Why Does Hydrogen Peroxide Turn Skin White? (Quick Facts)

In this day and age, where information can be found in abundance at the click of a button, no one should use anything on their skin without the proper research on what ingredients went into making the product and also how they react when they come in contact with your skin.

Why does hydrogen peroxide turn skin white?

Our skin turns white when it comes into contact with hydrogen peroxide because a process called capillary embolism takes place. In simple terms, when this occurs the blood ceases to flow to the capillaries like normal, which makes the skin appear as if it has lost color and became whiter.

Once you apply hydrogen peroxide onto your skin, you will begin to notice it bubbling into a foamy white substance due to the solution oxidizing and causing the oxygen to bubble up and turn the skin white.

And this whitened skin entices many people to use hydrogen peroxide on their skin as a whitener and bleach.

Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used in the manufacture of household cleaning products mainly in the form of bleach because of its ability to remove stains and yellowed floors or walls completely.

This has inspired many companies to start adding hydrogen peroxide to antiseptic solutions and creams and also acne removing and whitening skincare products which are advertised to bleach and lighten skin tone.

As it does when it comes in contact with the skin due to a chemical reaction taking place.

And even though hydrogen peroxide can successfully whiten skin, the skin will go back to the natural complexion after a few weeks because this is not a permanent solution to whiten skin. And to get the whitened skin back, the whole application process should be repeated.

This sometimes prompts people to keep using hydrogen peroxide in hopes to achieve lighter skin but the repeated use will eventually damage the skin and some people have experienced their skin beginning to burn and peel.

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Does hydrogen peroxide bleach skin permanently?

Hydrogen peroxide can bleach the skin but it will not stay bleached permanently. It is a quick, temporary, and very harmful method of skin whitening that dermatologists have advised people not to use repeatedly.

And to no one’s surprise only after a few weeks, your skin will go back to its natural complexion.

The scariest thing, in order to achieve this temporary whitened skin, you will need to use a hydrogen peroxide solution with a concentration of at least 20% – 30% for your skin to be successfully bleached and that too for only a few weeks.

And if you compare this concentration to the 3% deemed safe to be used in household cleaning products, you will realize how dangerous the skin bleaching products with hydrogen peroxide are.

Is hydrogen peroxide safe for skin?

Hydrogen peroxide is not safe for bleaching skin, especially the skin on our face. As we have already learned, a solution with a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide is required to successfully bleach and whiten our skin.

The skin on our face is already more sensitive than the skin on our hands or feet which makes it more prone to damage. A number of problems have arisen when hydrogen peroxide was used by people to bleach the skin on their faces.

Some of them experienced mild symptoms including itching, slight redness, and inflammation but people who had pre-existing skin conditions such as allergy or acne have reported having the worst skin reaction of all.

The people with allergies suffered from their skin burning vigorously, rash spreading rapidly onto their entire face, extreme itchiness which in some cases made their skin start peeling.

While those with acne experienced their face getting irritated very quickly which then led to painful inflammation followed by an increase in acne development.

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Recommendations from Experts on the Use of Hydrogen Peroxide:  

Hydrogen peroxide isn’t the best chemical to use when it comes to skin bleaching or whitening as reviews from various users have already suggested.

But it would make the whole situation much clearer if you looked at what Experts have to say or recommend on the use of hydrogen peroxide, who knows maybe they will let us know of a safe way to use it to whiten our skin.

Skin getting irritated or burned:

Experts strongly advise people against using hydrogen peroxide on their skin to bleach or whiten it. Because the chances of their skin getting irritated or burned is far greater than it being permanently whitened.

Fatal for the respiratory system:

They also add that when you use hydrogen peroxide, it not only harms your skin but can be fatal for the respiratory system if inhaled and while using it on your face, it is hard not to inhale it.

Similarly, if it comes in contact with your eyes, which can happen easily, it will damage it. These might be immediate reactions to using hydrogen peroxide but continued use can cause skin cancer and internal organ failure.

Opposite effect:

Many people also use hydrogen peroxide to treat acne and wounds which may seem like a good idea in theory as it can kill bacteria.

But in reality, Experts say that when hydrogen peroxide is used to cure acne, it has instead the opposite effect by causing more irritation and inflammation.

Also, while treating wounds it kills the bacteria but also the healthy skin cells around that wound which will slow down the healing process

Does hydrogen peroxide damage skin cells?

Hydrogen peroxide can damage skin cells. This usually occurs when hydrogen peroxide is used to treat small cuts or wounds. People use it because it can kill bacteria by a process called oxidative stress because hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent.

But this has a side effect because while killing the bacteria, it also damages the healthy skin cells surrounding the wound when it comes in contact with it. And among these cells are fibroblasts cells which help produce connective tissue and simultaneously repair wounds.

So, ultimately it is going to slow down the healing process, and thus it will take longer for the wound to heal properly.

Can hydrogen peroxide remove skin fungus and skin tags?

Hydrogen peroxide can remove skin fungus and skin tags. But it is best not to try this without consulting with a skin specialist first.

In order to treat skin fungus, you will need to dip a paper towel in hydrogen peroxide and apply it to the skin infected by fungus. This will need to be repeated for a few days or even weeks to treat the fungus.

People usually use this method when they have skin fungus on their foot as the skin is tougher there and doesn’t get damaged easily.

But hydrogen peroxide can only treat surface-level fungus, so if the problem is caused by any internal deficiencies hydrogen peroxide won’t be able to cure it.

If you want to successfully remove skin tags using hydrogen peroxide, you need to take a cotton bud and apply the hydrogen peroxide very carefully to the skin tag is attached. The area will get white temporarily.

And as you continue doing this for a week or two, you will notice the skin tags blackening and turning into a scab which will then fall off on its own. So, best leave it alone and avoid tagging it.

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Can hydrogen peroxide cause skin irritation?

Hydrogen peroxide can cause skin irritation. It is actually a very common symptom found in almost 95% of people who use hydrogen peroxide on their skin. The severity of irritation depends on people’s skin.

However, people who have acne or acne-prone skin and also people who already suffer from allergy or any sort of rash will have a bad reaction to it and once that happens it will be hard to get rid of it completely.

The itchiness and irritation can be unbearable for some people which can cause the skin to become inflamed and give way to more skin-related issues like an acne flare-up or rash and will probably take days or even weeks to go down and heal completely.

Final thoughts:

Hydrogen peroxide can whiten skin because of a chemical reaction that takes place. But the whitened skin will go back to its natural shade after a while as the effect is temporary. But it is strongly advised not to use hydrogen peroxide on the skin to whiten it as it has many harmful side effects.