Fans are speculating on social media that mega-star Beyonce is lightening her skin after recent photos show her skin looking unusually whiter than usual.
Last weekend, the 42-year-old diva lit up the red carpet for the US premiere of Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé.
She sported platinum-blond locks and a silver gown, but social media users were more drawn to her skin tone.
Fans on Twitter questioned if the mega-star has lightened her skin.
User @LibraGoddess106 said: ‘Did she bleach her skin. She is not this light.’ @OlympusPlatinum said: ‘Who is this white woman?’ Another user commented: ‘So she’s not black anymore.’
It’s unclear if Beyonce’s skin tone is the result of photo editing or lightening products.
Life-threatening effects of skin bleaching treatments
But the images have triggered stark warnings by health experts – who have voiced serious concerns about celebrities ‘encouraging’ the treatment.
Dr Deetej Singh, dermatologist and founder of Sandia Dermatology in Albuquerque, New Mexico, told DailyMail.com that ‘messing with mother nature’ and lightening skin can have lasting health consequences, such as skin inflammation, discoloration, and even organ failure.
Skin bleaching involves rubbing products on the skin such as creams and lotions that reduce melanin, the pigment that gives color to hair, eyes, and skin.
People with darker skin have more melanin, though hormones and sunlight can also impact melanin production.
The treatment is also meant to minimize dark spots, reduce acne scars, and even out skin tone.
In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deemed over-the-counter skin-bleaching products unsafe for use in humans due to the ingredient hydroquinone, which has been shown to cause skin discoloration, rashes, and facial swelling.
Excess amounts of hydroquinone could lead to exogenous ochronosis, a disorder that results in blue-black skin pigmentation.
Several products also contain mercury. Mercury-laced lightening products seep through the skin into the bloodstream, where the heavy metals block the production of melanin.
These products have been linked to organ damage, rashes, infections, coma, and death.