Skin bleaching causes body odour, African study confirms

An extensive study conducted by African researchers in 2008 found that “body odour” is one of the common complications of skin bleaching, DNB Stories Africa reports.

In the study published in the International Society of Dermatology in May 2008, the researchers found that prolonged application of skin bleaching creams will over time give the body a distinctive bad odour, resembling the smell of rotten fish.

This “rotten fish smell” is called “fish odour syndrome” or trimethylaminuria – a condition caused by an abnormal presence of trimethylamine in sweat, urine, and other body secretions.

The study stated that the active ingredients found in skin bleaching products such as hydroquinone, mercury and corticosteroids are capable of producing “serious and fatal” complications when used for a “long duration, on a large body surface area, and under hot humid conditions”.

“The complications of these products are very serious and are sometimes fatal. Some of these complications are exogenous ochronosis, impaired wound healing and wound dehiscence, fish odour syndrome, nephropathy, steroid addiction syndrome, predisposition to infections, a broad spectrum of cutaneous and endocrinologic complications of corticosteroids, including suppression of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis”, part of the study reads.

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