Skin Bleaching/lightening or whitening is the process by which people dangerously use lotions,bar soaps,pills, shots,serums etc to attain a lighter skin tone. It is widespread around every corner of the world,since fair is considered beautiful, superior and generally better.
The skin lightening industry was estimated at $8.6 billion in 2020 and it’s estimated to reach $12.3 billion in 3 years time. People especially women around the world are risking their health using these skin whitening products, some of these products often include dangerous ingredients like steroids, Mercury and hydroquinone.
Globally, statistics show that the United States alone contributes up to 1/3rd of the $8.6 billion. 60% of Indians use these skin whitening products that makes Asia the leading continent in the market.
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How do these products work?
Skin bleaching creams are produced in a way to inhibit melanin production within the skin. Melanin is responsible for the production of the black pigment in skin of colour. Bleaching products blocks the formation of enzyme tyrosine(these helps in the formation of melanin). So, whenever melanin production is halt,the skin that is replaced appears to be lighter.
The problem with this is that naturally melanin has a vital role to play in UV rays protection. So without melanin you’re at a greater risk of developing different types of skin cancers.
Dangers Associated with Bleaching
The most common bleaching creams and lotions contains hydroquinone, corticosteroids,Mercury,gluthathione etc. While these products prove to be very effective when it comes to skin lightening the dangers can’t be over emphasized.
Products containing Mercury has been banned in the United States but products made in other countries still contains Mercury.
Mercury poisoning damages the nervous system,leads to kidney damages,disordered thoughts,acne,blue-gray discolourations etc.
Unregulated skin bleaching treatments which contain dangerously high concentrations of hydroquinone and corticosteroids will overtime cause skin cancers,kidney failure and liver damages.
So How Do We Tackle the Issue?
Skin bleaching products will always be produced as long as there’s a demand for it. There’ll always be a demand for it as long as colourism exists. Even though several countries have different legislature regarding this issue, black market sales ensures theit continues supply.
This problem needs to be tackled from the roots! The notion that “fair is beautiful” or the fact that the beauty standard naturally favours lighter skin needs to stop.
Even though colourism has been embedded in culturesand comes from the legacy of colonialism, there is still something we can all do to eliminate it. We all need to neglect the idea that lighter skin is better because it’s not!
Let us all love ourselves regardless of what colour we are. Let’s appreciate everyone for who they are.
Be it black, brown or white we’re all beautiful!!!