Complications of chronic use of skin lightening cosmetics
ABSTRACT Skin lightening (bleaching) cosmetics and toiletries are widely used in most African countries. The active ingredients in these cosmetic products are hydroquinone, mercury and corticosteroids. Several additives (conconctions) are used to enhance the bleaching effect. Since these products are used for long duration, on a large body surface area, and under hot humid conditions, percutaneous absorption is enhanced. The complications of these products are very serious and are sometimes fatal. Some of these complications are exogenous ochronosis, impaired wound healing and wound dehiscence, the fish odor syndrome, nephropathy, steroid addiction syndrome, predisposition to infections, a broad spectrum of cutaneous and endocrinologic complications of corticosteroids, including suppression of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. In this era of easy travels and migration, African patients with these complications can present to physicians anywhere in the world. It is therefore critical for every practicing physician to be aware of these complications.
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ABSTRACT: Hydroquinone (HQ) is found in natural and anthropogenic sources including food, cosmetics, cigarette smoke, and industrial products. In addition to ingestion and dermal absorption, human exposure to HQ may also occur by inhaling cigarette smoke or polluted air. The adverse effects of HQ on respiratory systems have been studied, but genotoxicity HQ on human lung cells is unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of HQ in human lung alveolar epithelial cells (A549). We found that HQ induced a dose response in cell growth inhibition and DNA damage which was associated with an increase in oxidative stress. Cytotoxicity results demonstrated that HQ was most toxic after 24 h (LC50 = 33 μM) and less toxic after 1 h exposure (LC50 = 59 μM). Genotoxicity of HQ was measured using the Comet assay, H2AX phosphorylation, and chromosome aberration formation. Results from the comet assay revealed that DNA damage was highest during the earlier hours of exposure (1 and 6 h) and thereafter was reduced. A similar pattern was observed for H2AX phosphorylation suggesting that damage DNA may be repaired in later exposure hours. An increase in chromosomal aberration corresponded with maximal DNA damage which further confirmed the genotoxic effects of HQ. To investigate whether oxidative stress was involved in the cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of HQ, cellular glutathione and 8-Oxo-deoguanisone (8-Oxo-dG) formation were measured. A decrease in the reduced glutathione (GSH) and an increase oxidized glutathione (GSSG) was observed during the early hours of exposure which corresponded with elevated 8-Oxo-dG adducts. Together these results demonstrate that HQ exerts its cytotoxic and genotoxic effects in A549 lung cells, probably through DNA damage via oxidative stress.Cell Biology and Toxicology 06/2013; DOI:10.1007/s10565-013-9247-0 · 1.97 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This article focuses on the sexual attraction motive for skin bleaching in Jamaica. Some captive Africans on plantations in Jamaica altered their complexion. These Africans modeled the British in the colony who bleached their skin to protect the “superior,” “sexy,” and ideal white skin from the “impurities” of interracial sex and the tropical climate. The beauty and sexual attraction accorded to light skin was also evident in skin bleaching newspaper ads in the 1950s. The ads told women that acquiring light complexion through skin bleaching would make them sexually attractive to men. The persistence of colorism and its most blatant expression—skin bleaching—is also evident in contemporary Jamaica as expressed in some dancehall songs which praise skin bleachers, and the explanatory narratives of skin bleachers that bleaching makes them pretty and sexually attractive to potential spouses. Similar themes are reflected in the criticism that the browning Dancehall Queen Carlene was deemed sexually attractive and choreographically talented only because of her brown physicality. Some spouses request that their partner acquire the bleached physicality because they find it sexually attractive similar to many male clients in “massage parlors” who only request female sex workers who bleach their skin.Sexuality & Culture 12/2011; 15(4). DOI:10.1007/s12119-011-9107-0
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ABSTRACT: Eleven of 41 brands of skin whiteners that were collected in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and processed with a screening kit contained more than 2000 μg/g mercury. Risk analysis indicates that these 11 brands were toxic. Nine of 19 of these skin whiteners analyzed with cold vapor atomic absorption (CVAA) spectrophotometry exceeded Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) guidelines for cosmetic good manufacturing practice limit on mercury of 1 μg/g. The most contaminated whitener analyzed by CVAA had 12,590 μg/g mercury. The mercury-containing products were labeled as produced in Thailand, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the United States, and an unidentified country. Eight other products (antifungal, steroids, and antibiotics) were sold as additives to be mixed into whitener concoctions. In the 19 samples analyzed with CVAA, there was a significant association between the mercury content and a label “for export only.” Labeling of sampled products varied from detailed to slight, with none containing Khmer instructions. Variability in mercury content of some products appeared to reflect copying of brand names with very similar packaging.Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 11/2009; 15(6-6):1286-1303. DOI:10.1080/10807030903306877 · 1.08 Impact Factor