Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, who’s the fairest one of all? Such was the vanity question of Snow White’s stepmother; which, somehow, give the impression that even fairy tales tell us having fairer skin is equivalent to being more beautiful.
Since time immemorial, it has been said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. While most white-skinned people would spend to have their skin tanned to a perfect brown; the tan or darker-skinned people, on the other hand, would exhaust all possibilities to have fair complexion via skin bleaching or whitening solutions. As a result, the demand for both paved the way for several business opportunities, which, to a large extent, is helpful to a nation’s economy. So there appears to be no problem with that – since it’s a win-win situation.
However, one can’t help chuckling when one thinks about the irony of it all. People are truly seldom satisfied with what nature has endowed upon them. Some continue to crave for that which they do not have; looking for reasons to justify what one longs for. But, on a positive trail, perhaps it is not so dissenting to wish for something and to actually be motivated by the desire to achieve what will make one happy – Mirror, mirror on the wall? Satisfaction makes one happy!
We are, after all, motivated by things we hope to be or wish to have or by needs we want met. The need for self-esteem is preceded by physiological needs such as food, clothing and shelter; after which the need to feel good over one’s person is sought to be achieved. It usually follows that when one looks great, one ought to feel great, too.
So, let dreams spur a person into action. Yes, to each his own dream. You want to have a fairer flawless complexion? Then, go for it! But wait…
IS IT SAFE? Forewarned is forearmed. Know more about skin bleaching:
- Start with skin specialists’ and doctor’s advice on which treatment or solution to use for your specific type of skin. They will also tell you that eating healthily coupled with proper exercise and use of body creams that are rich in Vitamin E are sure to aid those who aim for shiny, flawless and fairer skin. Merely applying bleaching creams, whitening soaps or solutions gives superficial results. Healthy skin has got to come from within and not just on the surface. Ever heard of glow foods?
- While skin bleaching is a widely used treatment, it’s worth knowing that all skin bleaching products contain one of the two active ingredients— hydroquinone and mercury; and both are used to destroy the black pigment found in the top layer of the skin, leaving the dermis layer exposed to harsh weather like very hot sun. However, only hyroquinone was approved by the FDA as a bleaching agent for the skin and for treating age spots and blemishes; although there are still some concerns about its safety. Some studies has dwelt on the possibility that hydroquinone may contain carcinogen, a cancer-causing agent.
- Excessive use of hydroquinone could also lead to a condition called ochronosis, wherein the skin tends to become dark and blue. There are studies which indicated an abnormal function of the adrenal glands and high levels of mercury in people who used cosmetics which contained hydroquinone. It was due to those findings why hydroquinone is banned in certain countries like Japan, Australia and Europe. However, FDA allowed the use of hydroquinone with a doctor’s prescription and gave its approval on a few select products with hydroquinone.
- In the US, it’s possible to purchase hydroquinone in concentrations of two percent or less across the counter; but higher than that requires a doctor’s prescription. It’s a big NO-NO for pregnant women and those with kidney or liver disease.
- There is a possibility of thinning of skin on your face especially around the eyes, commonly referred to as ‘bleach panda effect‘ and this is prominently visible because of the increased pigmentation. So, be warned that frequent and long-time use of skin whiteners could lead to pigmentation and may likewise extend to the joints of the fingers, toes, ears, as well as buttocks.
- If you become adamant to use hydroquinone or any skin bleaching cream or solution with hydroquinone, just make sure to avoid the sun and apply sunscreen whenever you go outdoors.
- Skin trauma has been known to bring about skin discoloration, in the form of spots and blemishes, leaving some patches of skin darker than the rest. Some people have freckles and age spots because of sun damage.; some have acne scars and melasma, a type of patchy discoloration which usually develops during pregnancy. In such cases, make sure to apply hydroquinone only on the affected area to avoid unwanted discoloration.
Toxic-free skin lightening products imported from Europe are presently available, but owing to their very expensive ingredients, you can bet they are more costly (not to mention the other costs involved in marketing it). This just goes to prove that “fairer beauty” truly has a cost?
Anyway, while it’s ok to have your skin bleached, just make sure that you know all the precautionary measures; and follow them, too!
You see, with great beauty also comes great responsibility!