Scientists have reported discovery of the active ingredients in an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine for skin whitening, changing skin color to a lighter shade.
The ingredients are poised for clinical trials as a safer, more effective alternative to skin whitening creams and lotions that millions of women and some men use in Asia and elsewhere, they said.
The report was among more than 9,500 presentations at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
The finding, which caps an intense search for these natural skin lightening substances, could be a boon to women in Asian countries, said study leader Hui-Min Wang, Ph.D.
Dozens of skin whitening creams, lotions, and other products are on sale throughout Asia.
Some products contain toxic mercury, hydroquinone, and other potentially toxic substances that can cause redness, itching, inflammation and other skin problems.
Some whitening ingredients could increase the risk of skin cancer when used frequently and at high doses,study leader Hui-Min Wang, Ph.D. said, citing the need for safer, more effective alternatives.
Toxic skin whitening creams are a growing threat to women’s health, especially in Asia, according to Wang .
He hopes that the product will improve lives and provide a safer, more natural way to lighten skin based on these herbal ingredients, he added.