What You Need To Know About Anal Bleaching or Lightening

How Anal Bleaching Works and Its Risks

Anal bleaching or anal lightening is the process of bleaching the dark pigmentation or melasma on or around the anus, leaving a more even skin tone on those with lighter skin types. It's become a growing trend in recent years among men and women alike. 

The procedure involves the application of a cream or gel to the anus and is stickily cosmetic, so the area is typically waxed first. Anal bleaching is banned in some countries, including France and the United Kingdom, because of the cream's active ingredient, hydroquinone, which has long been suspected of being a carcinogen.

Nonetheless, hydroquinone has been in use for various purposes for over 50 years. Mercury and other chemicals are also commonly used as active skin bleaching agents.

How Anal Bleaching Works 

Melanin is a chemical that is naturally produced by our bodies. It darkens skin color as a natural protectant against the sun. The more melanin your body produces, the darker your skin.

Hydroquinone, mercury and other lightening chemicals inhibit the skin's production of melanin. This in turn lightens the skin areas to which they're applied. Hydroquinone is a chemical that's also used in photo processing, hair dyes and rubber manufacturing. 

Depending on how dark your skin is, you may have to apply the bleaching agent more than once to achieve your desired results. Most spas will offer you an initial treatment and send you home with additional bleaching lotion or gel that you can apply on your own. 

Is Anal Bleaching Safe? 

Prolonged use of hydroquinone can thicken collagen fibers, resulting in a spotty skin appearance.

Mercury, a known carcinogenic, strips skin of its natural pigment when it's used over time. Prolonged exposure to either hydroquinone or mercury can cause cancer, mercury poisoning, liver failure or kidney failure. Anal bleaching can also cause chemical burns to an already sensitive area.

Another Drawback to Bleaching

Bleaching agents can temporarily lighten skin color, but exposure to ultraviolet rays will often re-oxidize the skin, creating an even darker appearance than before you attempted to lighten it.

This is why most skin bleaching or fading products warn against exposure to sunlight immediately after application. The anus gets little or no exposure to direct sunlight, however. 

Are There Less Dangerous Anal Bleaching Chemicals? 

Bleaching products such as azelaic acid are less toxic, but they can still reduce melanin production and increase the potential for long-term skin complications.

Should You Bleach Your Anus?

As with any cosmetic surgery, there are risks that may or may not outweigh the potential benefits of bleaching your anus. I highly recommend consulting with your doctor before attempting to bleach your own anus or visiting a salon that offers the service, or at least try to find a salon or spa that has a physician or trained medical professional on staff. Some anal bleaching kits or salons advertise safety, but risks are associated with long term exposure to chemicals, especially known carcinogens.

Before considering anal bleaching, consider why you desire such a procedure. Ask yourself if you have issues with your body image.