Skin Whitening/Lightening Products – A Ginormous Scam!
Let me start this article off by stating the obvious, which is sadly not so obvious to many. Skin whitening products are a result of racism. I live in a predominantly brown country. And yet, I grew up constantly being made self-conscious about my skin tone, which is somewhat browner than average. It took me a long time to get comfortable in my own skin and own my duskiness.
India is sadly a country where skin whitening & fair skin have been groomed into being a very profitable commodity. As much as the society is waking up to this sham that plays on one of our biggest cosmetic insecurities as a nation, products that claim to make us “fairer” are still abundant.
Skin whitening products basically work by bleaching the top layer and reducing the melanin pigment in your skin. If that doesn’t sound scary enough already, here’s more. The whitening effect of these bleaching products are temporary. Eventually, within a short period of time, your skin will shed its dead cells and the natural tendencies of your skin will return. Continued usage of such products can cause irreparable damage to your skin. It leads to major skin disorders as well.
Here is an old article to shed a bit more light on this: https://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/health-and-wellbeing/020118/experts-warn-of-the-dangers-of-skin-whitening.html
I found this interesting article from last year in the UK: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/23/skin-lightening-creams-are-dangerous-yet-business-is-booming-can-the-trade-be-stopped
Here’s a more recent article about the ban in Rwanda: https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2019/01/09/skin-whitening-products-being-banned-for-harmful-effects.html
In a country like India, where we’re not too fond of change, especially of the progressive kind, it is going to take a ton of work to change people’s mindsets and to get them to believe that we are beautiful just the way we are, and to look at others the same way. A major step towards this was when the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) came up with some guidelines for cosmetic and skincare companies to follow when promoting such products, back in 2014 (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/advertising/asci-releases-guidelines-for-advertising-of-fairness-products/articleshow/40405288.cms ). This included rules stating a company cannot advertise that a particular race/skin tone is superior and that their products will help achieve that superiority.
HOWEVER, cosmetic/skincare companies have basically said a huge &#$% you to ASCI and continue to promote exactly what they’ve been banned from promoting. (https://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/09/15/skin-whitening-cream-sales-still-boom-india-despite-rules-against-ads-deriding )
This is truly sad and discouraging. I sincerely hope that we somehow wake up one day and realize the foolishness of this whole industry of skin whitening/lightening products that profit from our insecurities that they have fuelled almost from the beginning to profit off of.
Have your story or thoughts to share about this? Comment below!