Dr Novikova explaining genital bleaching to patient in her office.

What is genital skin lightening or bleaching or depigmentation treatment?

It is a procedure to lighten darkened skin in genital area – labia majora, internal thighs, perianal area.

Who requests genital bleaching?

Women develop darkened skin during pregnancies and as they age. Some women do not like the appearance and request procedures to lighten the skin. It is purely cosmetic procedure to improve appearance.

How is genital skin depigmentation performed?

We are excited to offer Mesoesthetic intimate depigmentation treatment which is once off procedure performed by a therapist in the office. The darkened skin is cleaned, peel is applied for 7 minutes, then neutralised and a mask is applied. The treated skin is wrapped in clinwrap and the post-procedure advice is given to wash off the mask with copious amounts of lukewarm water in 2 hours and apply another mask for 15 minutes and wipe it off after that.

A home serum is used daily for 1-2 months starting 2 days after the peel.

This peel contains a combination of very effective and safe ingredients to lighten the skin such as tranexamic acid, lactic acid, kojic acid, niacinamide, 4-butylreorcinol, diosmine, retinyl palmilate, ferulic acid, glycyrrhiza glabra root.

The results speak for themselves!

Dr Novikova also offers CO2 laser skin lightening in Cape Town office only.

The darker skin tones are not suitable for laser skin lightening due to risk hypopigmentation (patchy white areas appearing following the laser treatment) and in such cases we use Mesoesthetic peel. Laser skin lightening is performed in the office. Dr Novikova will clean the skin with a special antiseptic solution and skin is numbed with a cream before the procedure. Women usually need 3-6 laser sessions to get the desired result.

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

At times doctor will prescribe a medication called tranexamic acid (tablets taken orally) to enhance the hyperpigmentation treatment process.

What is post-procedure care?

The 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.

Both peel and laser cause skin microtrauma which potentially can lead to increased risk of STI transmission so practicing safe sex is important. There is no downtime after the procedure, but if there is increased sensitivity patients are advised to avoid sexual activity until it disappears, usually from a few days to up to a week.

What are the contraindications to the procedure?

Active infection, cancer, autoimmune conditions. Women who have a history of genital herpes will be prescribed antiviral medications to prevent herpes outbreak.