ASkin- bleaching: A Fair Concept?
Skin- bleaching: A Fair Concept? It is no surprise that India has an obsession with fair skin. I have always thought about why most people equate beauty with fairness. You read any matrimonial magazine, website or newspaper and you can find that there is an everlasting need of tall, fair, beautiful women. Therefore, there is no value for her individual identity, likes and dislikes, qualifications, skills etc. The media is rampant with advertisements that are biased towards fair-skin. They use the vulnerability of dusky-skinned people as a means to market and sell their fairness products.
Why The Obsession?
The obsession of having a fairer skin amongst us has allowed many gimmicky companies to convince us that our happiness ultimately depends on our fairness. It is an encouraging sign to see the dawn of the dusk on the silver screen but the basic mentality of most Asian cultures remains intact, i.e. Fair is beautiful. For Indians, skin bleaching as an important step in their grooming routine. Today I am going to list out reasons why skin-bleaching ends up destroying skin.
Enjoy looking like a panda?
Using skin lighteners over time can cause thinning of the skin around eyes as that’s the most sensitive region and this may lead to hyper-pigmentation of the area around eyes, an effect known as bleach panda effect
Using skin bleach will result in skin thinning and gradually make your skin wrinkled and damaged over time.
More damage when you go out in the sun-
UV rays will affect bleached skin even more harshly. Also most bleach products contain hydroquinone, which can make the skin more vulnerable to harmful rays from the sunlight.
The skin-whitening products use active ingredients, such as mercurous chloride and hydroquinone which are extremely toxic and cause cancer. Europe has put a ban on Hydroquinone. A dermatologist can prescribe it that too under strict circumstances.
Uneven skin tone-
The bleaching cream will tend to lighten the skin, but oxidation between the sun and chemicals starts darkening the skin. Hence the skin may either appear lighter or darker than normal. As a result, it may even become blotchy, uneven, patches of brown to gray discoloration etc.
Aggravated skin diseases-
Skin diseases like acne, eczema, dermatitis, etc may worsen up after a skin-bleaching session.
Normal skin heals itself through 4 processes: Haemostasis (blood clotting), Inflammation, Proliferation (growth of skin tissue) and Maturation (remodeling). When the skin is exposed to continuous doses of skin whiteners, it loses its ability to heal exacerbating injuries, lesions or rashes.
Many bleaching agents contain mercury and according to WHO, mercury poisoning can cause: Kidney damage, skin rashes, discoloration and scarring, reduction in skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections, anxiety, depression or psychosis and peripheral neuropathy (damage of peripheral nerves), nephrotic syndrome (a condition marked by high levels of protein in urine)
It is better to stay away from instant gratification by skin whitening agents, as they are very harmful in the long run. It is always better to invest in organic skincare and using home remedies to make your skin achieve a healthy glow. Learn to love your melanin, it gives your skin a built-in armor against sunlight and ageing.