Background: The cultural practice of skin bleaching is highly prevalent in Africa. Most reported cases of toxic effects of skinlightening products occur in this region. Objective: To describe cases of misuse of over-the-counter (OTC) cosmetic skin-lightening products occurring in Canadian immigrants. Methods: Two cases of Canadian immigrants with severe complications from OTC skin-bleaching agents were identified in a community-based dermatology practice in Toronto. The case histories were reviewed and analyzed. Results: A 28-year-old African-Canadian woman developed extensive striae from long-term use of a topical cream containing clobetasol that she had purchased in a Caribbean health food store. A 55-year-old African-Canadian woman developed exogenous ochronosis from the use of a topical bleaching agent she had purchased in Ghana. Conclusion: Cosmetic skin lightening with unregulated topical products occurs in Canada. Dermatologists working in Canada need to be aware of this practice to provide appropriate directive care.
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