A warning has been issued over the use of illegal skin-bleaching creams after a case study in the Lancet detailed a hormone disorder developed by a 28-year-old woman who used the creams for several years.

In the Lancet, medics from west London's Hammersmith Hospital, said the woman gained 28 pounds, became infertile and developed severe stretch marks over a three-year period, it is reported by BBC.

The problem, say doctors, is that some skin bleaches, contain steroids. The patient in the Lancet report also developed thin, bruised skin, mild hair growth on her back and face, and muscle weakness.

Doctors diagnosed her with Cushing's syndrome, which is caused by high levels of steroid hormones such as cortisol in the blood.

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Click here to see this study in the Lancet (registration required)