such as Hg poisoning and exogenous ochronosis. In New York City (NYC), skin care product use has been identified as an important route of Hg exposure, especially among Caribbean-born blacks and Dominicans. However, surprisingly sparse information is available on the epidemiology of the health impacts of skin-bleaching practices among these populations. We highlight the dearth of large-scale, comprehensive, community-based, clinical, and translational research in this area, especially the limited skin-bleaching-related research among non-White populations in the US. We offer five new research directions, including investigating the known and under-studied health consequences among populations for which the skin bleach practice is newly emerging at an alarming rate using innovative laboratory and statistical methods. We call for conducting methodologically rigorous, multidisciplinary, and culturally sensitive research in order to provide insights into the root and the epidemiological status of the practice and provide evidence of exposure-outcome associations, with an ultimate goal of developing potential intervention strategies to reduce the health burdens of skin-bleaching practice.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Steroid acne on the chest following use of a corticosteroid containing bleaching cream for over 1 year
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Fig2: Steroid acne on the chest following use of a corticosteroid containing bleaching cream for over 1 year

Mentions: Skin bleaching has been associated with a variety of known adverse health effects ranging from dermatitis to exogenous ochronosis (Fig. 1), steroid acne (Fig. 2), mercury (Hg) poisoning, and nephrotic syndrome, which are linked to ingredients such as hydroquinone, corticosteroids, and Hg [1, 4, 6, 12–18]. Due to health concerns, some of these chemicals are regulated [19–23]. However, studies have found products containing the aforementioned ingredients with above legal limits, including products from the USA and European Union, where regulations are stricter and better implemented. In addition, access to a variety of legal and illegal skin-bleaching products—including prescription strength hydroquinone and topical corticosteroids—is made easy through online purchases, global travel, and immigration [17, 18, 24–26].Fig. 1


Skin Bleaching and Dermatologic Health of African and Afro-Caribbean Populations in the US: New Directions for Methodologically Rigorous, Multidisciplinary, and Culturally Sensitive Research
Steroid acne on the chest following use of a corticosteroid containing bleaching cream for over 1 year
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5120641&req=5

Fig2: Steroid acne on the chest following use of a corticosteroid containing bleaching cream for over 1 year
Mentions: Skin bleaching has been associated with a variety of known adverse health effects ranging from dermatitis to exogenous ochronosis (Fig. 1), steroid acne (Fig. 2), mercury (Hg) poisoning, and nephrotic syndrome, which are linked to ingredients such as hydroquinone, corticosteroids, and Hg [1, 4, 6, 12–18]. Due to health concerns, some of these chemicals are regulated [19–23]. However, studies have found products containing the aforementioned ingredients with above legal limits, including products from the USA and European Union, where regulations are stricter and better implemented. In addition, access to a variety of legal and illegal skin-bleaching products—including prescription strength hydroquinone and topical corticosteroids—is made easy through online purchases, global travel, and immigration [17, 18, 24–26].Fig. 1

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Skin-bleaching practices, such as using skin creams and soaps to achieve a lighter skin tone, are common throughout the world and are triggered by cosmetic reasons that oftentimes have deep historical, economic, sociocultural, and psychosocial roots. Exposure to chemicals in the bleaching products, notably, mercury (Hg), hydroquinone, and steroids, has been associated with a variety of adverse health effects, such as Hg poisoning and exogenous ochronosis. In New York City (NYC), skin care product use has been identified as an important route of Hg exposure, especially among Caribbean-born blacks and Dominicans. However, surprisingly sparse information is available on the epidemiology of the health impacts of skin-bleaching practices among these populations. We highlight the dearth of large-scale, comprehensive, community-based, clinical, and translational research in this area, especially the limited skin-bleaching-related research among non-White populations in the US. We offer five new research directions, including investigating the known and under-studied health consequences among populations for which the skin bleach practice is newly emerging at an alarming rate using innovative laboratory and statistical methods. We call for conducting methodologically rigorous, multidisciplinary, and culturally sensitive research in order to provide insights into the root and the epidemiological status of the practice and provide evidence of exposure-outcome associations, with an ultimate goal of developing potential intervention strategies to reduce the health burdens of skin-bleaching practice.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus