Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology

Skin of Colour Resource


Skin lightening/skin bleaching


Hydroquinone: myths and reality. Searle T, Al-Niaimi F, Ali FR. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2021 Jun;46(4):636-640. doi: 10.1111/ced.14480. Epub 2020 Nov 7. PMID: 33159818 Review. 51.

Clinical management of chronic mercury intoxication secondary to skin lightening products: A proposed algorithm. Ramli FF. Bosn J Basic Med Sci. 2021 Jun 1;21(3):261-269. doi: 10.17305/bjbms.2020.4759. PMID: 32415819 Free PMC article. Review.

Skin-Lightening Products: Consumer Preferences and Costs. Cheng AD, De La Garza H, Maymone MBC, Johansen VM, Vashi NA. Cureus. 2021 Aug 17;13(8):e17245. doi: 10.7759/cureus.17245. eCollection 2021 Aug. PMID: 34540471 Free PMC article

Nephrotic syndrome caused by exposures to skin-lightening cosmetic products containing inorganic mercury.
Chan TYK, Chan APL, Tang HL.
Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2019 Jul 17:1-7. doi: 10.1080/15563650.2019.1639724. [Epub ahead of print]. Systematic review.

The clinical effect of glutathione on skin color and other related skin conditions: A systematic review.
Dilokthornsakul W, Dhippayom T, Dilokthornsakul P.
J Cosmet Dermatol. 2019 Jun;18(3):728-737. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12910. Epub 2019 Mar 20. Systematic review.

A systematic review of global legal regulations on the permissible level of heavy metals in cosmetics with particular emphasis on skin lightening products.
Michalek IM, Benn EKT, Dos Santos FLC, Gordon S, Wen C, Liu B.
Environ Res. 2018 Dec 15;170:187-193. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.12.029. [Epub ahead of print]. Systematic review.

The global prevalence and correlates of skin bleaching: a meta-analysis and meta-regression analysis.
Sagoe D, Pallesen S, Dlova NC, Lartey M, Ezzedine K, Dadzie O.
Int J Dermatol. 2018 Jun 11. doi: 10.1111/ijd.14052. [Epub ahead of print]. Systematic review.

Pitfalls in clinical trials reveal need for well tolerated, more effective depigmenting agents.
Saxena S, Andersen RM, Maibach HI.
J Dermatolog Treat. 2015 Oct;26(5):440-50. doi: 10.3109/09546634.2014.998609. Epub 2015 Feb 11. Systematic review.

Parallel discourses: leveraging the Black Lives Matter movement to fight colorism and skin bleaching practices.
Van Hout MC, Wazaify M.
Public Health. 2021 Feb 13;192:1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2020.12.020. Online ahead of print.

Exogenous ochronosis (EO): Skin lightening cream causing rare caviar-like lesion with banana-like pigments; review of literature and histological comparison with endogenous counterpart.
Qorbani A, Mubasher A, Sarantopoulos GP, Nelson S, Fung MA.
Autops Case Rep. 2020 Sep 2;10(4):e2020197. doi: 10.4322/acr.2020.197. Review.

Cosmetic skin lightening use and side effects.
Masub N, Khachemoune A.
J Dermatolog Treat. 2020 Nov 10:1-6. doi: 10.1080/09546634.2020.1845597. Online ahead of print. Review.

Overview of skin bleaching history and origins.
Iftekhar N, Zhitny VP.
Dermatology. 2020 Aug 19:1-3. doi: 10.1159/000509727. Online ahead of print. Review.

Traditional Asian herbs in skin whitening: The current development and limitations.
Hu Y, Zeng H, Huang J, Jiang L, Chen J, Zeng Q.
Front Pharmacol. 2020 Jul 7;11:982. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2020.00982. eCollection 2020. Review.

"The unfair drive to be fair" - psychosocial aspects and implications of the use of skin lightening agents.
Shivakumar S, Jafferany M.
Dermatol Ther. 2020 Jul 27. doi: 10.1111/dth.14091. Online ahead of print. Review.

Natural skin-whitening compounds for the treatment of melanogenesis (Review).
Qian W, Liu W, Zhu D, Cao Y, Tang A, Gong G, Su H.
Exp Ther Med. 2020 Jul;20(1):173-185. doi: 10.3892/etm.2020.8687. Epub 2020 Apr 24. Review.

Skin lightening and its motives: A historical overview.
Petit A.
Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2019 May;146(5):399-409. doi: 10.1016/j.annder.2019.04.017. Epub 2019 May 12. No abstract available. Review.

Discovery of new depigmenting compounds and their efficacy to treat hyperpigmentation: Evidence from in vitro study.
Lajis AFB, Ariff AB.
J Cosmet Dermatol. 2019 Mar 13. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12900. [Epub ahead of print]. Review.

[Skin lightening and its motives: A historical overview].
Petit A.
Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2019 Mar 21. pii: S0151-9638(19)30054-7. doi: 10.1016/j.annder.2019.01.014. [Epub ahead of print] French. No abstract available. Review.

The role of systemic treatments for skin lightening.
Juhasz MLW, Levin MK.
J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018 Aug 21. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12747. [Epub ahead of print]. Review.

