‘Beauty is in the eyes of beholder.’ But the cosmetics brands will tell you something else, setting their own ‘standard’ of beauty. This is what our society does as mostly people think that fair skin is the standard of being beautiful. If you have brown or dusky skin, everyone will tell you one or two ‘remedies’ to whiten your skin. The commercials and ads show how a fair skin can get you good job or a life partner. Even in show business the makers are bias to cast those with fair skin tone. Same is the case with cosmetics brands. They manipulate the biased attitude of people towards dark-tone skin and make millions by these fairness creams products.
Their ads seem tempting that having a fair skin ‘create’ opportunities for you that it makes you more confidants to be successful and what not. The results? We purchase and apply these products on routine basis to get a fair skin. However, setting a ‘standard’ of beauty and having bias towards skin color are not the only issues. From health point of view, using these fairness creams or cosmetic can be harmful for us.
The science of skin tone…
Skin color depends on a pigment ‘melanin’. There is varying amount of melanin in each person. More melanin in your skin cells, the darker will be the skin color. Melanin concentrations are influenced by hormonal release in body. This is why sometime having hormonal imbalance such as in pregnancy lead to pigmentation on face. The fairness creams basically target these melanin molecules in skin cell and to lower its amount. Let have a look at harmful ingredients and side effects of fairness creams….
Harmful ingredients in fairness creams
Like other cosmetics and beauty products, the fairness creams have many harmful ingredients in them.
This is common ingredient of almost every fairness cream or skin product and it’s been used for a decade. Hydroquinone C6H4(OH)2 , contains benzene in it. Both of them inhibit the melanin production in skin cells. This leads to fair skin color. On the other hand, both are carcinogenic that they can cause cancer. These are used not only in fairness creams but also in some medicines used for treatment of hyperpigmentation and acne scars.
Food And Drug Administration FDA has proposed ban on hydroquinone in skin products. A maximum of 2% hydroquinone in cosmetics is acceptable and not harmful.
Everything you must know about hydroquinone
Hydroquinone has potential harmful aspects that range from mild skin rash and allergies to severe form of skin cancer.
Short term use of this chemical leads to skin rashes, irritation, itching and symptoms like allergy.
Prolonged use leads to ochronosis- a condition of blue-black spots on skin where it is applied. Moreover, some studies state that these are carcinogenic and increase the risks of genetic mutations.
Steroid or corticosteroids are part of many fairness products and medication used for skin conditions. These include acne scars, eczema and hyperpigmentation.
Side effects of steroid
Prolonged use of steroids lead to thinning of skin, skin scratches, easy bruises, enlarged blood vessels and increased facial hair growth. Topical use of steroid creams lead to increased growth of facial hair and skin bruises. Some may develop severe skin infection using steroid based cosmetics.
Mercury is also a component of fairness creams. Food and drug administration FDA and other health care authorities identified the harmful aspects of mercury and it frequent use in cosmetics. The authorities also warned people to limit the use of cosmetics with mercury contents in them.
Mercury is poisonous chemicals and it gets absorb in body of the person easily. The issue is its removal form body which is not as easy as its absorption. This chemical cause skin rashes, discoloration and scaring for short term application. According to the reports of world health organization, prolonged application of products with mercury leads to liver and nervous damages. It’s even more harmful during pregnancy as it interferes with child’s mental development. Mercury has the properties similar to bleaching agents. Inorganic mercury lead to psychological issue such as anxiety and depression, because it interferes with nervous system.
Side effects of fairness creams
The list of harmful chemical ingredients in fairness creams is long and so is their potential harmful aspect. Here is a brief summary of the potential harms that these so called fairness products can cause:
1. Skin cancer
The chemicals such as mercury and hydroquinone have properties of bleaching agents and are toxic. Their prolonged use can lead to development of skin cancer.
2.Damage to vital organs
Kidney, liver and nervous symptoms are vital organs that are too sensitive for harmful chemical in cosmetics. Accumulation of mercury in body leads to serious damages to these organs.
While we use these creams to for fairness purpose, these actually damage our skin. The skin layer gets thin and looses its natural healing ability. This leads to scared and bruised skin.
The blood vessel dilates and expose to skin surface due to these products. And while the skin is thin, the dilated blood vessels are the reason to rashes, red and heat sensitive skin.
5.Photosensitivity of skin
The thinness of skin makes it highly sensitive to harmful ultraviolet rays and sunlight. The deep penetration of UV rays lead to skin cancer development.
The frequent use of fairness creams is more harmful. Mercury accumulates in skin and interferes with neurological development in baby. Thus, the newborn has high risk of nervous system abnormality.
All of these enlisted side effects are quit irreversible and otherwise very difficult to treat. So it’s better to avoid them or at least limit them because health is way much important and real concerns than having a white skin.
The cosmetics companies make multi million by these cosmetics and never provide you what they’ve promised. Some of their product may label the content in them but none of the cosmetic brand will admit what harms their products can do. It’s up to consumer to be aware of what they are using.
Alternative to fairness creams
Skin is one of the most sensitive organs of human body. Having a clear and fresh skin nor doubt adds up to one’s personality. Nobody likes to have a dull or dry skin. But keep it in mind that there is a huge difference between having a clear skin and a white/fair skin.
- Keeping in mind the harmful aspect of fairness creams, it’s better to use some natural alternative. Fruits, hydration and stress free lifestyle helps you to have a glowy, fresh skin.
- Not all of the cosmetic are harmful. You just have to choose a reputable brand and their product which labels its ingredients. Use some moisturizes for skin dryness.
- Use homemade masks made up of natural ingredients such as fruit peel and milk to remove dryness of skin.
- Exfoliate your skin twice a week to get rid of dead skin cells. This leads to fresh and spot free skin.
- Increase your vitamin intake directly or indirectly. Fresh juices and fruits are perfect source to increase your vitamin intake.
Above all, there is more in life than just a skin color.
As the fairness creams contain chemical with harmful impacts on skin and body, it’s better to avoid their use.
The color of your skin is natural and tries to keep it natural. There is much more us girls need to accomplish than just having a fair skin tone. Unfortunately, these cosmetic brands make it look like that fair skin is the key to success and this is the only thing that gives you self confidence and make you socially acceptable. This is not only ridiculous but also scary. Ridiculous is because this implies than none of our education, skills capabilities matter in front of our skin color. And this is scary because what message are we giving to society and those with naturally dark skin tone.
Acceptance is self confidence. Whatever the skin tone you have, it’s beautiful and you don’t have to change it to look beautiful. Accept your skin color and wear it like an honor, like a gift!!!