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Apple Cider Vinegar Mishap: A Cautionary Tale for Skin Lightening

The internet is filled with numerous home remedies for skin lightening. One such remedy that has gained popularity is using apple cider vinegar. However, not all these remedies are safe or effective.

In a recent case, a woman in her twenties, who worked as a salesperson, believed in an online apple cider vinegar remedy for lightening her skin. She applied it to her face for two weeks, only to experience redness, swelling, and peeling of her skin. Upon consulting a dermatologist, it was revealed that her skin suffered chemical burns, damaging the epidermis. She had to undergo antibiotic ointment treatment and stop using apple cider vinegar. It took several weeks for her symptoms to subside, but she was left with dark gray marks on her face.

There are many skin lightening and whitening products available in the market. Clinically proven ingredients include vitamin C, vitamin E, retinoic acid (a derivative of vitamin A), and glycolic acid. Generally, it takes several weeks to months of regular use to see results. Vitamin C and E are antioxidants that can help inhibit melanin formation, while retinoic acid and glycolic acid aid in skin exfoliation, reducing dark spots and promoting skin regeneration. However, glycolic acid may cause mild redness and peeling, depending on its concentration. It is advisable to avoid using high-concentration glycolic acid products without professional guidance. As for skincare through diet, there is no medical literature to confirm its effectiveness.

Before using any skin lightening product, it is recommended to perform a patch test. Apply the product on the inner wrist for one or two consecutive days and monitor for any severe redness, swelling, or pain, indicating an allergic reaction. If any adverse reactions occur, discontinue use. If there are no issues, the product can be applied to the face, preferably testing on a small area near the cheek for a couple of days to ensure safety. Clinically, laser treatment has been used for years as a method to remove dark spots. Generally, skin may experience redness, swelling, and scabbing for a few days following the procedure.