Skin bleaching, lightening, or whitening refers to the practice in which individuals utilize potentially harmful products including lotions, bar soaps, tablets, shots, and serums, among other things, in order to achieve a lighter skin tone. As a result of the prevalent belief that fair skin is more attractive, advanced, and overall superior, it may be found in every region of the world.
It was expected that the skin lightening market would be worth $8.6 billion in 2020, and it is anticipated that this number will increase to $12.3 billion in three years. People all over the world, and especially women, are putting their health at risk by using skin lightening treatments. Many of these products contain potentially harmful substances, such as steroids, mercury, and hydroquinone, and some of these products contain all three.
According to the available information, the United States alone accounts for up to one third of the total of $8.6 billion contributed worldwide. Because sixty percent of people in India use these skin whitening treatments, Asia is currently the dominant continent in the industry.
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?
As long as people want them, skin bleaching products will always be made. As long as colorism exists, there will always be a need for it. Even though different countries have different laws about this issue, sales on the black market make sure that it keeps coming.
We need to get to the bottom of this issue! The idea that “fair is beautiful” or that lighter skin is seen as more beautiful needs to stop.
Even though colorism has been a part of cultures for a long time and is a result of colonialism, there is still something we can all do to get rid of it. We should all stop thinking that lighter skin is better, because it’s not!
No matter what color we are, let’s all love ourselves. Let’s like everyone just the way they are.
We are all beautiful, whether we are black, brown, or white.