Risks of bleaching ethnic skin include acne, stretch marks, increased sensitivity to the sun's rays and an increased chance of heart racing, states Fox 5 News. Skin bleaching can also cause exogenous ochronosis, a condition characterized by uneven pigmentation and a blue hue.
Bleaching ethnic skin can cause skin thinning and easy bruising, according to The New York Times. Skin-lightening creams that contain mercury can poison the body and harm the nervous system. Many creams contain steroids, which can cause high blood sugar and hypertension. In some cases, the creams prevent the body from manufacturing natural steroids.
Skin-lightening products that contain hydroquinone can cause allergy symptoms, including itching, redness and dry skin, The Dermatology Group warns. The products often contain carcinogens that increase the user's risk of developing cancer. People who use skin-bleaching treatments may also develop dark patches on the ears, toes and fingers. The dark spots can also appear around the eyes.
Cancer is one of the most serious risks associated with skin bleaching, asserts the BBC. Users put themselves at risk for cancer of the blood, kidneys and liver. The ingredients in skin-bleaching creams can cause scabbing and burning of the skin. In many cases, the visible skin damage is permanent.