Skin bleaching can be defined as the removal of the upper layer of one’s skin through the application of creams that contain chemicals. It can also be defined as the permanent or temporal changing of a person’s complexion through the rubbing of various creams that are capable of changing the skin.
How does it work?
Skin lightening products work by reducing a pigment called melanin. Melanin is that thing which makes the skin look darker. So, the greater the melanin, the darker the skin. Hence, applying those skin lightening products disrupts melanin production therefore making the skin to lighten.
Most lightening agents contain active ingredients such as hydroquinone, mercury and corticosteroids.
Jobs and success
Isn’t it strange? That in the 21st century you need to be light skin in order to get some particular jobs. Well if you doubt it please know it is so true and I can testify to that.
I remember during one long holiday I got to work at a certain bakery and I was told that mostly light skinned girls could work as receptionist. I’m sure you already guessed why. It is certainly a good business strategy to not only attract customers but also to keep them coming.
That’s smart… right? but I just begin to wonder, what if all jobs were meant just for light skin women, what would become of dark women ehhh!!! Luckily, some dark ladies are using their skin color to be successful. Find out here
By the way, why would customers be attracted mostly to the lighter skin in the first place ? This brings me to the next point…
Generally, we’ve been made to believe that a light skin person is more acceptable in the society. We even have some body lotion companies saying ‘white is purity’ in their adverts.
No wonder, I came across an advert in which a Chinese lady put a dark man into a washing machine and the end result was a white man whom she adored. Now how funny is that? does it mean that we dark people are somewhat impure? and if light skin is fair, is dark skin unfair ? ( I could really use the thinking emoji now).
Most women engage in skin lightening because light skin is associated with higher status and privilege. Some women also bleach in order to attract high status mates. It is also believed that lighter skin looks better in photographs and the images usually get more views when posted on social media.
Skin lightening products can be used medicinally for the treatment of post inflammatory pigmentation. These are dark spots that appear because of injury to the skin or inflammation like acne.
It could also be used to remove discolored patches that appear on the face due to excess sun exposure or hormonal changes during pregnancy or as a result of birth control pills.
FDA recommends a short term use of hydroquinone (that is not more than 5 months) with a maximum dose of 2%. However, there’s still a lot of controversy with respect to hydroquinone as it has been proven to be carcinogenic hence increasing the risk of skin cancer
It is indeed true that all that glitters is not gold because when these products are used, they get into the bloodstream thereby affecting organs like the brain, kidney and liver. So while everything may be going on well on the outside, the inside might not look so good.
Here are some of the side effects of bleaching
- Thinning of the skin
- Uneven color loss
- Redness, swelling and irritation
- A burning or stingy sensation
- Dark grey spots
- Visible blood vessels in the skin
- Skin cancer
- Kidney damage
- Brain damage
Aside from the health disadvantages, skin bleaching is also very expensive and time consuming. Also, you lighten your skin to look pretty for NOW, then spend the rest of your life trying to reverse the process through medication. Seriously what’s the point?
It is true that you might come from a family where bleaching is normal. Probably your mum or aunt have been doing it for a long time and you want to do it too but please don’t!
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been approached by strangers and warned never to change my color. A majority of these people where often women who had bleached. If bleaching was all sunshine and roses then I think they would rather be inviting me to join the crew.
I would never forget the voice of one of my mothers in the quarter saying in french and very authoritatively, “ma fille ne change jamais ta couleur heinn” and yes, she’s been bleaching for as long as I’ve known her.
Another time in church after service, an elderly woman approached me. To be honest, I thought she wanted to probably criticize my makeup or dressing. Not that I wasn’t well dressed oh but you know how this women can be nah!
To my greatest surprise, full of love and honesty, she said,” you are very beautiful my daughter, don’t change your color.” It’s only after that I looked at her closely and noticed that she had been bleaching and might have been suffering from some of it’s side effects.
What amazes me is that even people who aren’t dark skin do bleach. I’ve even heard of light skin people bleaching too and I’m like what do they really want! Of course, you should know that this doesn’t concern just the women because men do bleach too.
I met a girl at a salon and she was like if she has the money she would skin bleach. How did the conversation even start? I simply told her she had a lovely brown skin but unfortunately, she rather attacked the hairdresser who’s dark too, saying all sorts of negative things about dark skin. Thank God, the hairdresser was very confident about her color.
To you who’s planning to bleach when you get the chance to, I hope you know what you’re up against. Like I always say, whether black, brown or light skin we’re all beautiful so let us accept and celebrate our differences because that is what makes us a unique and special people.
The choice is yours to make, I can only hope that you choose wisely! Meanwhile here’s a letter personally addressed to you from me Dear Black Beauty
I love my color ( these quotes help me stay confident) and I’m not going to change it, what about you?