Serum total antioxidant capacity and hydrogen peroxide in pregnant women using skin lightening creams and cord serum of their babies at birth


Background: Skin lightening creams have been reported to have deleterious effects on the users, but no such report was encountered on pregnant women and their fetuses. Also, there is paucity of information on the mechanisms of these effects.

Method: Spectrophotometer was used to determine the levels of total antioxidant capacity (an antioxidant) and H2O2 (an oxidant) in sera of pregnant women using skin lightening creams and cord sera of their babies compared with pregnant women not using skin lightening creams.

Results: The mean level of H2O2 in sera of mothers using skin lightening cream or the sera from cord blood of their babies was significantly higher compared with non-skin lightening cream users (p< 0.05 respectively). However, the mean level of total antioxidant capacity (TAC) in cord sera of babies from mothers using skin lightening cream was significantly reduced compared with cord sera of babies from mothers not using skin lightening cream. There was significant positive correlation between levels of maternal TAC and maternal H2O2 (r=0.408; p=0.048) or levels of maternal serum H2O2 level and babies’ cord H2O2 (r=0.399; p=0.049) in pregnant women using lightening creams. This study suggests that skin lightening creams might be harmful to pregnant women and their babies.
Keywords: Oxidant-antioxidants, Pregnancy, Skin lightening.

Contexte: Il a été rapporté que les crèmes cutanées éclaircissantes ont des effets délétères sur les utilisatrices, mais aucun rapport de ce type n’a été rencontré sur les femmes enceintes et leurs fœtus. De plus, il y a une pénurie d’information sur les mécanismes de ces effets.

Méthode: Un spectrophotomètre a été utilisé pour déterminer les niveaux de capacité antioxydante totale (un antioxydant) et de H2O2 (un oxydant) dans les sérums de femmes enceintes utilisant des crèmes cutanées éclaircissantes et des sérums de cordon de leurs bébés par rapport aux femmes enceintes n’utilisant pas de crèmes cutanées éclaircissantes.

Résultats: Le niveau moyen de H2O2 dans les sérums des mères utilisant une crème cutanée éclaircissante ou les sérums de sang de cordon de leurs bébés était significativement plus élevé par rapport aux utilisatrices de crèmes cutanées non-éclaircissantes (p <0,05 respectivement). Cependant, le niveau moyen de capacité antioxydante totale (CAT) dans les sérums de cordon de bébés de mères utilisant une crème cutanée éclaircissante était significativement réduit par rapport aux sérums de cordon de bébés de mères n’utilisant pas de crème cutanée éclaircissante. Il y avait une corrélation positive significative entre les niveaux de CAT maternelle et H2O2maternelle (r = 0,408; p = 0,048) ou les niveaux de sérum maternel niveau d’H2O2 et le cordon de bébés H2O2
(r = 0,399; p = 0,049) chez les femmes enceintes utilisant des crèmes éclaircissantes. Cette étude suggère que les crèmes cutanées éclaircissantes pourraient être nuisibles pour les femmes enceintes et leurs bébés.

Mots clés: Oxydant-antioxydants, Grossesse, Éclaircissement de la peau.

Correspondence: Prof. O.G. Arinola, Department of Chemical Pathology, Colleg of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. E-mail:



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