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Skin Lightening Prevalent Among 'Skin of Color' Individuals

Skin lightening agent users have significantly higher composite colorism scores than nonusers

By HealthDay News | July 19, 2023

WEDNESDAY, July 19, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Among skin of color (SOC) individuals, use of skin lightening (SL), involving the use of chemicals to lighten the skin, is prevalent, and those using SL agents rarely consult a medical provider before using the products, according to a study published in the October issue of the International Journal of Women's Dermatology.

Karishma Daftary, M.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues examined SL habits among SOC individuals in the United States. A cross-sectional survey was administered to SOC individuals and data were collected on demographics, rates of SL, SL habits, and perceived colorism among SL users and nonusers.

Four hundred fifty-five participants completed the survey. The researchers found that 21.3 percent of participants reported using SL agents: 73.2 and 26.8 percent for treatment of a skin condition and for general SL. Before using the products, only 22.6 percent of SL users consulted a medical provider. Overall, 45.4 percent were unaware of their SL product ingredients and 35.1 percent reported use of hydroquinone-based products. Compared with nonusers, SL users had significantly higher composite colorism scores (20.03 versus 18.20 percent).

"These findings underscore the important role of dermatologists in addressing skin tone and pigmentary concerns with their SOC patients, as patients may be using SL agents for a variety of reasons: most commonly for self-treatment of a skin condition but also for general SL," the authors write.


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