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1 Skin Bleaching With Monobenzone on Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:33 pm

Golden Girl

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Skin Bleaching With Monobenzone

Using Monobenzone Can Have Serious Consequences
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If you’re considering using monobenzone to achieve a lighter complexion – stop. If you have already started using monobenzone and you do not have vitiligo, stop immediately. (Did that grab your attention? I hope it did!) Of all the chemicals that bleach the skin, monobenzone is the worst thing anyone with normal skin can use. And by ‘normal skin’, I mean the skin of someone without vitiligo.

- If you have dark marks from acne, scars or melasma, you have normal skin.
- If you have skin that has gotten darker through years of tanning or being
under the sun, you have normal skin.

Compare that to the skin of a vitiligo sufferer, whose immune system is attacking melanocytes. And before I go on any further, I think it’s important for you to first understand what vitiligo is.

So what is vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a relatively common skin disease affecting about one out of every hundred people. With vitiligo, the body works to kill melanocytes (cells that give us our color) causing the skin to turn white in patches. This bleaching effect can also sometimes affect hair as well as mucous membranes inside the nose and mouth. No one knows what causes vitiligo for sure. For now, only theories exist. Vitiligo may be due to:

* Genetic causes
* Environmental causes
* Autoimmune abnormality

The disease can spread, rapidly or slowly, to cover the entire body surface (universal vitiligo) but the most common form appears in a symmetrical form (generalized vitiligo). Sometimes, only half of the body is affected (segmental vitiligo). Vitiligo affects both men and women regardless of skin color or ethnicity. Vitiligo can occur at any age, but most develop it before they turn twenty. It is not infectious. Meaning you cannot catch it from someone with vitiligo.

More information on vitiligo and vitiligo support:
- [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
- [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

And what is monobenzone?
Monobenzone is a depigmenting treatment for cases of extensive vitiligo, where the patches of white skin are too large to be treated for repigmentation. There are a few things you should know about this chemical called monobenzone:

* Scientists still do not fully understand how monobenzone works.
* Its effects are unpredictable and may not lead to complete depigmentation.
* Monobenzone is usually also the last resort for someone with vitiligo.

Monobenzone creams appear to cause depigmentation by killing the skin’s melanocytes. However, later studies have shown that while it probably kills melanocytes in the epidermis, it has no effect on the follicular reservoir. Therefore, it is not unusual for spots of original color to return after a few years of good results. Sun exposure may possibly speed up the return of pigmentation. In vitiligo sufferers, monobenzone use may lead to pigment-free skin within 1 to 2 years. However, monobenzone has unpredictable effects, and even vitiligo sufferers being treated with monobenzone by their doctors have difficulty maintaining their even and white color. Spots of pigmentation may reappear after several years because of the follicular reservoirs that can produce melanin.

Michael Jackson (rest in peace), was the world’s most famous person with vitiligo. Yet, even after what was probably years of intense monobenzone treatment with the best doctors available to him and all the resources he had available, he still had to live under a veil of make-up and gloves. It is important to realize that even for vitiligo sufferers being treated with monobenzone by their doctors, make-up and other ways of camouflaging the skin often become a way of life, as patches of color may remain resistant to depigmentation.

Yet another downside… monobenzone poses risk to others
The process of completely depigmenting the skin with monobenzone is a long one (1-2 years). Unlike other skin treatments, using monobenzone could also put family members and close ones at risk of depigmenting due to accidental skin contact. Because monobenzone has to be handled carefully, vitiligo patients have to take extra precautions so that the cream does not inadvertently transfer itself through skin contact with members of their household. Thus, vitiligo patients undergoing monobenzone depigmenting treatment often only apply the cream when their children are at school to minimize the risk.

Q: Is monobenzone like hydroquinone?
A: No!


Most people desperate to lighten their skin make the mistake of thinking that monobenzone is one step up from hydroquinone and that it can boost their skin lightening progress. This is simply wrong. Monobenzone should not be compared to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] or any other skin lightening ingredient. This is because monobenzone is not a skin lightener. In fact, it is unlike any other skin lighteners out there. Because of what it can do monobenzone is in a class of its own. I am not sure where the confusion between monobenzone and hydroquinone started, but perhaps it is because monobenzone is also referred to as ‘monobenzyl ether of hydroquinone’.

Yes, it is true that monobenzone and hydroquinone are both ‘phenols’ and have similar chemical structures (see the table), but the effects they have on the skin are as different as night and day. If you do not have the time to read this entire page, the table below will give a quick summary of the differences between the effects of monobenzone and hydroquinone on normal skin of people who do not have vitiligo. If you do have time, read on – it just might save your skin!



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