Anal bleaching (or anal lightening) is the process of bleaching the darker pigmentation (or melasma)on or around the anus, leaving a more even skin tone on lighter skin types.
The procedure, which entails the application of a cream to the anus, is stickily cosmetic. Anal bleaching is banned in some countries, namely France and the UK, due to the cream's active ingredients, namely hydroquinone, a long suspected carcinogen. Mercury and other chemicals are also be used as active skin bleaching agents.
How anal bleaching works
Melanin, a chemical naturally produced by our bodies, darkens skin color as a natural protectant from the sun. The more melanin produced, the darker the skin.
Hydroquinone, (a chemical also used in photo processing, hair dyes and rubber manufacturing), mercury and other lightening chemicals inhibit the skin's production of melanin, lightening the applied skin area.
Bleaching agents temporarily lighten skin color, but exposure to ultra violet rays may re-oxidize the skin, creating a darker appearance than before. This is a simplified reason why most skin bleaching or fading products warn against exposure to sunlight immediately after application.
The anus, however, gets little or no exposure to direct sunlight.
Is anal bleaching safe?
Prolonged use of hydroquinone can thicken collagen fibers, resulting in a spotty skin appearance. Long term mercury, a known carcinogenic, strips skin of its natural pigment.
Prolonged exposure to either can cause cancer, mercury poisoning, liver or kidney failure.
Anal bleaching can also cause chemical burns to an already sensitive area.
Are there less dangerous anal bleaching chemicals?
There are bleaching products, such as azelaic acid, that are less toxic but still serve to reduce melanin production and increase possible 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. I highly recommend consulting your doctor before attempting to bleach your own anus or visiting a salon that offers the service. Some anal bleaching kits or salons advertise safety, but there are risks associated with long term exposure to chemicals, especially known carcinogens.
Before considering anal bleaching, consider why you desire such a procedure. Ask yourself: Do I have issues with my body image?