I couldn’t remember the number of times some desi aunty, I bumped into once or twice a year, meet me and after exchanging salam never forgets to comment on my skin tone, pigmentation and acne scars. Some are kind enough to bless me with few home remedies too because ‘gora rang’ is all you need to survive in this world. Talent and education what? No bro, if you have fair skin you definitely will become successful. If only I would get a dollar for every time some aunty pitied me for having brown skin, I would convert it to rupees and become rich.
Melanin is a brown pigment produced in the melanocytes in the skin. Melanin is the body’s natural protection against the harmful effects of UV rays, however, an over production of melanin (hyperpigmentation) can cause uneven skin tones and other skin disorders.
Fair Skin Is Everything?
I don’t know when and how lighter skin tones become criteria for looking beautiful. We raise our children in households where fair color is considered pretty while brown skin tone is treated as some kind of disease that needs to be treated somehow. Means we are raising our children with complex. We are incorporating into their minds that they need to look a certain way or else they won’t be considered beautiful.
Pakistan and India are among the top consumers of whitening or bleaching creams. The reason is beauty standards set by some idiot we don’t even know. I used to think I am pretty until I reached my teens and every single female relative started suggesting different whitening creams and ‘totkay’. I became so disappointed with myself that I even started using few of the creams but there was no such result as they portray in their advertisements. It took me a lot of time and effort to make myself realize that I am not ugly and that I am pretty in my own different way.
It’s okay to get influenced once in a while, scrolling through Instagram app and seeing your favorite celebrities slaying with fair and fresh skin, without any pigmentation and looking ah-mazing but do keep in mind they are wearing so many layers of makeup plus there is photoshop involved, ALWAYS.
Why you shouldn’t be using skin whitening products:
All these whitening and bleaching creams have various harmful chemicals which can ruin the skin and can cause severe skin diseases due to long term use. These chemicals can be hydroquinone, mercury and steroids which are even banned in some countries due to their adverse effects.
Hydroquinone: it is a very harmful chemical which is used in whitening creams because it is a very powerful bleaching agent. It causes skin lightening because it reduces the production of melanin. It has been banned due to its cytotoxic and carcinogenic effects in many countries and many groups are demanding FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to ban it completely.
But currently products that contain 2% hydroquinone are being sold over the counter while the one containing 4% hydroquinone are being sold on prescription.
It has various side effects like skin rashes, burning, skin irritation, excessive redness and a dryness or cracking of the skin. It can even make skin susceptible to sun’s UV rays hence can cause sun burns.
Prolonged use of hydroquinone can cause ochronosis in which there is blue-black darkening in certain areas of the skin.
Mercury: It is a toxic chemical which is readily absorbed in body but can’t be removed easily. Its side effects can be skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring. Long term exposure to mercury can have more serious health consequences. It can even damage kidney and nervous system. On long term basis it causes depression and interferes with the development of brain in unborn children and very young children.
Steroids: steroids are useful in treating some of the skin diseases like eczema, dermatitis etc but it is not intended for skin lightening. They are usually prescribed by dermatologist but for short period of time.
It causes vasoconstriction hence gives the effect of lighter skin. It stops the production of new cells and melanin so skin color eventually becomes lighter.
It cause the skin to become thin hence veins can become prominent. It can even interfere with hormonal level of body and can cause cushing’s syndrome which affects adrenal glands.
As a society it’s our duty to eliminate these obnoxious standards of beauty. We have to realize that everyone is beautiful in their own unique way. If you want to be good looking it’s less about the way you look and more about the way you feel, dress up and present yourself. Even if these whitening products are not being banned by the government, we should stand up for ourselves and stop using them all together. And stop expecting to look like snapchat filters in real life.
If you wanna look good instead of using these creams opt for healthy diet plan. A healthy and glowing skin looks more beautiful than a white pale one. What amazes me most is that white people spend lots of money on self tanners just to give brown tint to their skin tone and although we are already blessed with such beautiful skin color, we want to lighten it somehow. Start loving yourself the way you look.
So the next time you go and buy foundation, instead buying the one which is hundred shades lighter than your original skin color buy the one which is exact match. Just to balance your uneven skin tone, instead of trying to look ‘gora’. And if someone suggest you to use any such creams ask them to shut up and mind their own business.