What is genital bleaching?

Vaginal and anal bleaching, collectively reffered to as genital bleaching is a procedure to lighten darkened skin in genital areas – labia majora, internal thighs and the perianal area.

Who requests this procedure?

Genital bleaching has been requested by women and men with concerns regarding discolouration in the intimate area.  Women develop darkened skin during pregnancies and as they age. Discolouration may even be genetic or as a result of hormonal changes. This condition may be a concern for women who do not like the appearance of darkened skin and as a result experience poor self-esteem and sexual dysfunction.

How is genital bleaching performed in our Cape Town & Johannesburg practice?

We use two types of genital skin lightening depending on the patient’s skin tone. Overall, skin lightening, particularly genital bleaching, is a timely process which requires a fair amount of dedication due to the number of sessions (either laser or peel)which  are required to achieve the desired effect. As a patient it may become frustrating when the effect is not evident after the first couple of treatments.

Laser skin lightening is performed in the office. Dr Novikova will clean the skin with a special antiseptic solution before the procedure and use CO2 laser to bleach the skin.  The procedure takes place using a latest-generation special laser. Depending on the severity of the discoloration, women usually need 3-6 sessions to get the desired result. Each session lasts for 10-15 minutes and is done on an outpatient basis. The procedure is performed using local anesthesia and is a low-risk procedure.

Darker skin tones are not suitable for laser bleaching due to risk of hypo-pigmentation (patchy white areas appearing following the laser treatment) and in such cases we use cosmeceutical skin lightening. Cosmeceutical products are used to improve and enhance the skin’s appearance, by using biologically active ingredients. This group of products work on a cellular and molecular level in order to be potently effective and safe.  Skin lightening ingredients are applied in addition to a peel with micro-needling. Cosmeceutical skin lightening requires 3-6 sessions (and sometimes more) to achieve the desired result. We advise a combination of our treatments with the home use of genital skin lightening cream which should be applied daily.

Dr Novikova will assess your skin and prescribe an individualized personal treatment and topical, prescription only medication will be specifically mixed according to your needs and applied in the consultation room.

Genital bleaching can be safely combined with other cosmetic procedures. Bleaching is done in doctor’s office and does not require general anesthetic.

What is post-procedure care?

When undergoing genital bleaching, sun exposure to the area should be strictly avoided for 6 months. You should use SPF cream in the area when undergoing any sun exposure even in areas covered by clothes. There is no special care following actual office treatments (either laser or peel) except to avoid washing for 24 hours following the treatment.


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