Anal bleaching involves using a chemical, laser, or other substance to lighten the appearance of a person’s anus. While the process serves no medical purpose, a person may wish to bleach their anus for cosmetic or aesthetic reasons.

An individual interested in bleaching their anus can choose to buy products for home use or visit a professional who can perform the procedure. The safety, cost, and effectiveness vary according to the method.

This article explores what is involved in anal bleaching, its safety, and more.

A person sitting on a chair and wearing a bathrobe.Share on Pinterest
Carolina Conte/EyeEm/Getty Images

The skin around the anus is naturally darker. Anal bleaching is a cosmetic procedure that aims to lighten the appearance of the skin around the anus.

People may wish to undergo anal bleaching for cosmetic reasons.

Though anal bleaching can involve chemicals, it does not use bleach. A person should never pour or use bleach on their skin.

What if a person is being pressured to get it done?

An individual should only undergo anal bleaching if that is what they want. They can, and should, deny getting the procedure done if they are not comfortable with it.

If a person’s partner has attempted to pressure them into undergoing anal bleaching, they can try explaining that it is expected for the skin around the anus to be darker. However, this may only be an option if they feel safe enough to do this.

If this does not work, they may wish to consider ending the relationship or distancing themselves from their partner.

Pressuring someone to change their appearance can be a form of coercive control, a type of psychological and emotional abuse.

If people are experiencing abuse in their relationship, they may wish to contact the following helplines:

Learn more about coercive control.

According to a 2021 article, skin bleaching products inhibit tyrosinase, which reduces the production of melanin. Melanin is the name for the natural pigments in the skin, hair, and nails.

Skin bleaching products usually contain ingredients such as:

  • hydroquinone
  • arbutin
  • azelaic acid
  • kojic acid

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) notes that skin bleaching typically refers to the use of over-the-counter (OTC) products.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate some bleaching products. As a result, these items may contain high levels of topical steroids and hydroquinone.

Using them can cause:

  • rashes
  • acne
  • scarring
  • skin ulcers
  • thinning skin

Using skin bleaching creams can be safe, providing a person does so under the supervision of a dermatologist. If someone decides to undergo anal bleaching, it is safer to visit a professional.

The 2021 article notes that, without medical supervision, a person may also experience:

  • exogenous ochronosis, which refers to blue-black pigmentation that occurs as a result of long-term use of skin lightening creams containing hydroquinone
  • elastosis, which refers to changes to the skin tone and texture
  • hypertrichosis, which refers to excessive hair growth

A person can bleach their anus at home using OTC products.

However, before doing so, people should talk with a dermatologist to ensure that the product they have chosen is safe to use.

How to do anal bleaching at home

To bleach the anus at home, people should follow the packet instructions carefully to reduce the chance of adverse effects.

Before applying the cream, they should clean the anus, ensuring that there are no open wounds.

People may wish to visit a dermatologist to undergo anal bleaching. As the AAD states, using skin bleaching creams can be safe under the supervision of a board certified dermatologist. However, this usually refers to treating skin conditions, such as melasma.

Alternatively, a person may wish to ask about laser bleaching. This uses light therapy to help lighten the skin around the anus.

Those interested in laser bleaching should ask the dermatologist if they offer it as an option.

A person can often find bleaching services at local salons, cosmetic surgery centers, and some dermatologist offices.

When finding a professional, people should ensure that:

  • the facility is clean
  • the professional uses hygienic tools and procedures
  • the facility and staff have positive reviews

The AAD recommends that a person should ensure that the dermatologist is board certified.

A board certified dermatologist has the initials “FAAD” after their name. If this is not the case, people can look for a dermatologist who has certification from the:

  • American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  • American Board of Dermatology

Before undergoing the procedure, people should discuss the possible risks and side effects.

A person should consider talking with a doctor before getting their anus bleached. A doctor can rule out an underlying condition that may cause darkened skin.

If a healthcare professional rules out potential health concerns, a person can go on to talk with the facility offering the services about what they need to do before the procedure.

Some steps an individual may find helpful include:

  • avoid shaving and hair removal beforehand to minimize skin irritation
  • avoid sexual intercourse leading up to the appointment
  • wear loose-fitting clothing that reduces friction

Appointments and procedures can vary between facilities. They will also vary according to whether the person chooses to use topical creams or laser therapy.

At the appointment, a person will need to undress from the waist down. The professional will provide further instructions regarding what position they should be in, so they can access the right areas. They will also clean and dry the skin before applying a numbing agent.

They will then apply the cream or use the laser to perform the procedure.

Following the treatment, a person may need to continue to lay still for a few minutes. Their technician will let them know when it is safe to move again.

Q:

How long will the appointment last, and how many appointments might a person require to see results?

Anonymous

A:

The appointment’s length of time will be dependent on which service is being provided — bleaching versus laser. In general, the appointment should typically not take longer than 30 minutes. With the laser treatment, more time may be needed due to a topical anesthetic numbing agent being applied and allowing time for it to take effect. The number of appointments will also vary depending on which treatment option you choose. The bleaching treatment may require two treatment appointments, after which time the cream may be sent home with you and allowed to be applied at home. The laser treatment will normally take several treatment appointments, possibly three to six times, until the desired result is achieved.

Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANPAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Is it painful?

Creams or ointments may cause stinging or tingling sensations.

Those undergoing laser treatments may experience sensations similar to burning or electrical pulses.

After bleaching the anus, people should follow all instructions from the professional or on the packaging of their home product.

A person should contact a doctor if they experience the following symptoms, as these can indicate an infection or allergic reaction:

  • swelling
  • inflammation
  • soreness or pain
  • the skin is warm to the touch

How long to avoid anal sex?

A person should ask the professional or read the instructions on their OTC product to determine the best length of time to avoid anal intercourse, either before or after the procedure.

A person will need continual treatments to lighten the color of the anus and maintain results.

If they visited a salon or other facility, they should consult the professional to determine how frequently they need to return for treatment.

If they have used OTC products, they should follow any instructions on the packet regarding how often they can use the product.

Costs will vary according to several factors, including what product they chose or the cost of the procedure.

Since it is a cosmetic procedure, it is unlikely that health insurance plans will cover anal bleaching.

Although OTC products may be less expensive, they may carry a higher risk of adverse effects. A person will be able to find OTC products at drugstores, salons, spas, or cosmetic surgery offices.

Anal bleaching aims to lighten the skin around the anus. This is purely a cosmetic decision and has no health benefits.

A person can choose to get professional treatment using creams, ointments, or lasers. Or they can opt to use an OTC cream or ointment.

Although likely safe under the supervision of a medical professional, using OTC products may contain high levels of ingredients, such as hydroquinone, that may cause adverse effects.

A person should only undergo this procedure if they want to. If they are feeling pressure from their peers or partners, they may wish to distance themselves from these relationships and seek help.