Skin whitening, skin lightening , and skin bleaching refer to the practice of using chemical substances in an attempt to lighten skin tone or provide an even skin complexion by reducing the melanin concentration in the skin. Several chemicals have been shown to the effective in skin whitening, while some have proven to be toxic or have questionable safety profiles , adding to the controversy surrounding their use and impacts on certain ethnic groups.
Specific zones of abnormally high pigmentation such moles and birthmarks may be
depigmented to match to the surrounding skin. Conversely in cases of vitiligo , unaffected skin may be lightened to achieve a more uniform appearance. Long term use of skin whiteners can lead to pigmentation increasing to the joints of the fingers, toes , buttocks and ears. The skin of the face can become thinned and the area around eyes can have increased pigmentation causing a “BLEACH PANDA EFFECT”.