Anal and vaginal bleaching have gained popularity in the past 15 years, becoming an in demand cosmetic treatment all over the world. There are many reasons behind this trend: the popularity of inguinal waxing and permanent genital hair removal, many taboos around our genitals ceased to exist, increased interest in a curated intimate aesthetic, internet and adult videos diffusion. All of these contributed to why people started to dislike the difference in color between the genital and anal areas and the rest of the skin and idealize the perfect “designer vagina” as the one with an even tone with the surrounding skin.
Anal and Vaginal hyperpigmentation
Anal and vulvar darker pigmentation is physiological, but many factors may cause hyperpigmentation with an increased difference between the tone of these areas and the rest of body:
- Dermatologic conditions, such as lentigines, melanosis, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, seborrheic keratoses, acanthosis nigricans, warts, lichen planus and psoriasis.
- Systemic conditions such as Cushing disease and Addison disease.
- Physical/mechanical reasons, such as waxing or the continuous rubbing of the skin with tight garments that may cause irritation.
Anal and vaginal lightening procedures
There are many ways to bleach and even out the tone of the anal and vaginal area with the rest of the body. It is recommended to always go to a specialist, such as a dermatologist or a cosmetic surgeon and not resort to homemade treatments: these areas are very sensitive and improper treatments may cause irritation or harm and complications.
Lactic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid derived from milk and commonly used in cosmetic preparations. It improves skin hydration, coloration and quality.
Azelaic acid is a non-phenolic skin lightening agent derived from a fungus that lives on human skin. By interfering with tyrosinase activity it reduces melanin synthesis and exhibits skin lightening properties.
Mandelic acid is another alpha-hydroxy acid, but it is derived from almonds. It improves skin hydration, coloration and quality.
G-Peel treatment (genital peel)
The G-Peel treatment is a type of chemical peel specifically formulated for the genital area. Due to the high sensitivity of the vagina and anus and the continuous rubbing with clothing, an aggressive treatment could damage the skin and cause complications. After cleaning the area, the solution is applied on the skin for 15-20 minutes and then gently removed. This process should be repeated every 2 weeks for about 2 months or until achieving the desired results.
Fractional CO2 Lasers
Lasers are commonly used in aesthetic and dermatologic practices for many purposes, including the treatment of hyperpigmentation. In selected patients, anal and vaginal lightening can be achieved with a fractional CO2 laser.
Also known as transdermal electroporation, dermoelectroporation is a technology that uses a medical device that emits electrical impulses and changes the permeability of the skin, allowing large molecules to be delivered deep in the skin layers instead of just being applied to the skin’s surface with little to no penetration depending on the properties of the molecule.
Vitamin C creams used in conjunction with dermoelectroporation devices can help achieve genital lightening.
Risks and complications of anal and vaginal bleaching
As per many other female cosmetic genital procedures there is a lack of data, long term studies and information on side effects and complications regarding the anal and vaginal skin lightening treatment. It is important to have a consultation with a medical professional experienced in such procedures and avoid homemade treatments: the perianal and the vulvar areas are very close to mucosal tissues; by applying a product in these areas there is the risk of systemic absorption of the active ingredient.
Among the possible complications of anal and vaginal bleaching procedures there are:
- Post-Inflammatory hyperpigmentation
- Altered sensation in the treated area
- Dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse)
- Chronic Vulvar pain
- International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease Recommendations Regarding Female Cosmetic Genital Surgery.
P Vieira-Baptista et al. – Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease, Oct 2018
- Female Cosmetic Genital Surgery – Concepts, Classifications and Techniques
CA Hamori, PE Banwell, R Alinsod – Thieme, 2017