Is anal bleaching safe?
There's no denying it: Being overly concerned with the shade of the skin around your butthole is pretty damn superficial. (Who can forget the fight between Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph in Bridesmaids
that culminates with the latter's character screaming, "Her asshole is bleached and you know how I know? I went to the fucking salon and got my asshole bleached too and I love my new asshole!")
There is absolutely no medical reason to lighten the area and having a darker skin tone between the cheeks is completely normal, caused by "hair removal methods such as waxing and shaving and friction of any kind in the area, which activates the melanocytes that cause the color change," says gynecologist Carolyn Delucia, MD, of VSPOT
in New York City. Still, if an even-toned anus is what you're after, here's how to go about it responsibly.
If you're attempting an at-home job, avoid any products that don't clearly state what the lightening agent is, and what percentage of it is in the formula. Nine times out of 10, it'll be hydroquinone, which "works by decreasing the production of pigment in the skin," says board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner
, MD. He calls hydroquinone one of the most effective treatments available, but warns against making direct contact with the anus. "If you develop any burning, stinging, redness, or peeling of the skin in that area, discontinue use and make sure to apply a bland moisturizer to the area," he says. Wagner recommends kojic acid as a safer alternative to hydroquinone, saying: "It's naturally derived and has a much lower risk of injuring the skin in the brightening process."
Still, you're better off going to a professional for a chemical bleaching (it's a common treatment at many medical spas) or, safest yet, getting a laser lightening procedure. At VSPOT, Dr. Delucia uses a laser to lighten the skin around the genitals and anus and adds that "when done cautiously, it will give a quicker resolution than chemical bleaching." You can expect to see results after three treatments spaced out over about eight weeks, but there will always be a need for touch-ups, since it's impossible to avoid all friction that causes darkening.