Before i carry on, i would like to say that i am no doctor, am no psychologist. Everything posted on this blog post as well as my blog in general, are things that i have learned through research and experience throughout my the years of dabbling in natural skin care. Also, i am not judging anybody who chooses to undergo bleaching or lightening of any kind. I am merely expressing my views on the matter and hoping that i can spread some knowledge on the matter.
As mentioned above, skin bleaching is a topic that has hit the black community by storm in recent years. And i have noticed quite a few people emailing me and messaging me on twitter on ways to “naturally” lighten complexion. And it makes me cringe every single time and i will tell you why. There are many factors that come into play when someone looks into the mirror and thinks to themselves “if only i was 3 shades lighter”. “If only i was light skin” “Life as yellow bone would be so much easier”. And thinking a simple solution could be applying some bleaching cream in hopes for a better life.
Firstly, i would like to just talk about the dangerous ingredients that are used in bleaching creams. As well as other bleaching methods which have some serious side effects to your health. Common ingredients used in skin bleaching include mercury as well as hydroquinone… sounds scary right? That’s because it is. Hydroquinone has been said to be very dangerous for the human skin. It is a carcinogenic chemical, meaning it has a direct link to cancer.
If you want to imagine how harsh this chemical is on your skin. Think about the fact that it is the exact same chemical that is used to remove tattoos. Basically what this chemical does is that it inhibits the production of melanin (pigmentation found in the skin which is responsible for giving skin colour). And if you know anything about melanin, you know that it offers us, people of colour, natural protection from the sun. So, inhibiting the production of melanin makes your skin super sensitive to the sun and without any protection.
Mercury is also a carcinogen. It is especially dangerous if the skin is exposed to sunlight soon after using the bleach cream. Using products with Mercury can also result in irritated skin such as rashes and discolouration as well as the skin’s reduced ability to fight infections. The excessive use of bleach cream also results in breakouts such as acne as well as thinning of the skin which may result in stretch marks and bruising.
whilst i am aware that some people use bleaching methods to even out skin tone as well as to lighten some dark marks in problem areas, i do not think that bleaching creams are worth it. i do not think that bleaching creams are worth the trouble and i do not think they are worth the hazardous chemicals and the risk of ruining your skin.
Although being a natural substance, kojic acid, when used over a long period of time, may cause skin sensitivity to the sun as well as to other products or elements. Kojic acid also leaves the skin prone to dryness. Symptoms include red, dry and flaky skin which is hypersensitive. Alpha hydroxyl acids are food substances and found in citrus fruits. Now, this one is more widely used but that does not make it completely safe to use because it also has the same effects on the skin, when used over a prolonged period of time.
WHY DO WE BLEACH?
Now, like i sort of touched on earlier, we all have our own reasons as to why we choose to so certain things. But i decided to read some articles from black women who have bleached their skin in order to figure out what the driving force behind someone who wants to “rectify” (and i use that word loosely because there should not be anything to rectify in the first place) their skin tone.
Most of the articles i read presented a sense of self-hate, low self-esteem. As well as reasons brought about by the fact that beauty is a social construct. In many communities, women of lighter skin variation are seen as more socially acceptable or beautiful as opposed to women of a darker skin variation. And i ask myself why is it that women of darker pigmentation are always trying to figure out ways of becoming lighter in order to be more “socially acceptable”.
BLACK WOMEN VS EUROCENTRIC BEAUTY STANDARDS
White women features are seen as more acceptable and beautiful. From skinny bodies, to silky straight hair, straight pointy nose. Even when black women are on tv, more often than not, it is black women of a lighter skin variation, with Indian hair. Every time this happens we are cultivated into thinking that socially acceptable women look a certain way.
AFRICA AND SKIN BLEACHING
so stop bleaching your skin. It is stupid and its detrimental to your health. Lets step out of the brainwash and the white wash, lets identify it and rebel against it. Let us love ourselves because we owe it to ourselves. Here’s a summary below of all the dangers that involve bleaching one’s skin.