For ages a lighter skin tone has been associated with the idea of good skin, attractiveness, social acceptance, better career opportunity, higher status and success.
The idea of “fair skin is better skin” has also been perpetuated by celebrities who endorse skin lightening agents.
The desire to be socially accepted makes us conform to the standards and patterns set by the society which is further reinforced by celebs and social media which lures us to try the effects of skin lightening agents.
Recently, it has been propagated as a common perception that the vaginal area, or rather the vulva is meant to look lighter than the other parts of the skin.
Women now want to have lighter looking vagina/vulva purely for aesthetic purpose, to look appealing and youthful.
But the truth be told, the vulva is naturally of a slightly darker shade compared to the rest of the skin .This is because of the influence of the normal female hormones that have an enhanced effect after puberty.
You must know that with age, the labia darken and hyperpigmentation in the this area is perfectly normal.
However, keeping up with the current trend, there has been excessive amount of hype generated around having a lighter coloured vulva & genitals and consequently, the markets are flooded with vaginal lightening creams, vaginal bleaches & treatments. These are advertised extensively and sold at a premium price to the gullible people who believe that a lighter coloured vulva is the new ‘normal’.
If you want to know more about vaginal bleaching, the possible effects, keep on reading.
What is the normal colour of the vulvar skin?
As a result of hormonal changes, age, hair growth, genetic skin colour, weight changes & pregnancy, the vulva changes colour and darkens over time.
There are also instances where bikini waxing can lead to formation of a callus which then results in darker skin.
The colour of the vulvar skin isn’t meant to be the same as the rest of your skin. Having a darker tone of the vulva is natural and perfectly normal.
However, if you experience sudden darkening of the vulva accompanied by itching or rashes, you should consult your doctor as these could be signs of underlying medical conditions like eczema, lesions, vulvar cancer.
What is Vaginal bleaching?
Though the name suggests vaginal, it does not involve the internal vagina and is concerned only with the outer part- the vulva and the bikini area skin.
It involves skin lightening of the vulva using topical creams which are directly applied to the area, chemical peels or done using laser treatment, but does not involve using a chemical bleach.
This treatment however gives only temporary lightening effect and the skin will get darker once you stop using the creams or chemical peels.
Safety comes first!
If you are wondering how safe is vaginal bleaching? what are the benefits? We’d like to tell you that there are no scientific benefits or any specific health benefit of vaginal bleaching.
But if happiness and personal satisfaction is what you are looking for, your happiness and confidence may be the benefit.
If you are looking for evidence from research, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) writes that, “These procedures are not medically indicated, and the safety and effectiveness of these procedures have not been documented.”
The potential side effects of vaginal bleaching/Brazilian bleach include
- Swelling of labial skin.
- Inflammation of vulva.
- Vaginal irritation.
- Infections of the vulva & vagina.
- Allergic reaction to the chemicals.
- Long term use of creams or laser treatments can lead to scarring, loss of sensation, pain which can make sexual intercourse painful and uncomfortable and may lead to distortion of the natural shape of the labia due to formation of scar tissues.
- Skin lightening agents contain chemicals like hydroquinone, alpha arbutin, kojic acid, steroids, glutathione etc. Studies have shown that hydroquinone is not safe to be used in skin lightening products, Countries like Japan, England and France have banned the use of hydroquinone in skin lightening products. Products containing kojic acid, alpha arbutin are relatively safer.
What are the factors that I should consider if I want to try vaginal beaching?
Well, we would recommend not to mess with your delicate private parts & embrace your natural self with pride, but if lightening the skin colour is your priority, do remember to take certain precautions
- Never try a DIY bleaching kit or technique you would find in a random Youtube video, Instagram reels, tiktok videos etc. The DIY treatments can increase the risk of side effects.
- If you purchased a cream, patch test it first.
Apply a small quantity of the cream on your arm first. Wait for sometime and observe if you develop rashes or itching. If you do, then the cream will most likely irritate your vulvar skin.
Even if you do not experience an allergic reaction on your arm, you might experience one when you use it on your vulvar skin. The patch testing will help predict an adverse reaction.
- Never agree for an inner labia bleaching or laser treatment. Remember that your vagina & inner labia are delicate & sensitive and such treatment can lead to further complications.
Lastly, would we recommend to get a vaginal bleaching? No.
The overall idea of getting a vaginal bleaching done is not a good one and most responsible doctors won’t perform vaginal lightening. Leave the bleaching probably for your hair or clothes. Your vagina & vulva is perfect as it is.
However if you wish you get it done, discuss the pros and cons with your doctor. Your doctor will also help you diagnose any underlying medical condition and advice regarding necessary precautions.
The practice of skin lightening is ancient. It dates back to 200BC. Romans, Greeks, Egyptians used honey and olive oil to get fairer skin. Ancient Romans also used a mixture called lead sugar which consisted of vinegar and white lead. Even though white lead would lead to disfigurement and poisoning it was used popularly in Europe during Middle Ages and Renaissance period.
For more information on Menstrual Health & Hygiene, please check our other videos.
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