Intimate Complexion Control


Looking and feeling our best doesn’t have to be limited to the places that everyone sees –which is why vaginal and anal brightening has become part of the mainstream popular culture. Dr Judey Pretorius elaborates on this bold cosmetic trend, while unpacking its inner workings.

Skin brightening is an ancient and well documented practice that can be traced back to the 16th century in Asian countries, including India, China, Japan and Korea, and is mostly associated within the beauty industry. It is done for multiple reasons, ranging from aesthetic, psychological, sociological, political and even economic motivations.

Certain ingredients available on the market to brighten the skin fulfil multiple functions, as it’s not only limited to skin brightening, but also to facilitate general skin health – which inherently broadens the scope of use.

Skin brighteners at work

Skin brighteners are widely used to make the skin fairer. The rationale behind skin brightening actives are to diminish age spots, reduce excessive pigmentation and prevent overall skin discolouration. During the formulation of skin brightening products, it’s vital for one to use a respective range of innovative skin brightening actives that is scientifically formulated with a particular delivery system.

This is in order to encapsulate these actives that will ultimately weaken and manipulate the skin’s own melanin production, also known as the process of melanogenisis. Ideally, a combination of actives should be used to target the rate limiting enzyme in melanin synthesis, known as tyrosinase. The inclusion of ingredients with anti-oxidants and inflammatory properties will also assist to inhibit melanocyte stimulation.

Privates and pigmentations

Anal and vaginal skin discolouration is mostly associated with post inflammatory pigmentation, as the pigmentation occurs due to a history of distress proceeding the appearance of the skin, such as waxing, maceration, infections associated with the anal and genital areas, and even, but perhaps to a lesser extent, the exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Meanwhile, certain scheduled ingredients such as corticosteroids, hydroquinone, monobenzyl hydroquinone, tretinoin and mercury salts are highly effective for skin brightening, but requires ongoing medical supervision when prescribed. It may also entice great sensitivity and other side effects when used for vaginal or anal brightening. It must also be noted that the aforementioned ingredients have been banned by the EU regulation for the purpose of using the ingredients as skin lightening and brightening agents.

The alternatives

With this mind, much more gentle ingredients – such as arbutin, niacinamide, ascorbic acid, ellagic acid, glutathione, linolenic acid, malic acid and phenylalanine – have been subsequently developed for cosmetic purposes, and does not contain any colourants, dyes, fragrances or parabens. Additionally, these ingredients can be innovatively formulated within an encapsulated delivery system, which will reduce any form of side effects while gently providing a natural-even toned skin. Lastly, it’s essential for these gentle active ingredients to be used at fairly-low concentrations, as it this will ensure the safe cosmetic application for the consumer to use at least twice daily.

Ingredients at work

Moreover, active ingredients should not only be combined with elements rich in anti-oxidant activity such as vitamin E, but must also be able to reduce inflammation. Likewise, ingredients should carefully be chosen to promote more hydration to the mucous membrane (such a hyaluronic acid), while not disrupting the colony forming units of the natural vaginal and anal microbiome.

Active ingredients chosen for vaginal and anal brightening involves the inhibition of melanocyte activation genes at various steps, and should thus reduce the melanin production cascade at multiple synthesised steps during cell division. Amongst others, these would typically include;

  1. Inhibition of alpha-MSH (melanin stimulating hormone) signalling – the key activation pathway for melanin synthesis
  2. Decrease KIT (stem cell factor) gene expression within melanocytes
  3. Inhibit and decrease melanosome function and maturation
  4. Inhibit melanosome transport to keratinocytes
  5. Inhibit the conversion of tyrosine into the different types of pigmentation such as eumelanin or pheomelanin

In addition to producing an even and light skin tone, skin whitening agents are also used in anti-ageing and skin fairness products. Given that anti-ageing products are the most important growing market in cosmetics, skin whitening products are gaining prominence clinically and cosmetically.


Vaginal and anal brightening can also be used on other areas such as around the nipples and areolas. Many aesthetic practitioners recommend mild brightening products such as the Biomedical Emporium Complexion Vaginal and Anal Enhancers – as well as the Vaginal Douche – as good pre- and post-care options for professional procedures such as waxing, laser treatments, vaginal tightening and even labiaplasty.

For more information on this Biomedical Emporium product, visit

A2 Disclaimer: This article is published for information purposes only, and should therefore not be taken as an endorsement or advertisement for any product or medical treatment –  nor should it be regarded as a replacement for sound medical advice. 

CURRENT Issue 25 – March 2018 (Autumn)

This article was written by Dr Judey Pretorius and edited by the A2 team EXCLUSIVELY for the A2 Aesthetic & Anti-Ageing Magazine March 2018 Edition (Issue 25). 

A2 Magazine prints only four magazines each year – reporting seasonally on everything you need and want to know about aesthetics, anti-ageing, integrative medicine, quality and medical skin care, cosmetic dentistry and cosmetic surgery in South Africa – where to go, who to see, what to expect, something new and so much more! Never miss an edition – click here for more info about where you can buy the print and/or digital copy of A2 Magazine (including back copies).

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For more information on this Biomedical Emporium product, visit


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