Colourism: a global adolescent health concern.
Craddock N, Dlova N, Diedrichs PC.
Curr Opin Pediatr. 2018 May 8. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000638. [Epub ahead of print]. Revfiew.

Glutathione for skin lightening: a regnant myth or evidence-based verity?
Sonthalia S, Jha AK, Lallas A, Jain G, Jakhar D.
Dermatol Pract Concept. 2018 Jan 31;8(1):15-21. doi: 10.5826/dpc.0801a04. eCollection 2018 Jan. Review.

Skin hyperpigmentation treatment using herbs: A review of clinical evidences.
Kanlayavattanakul M, Lourith N.
J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2018 Apr;20(2):123-131. doi: 10.1080/14764172.2017.1368666. Epub 2017 Aug 30. Review.

Fifty shades of African lightness: A bio-psychosocial review of the global phenomenon of skin lightening practices.
Jacobs M, Levine S, Abney K, Davids L.
J Public Health Afr. 2016 Dec 31;7(2):552. doi: 10.4081/jphia.2016.552. eCollection 2016 Dec 31. Review.

Skin whitening agents: medicinal chemistry perspective of tyrosinase inhibitors.
Pillaiyar T, Manickam M, Namasivayam V.
J Enzyme Inhib Med Chem. 2017 Dec;32(1):403-425. doi: 10.1080/14756366.2016.1256882. Review.

Facial hyperpigmentation in darker skin types: Part 2.
Bala HR, Rodrigues M.
Dermatology in Practice. 2016 Winter;22(4):105-108. Review.

Intravenous glutathione for skin lightening: Inadequate safety data.
Davids LM, Van Wyk JC, Khumalo NP.
S Afr Med J. 2016 Jul 6;106(8):782-6. doi: 10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i8.10878. Review.

Glutathione as a skin whitening agent: facts, myths, evidence and controversies.
Sonthalia S, Daulatabad D, Sarkar R.
Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2016 Mar 30. doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.179088. [Epub ahead of print]. Review.

The practice of skin-bleaching for a cosmetic purpose in immigrant communities. 
Mahé A.
J Travel Med. 2014 Jul-Aug;21(4):282-7. doi: 10.1111/jtm.12106. Epub 2014 Mar 11. Review.

The melanogenesis and mechanisms of skin-lightening agents--existing and new approaches. 
Gillbro JM, Olsson MJ.
Int J Cosmet Sci. 2011 Jun;33(3):210-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2010.00616.x. Epub 2011 Jan 25. Review.

Widespread use of toxic skin lightening compounds: medical and psychosocial aspects. 
Ladizinski B, Mistry N, Kundu RV.
Dermatol Clin. 2011 Jan;29(1):111-23. doi: 10.1016/j.det.2010.08.010. Epub 2010 Oct 13. Review.

The hunt for natural skin whitening agents. 
Smit N, Vicanova J, Pavel S.
Int J Mol Sci. 2009 Dec 10;10(12):5326-49. doi: 10.3390/ijms10125326. Review.

Skin bleaching: highlighting the misuse of cutaneous depigmenting agents. 
Dadzie OE, Petit A.
J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2009 Jul;23(7):741-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2009.03150.x. Epub 2009 Mar 11. Review.

The use of botanical extracts as topical skin-lightening agents for the improvement of skin pigmentation disorders. 
Zhu W, Gao J.
J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2008 Apr;13(1):20-4. doi: 10.1038/jidsymp.2008.8. Review.

Complications of chronic use of skin lightening cosmetics. 
Olumide YM, Akinkugbe AO, Altraide D, Mohammed T, Ahamefule N, Ayanlowo S, Onyekonwu C, Essen N.
Int J Dermatol. 2008 Apr;47(4):344-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2008.02719.x. Review.

The concept of skin bleaching in Africa and its devastating health implications. 
de Souza MM.
Clin Dermatol. 2008 Jan-Feb;26(1):27-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2007.10.005. Review.

[Complications of cosmetic skin bleaching in Africa]. 
Morand JJ, Ly F, Lightburn E, Mahé A.
Med Trop (Mars). 2007 Dec;67(6):627-34. Review. French.

The safety of hydroquinone: a dermatologist's response to the 2006 Federal Register. 
Levitt J.
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007 Nov;57(5):854-72. Epub 2007 Apr 27. Review.

Skin lightening preparations and the hydroquinone controversy. 
Draelos ZD.
Dermatol Ther. 2007 Sep-Oct;20(5):308-13. Review.

Insight into skin lightening cosmeceuticals for women of color.
Badreshia-Bansal S, Draelos ZD.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2007 Jan;6(1):32-9. Review.

Survey and mechanism of skin depigmenting and lightening agents. 
Parvez S, Kang M, Chung HS, Cho C, Hong MC, Shin MK, Bae H.
Phytother Res. 2006 Nov;20(11):921-34. Review.

[Toxicological aspects and health risks associated with hydroquinone in skin bleaching formula]. 
Kooyers TJ, Westerhof W.
Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2004 Apr 17;148(16):768-71. Review. Dutch.


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Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology

The University of Nottingham
Applied Health Research Building
University Park, Nottingham

telephone: +44 (0) 115 84 68631
email: cebd@nottingham.ac.uk