Vera’s (not real name) boyfriend has the lust for fair ladies — he just couldn’t keep his eyes off them. In order to secure her man and her future Vera, who was dark skinned, started using bleaching agents so that she can become fair. Now she has the skin complexion she’s always longed for; however, this didn’t save her relationship.
What Is Skin Bleaching?
Skin bleaching refers to the deliberate act of using substances to lighten one’s skin. These may be creams, soaps, pills or injections.
Why Do People Bleach?
There are many reasons people bleach: One is because they have scars, spots or marks they want to remove; another reason is that of portrayals of beautiful fair people on social and conventional media. There is also a general perception that fair people are more beautiful and they get treated with preference when it comes to relationships, employment and generally in the society.
What Do These Agents Contain?
A lot of these products contain mercury (a toxic agent), corticosteroids and hydroquinone.
How Do Bleaching Products Work?
What these products do is to affect melanin production. Melanin provides pigment to the skin and protects it from the sun rays.
Are There Health Benefits of Bleaching?
There are medical skin conditions that can require the use of bleaching products; therefore, a dermatologist can prescribe them, but at controlled levels, to treat disorders such as hyperpigmentation. However, it is not advisable to go all out bleaching one’s entire skin.
What About Expensive Creams and Soaps?
People generally believe that the more the cost of a skin product, the less the risks associated with it. However, the cost of a product has little correlation with its ability to prevent adverse reactions or cancer.
What Are The Risks?
By far the greatest argument against the use of bleaching products is the risk of causing skin cancer; mercury content is particularly implicated. Other medical risks include adverse skin reactions, which may even become life-threatening. Also, such products can cause the skin to thin out, causing ulcers and poor wound healing.
One disadvantage that is not well known is the potential of these products to cross the placenta, putting an unborn baby at risk.
I Don’t Like My Skin. What Options Do I Have?
We are all unique, and the grass is never really greener on the other side. People have received international recognition, for being proud of their unique skin tones; an example is Winnie Harlow, a renowned fashion model with Vitiligo, a skin condition that causes depigmentation.
Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o is also known for her very dark skin.
If you feel your skin tone is uneven, it’s best to book an appointment with a dermatologist and do it right.