Skin Whitening: Why I Think It’s Bollocks

Why I Think It’s Bollocks

Vanity Beauty

A few weeks ago, I had a chat with a reader who wanted to know about the difference between skin whitening and skin brightening. Skin whitening is a very common trend in Asia. Advertisements are almost always portraying fair skin that encourages women to reach these crazy expectations of skin colour. It’s not just amongst the Chinese; this affects all skin types and colours too. People aren’t just looking to whiten their face but also their, err, nether regions. The term “snow white” has never been more used. Nor has it been scarier.

The problem with skin whitening products is that they often contain unregulated ingredients. So often fluff ingredients like essential oils and extracts of this-and-that hide the other more dangerous ingredients with technical scientific names that people often just overlook because hey, who wouldn’t want this amazing extract of cucumber on your skin that perhaps is the one that brightens the skin, eh?


Azchael

Even though more and more beauty products are banned by Asian countries because of level of harmful ingredients in them like mercury, small vendors are selling so-called skin-whitening products on the black market. After all, if there’s a demand, there will be supply and believe you me, demand for fairer skin is overwhelming.

I had a chat with one of the European managers from L’Oreal at the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival in March and he found the difference between wanting whiter skin in Asia and wanting bronzed and tanned skin in Australia very interesting. You’ll be hard-pressed to find bronzing products in Asia, that’s for sure (try asking for self-tanning creams at beauty counters. Chances are, the sales staff will look at you as though you’re bonkers for wanting to look brown). Having said that, skin brightening products are slowly getting more popular in Australia. Dior has Diorsnow, Chanel is launching a whitening range in Australia soon, Estee Lauder has the Cyberwhite HD and so on.

 

Ahh but what is this skin brightening? How does that differ from skin whitening? The difference between the two is that brightening ingredients like Vitamin C gives the skin a boost of radiance and health. It doesn’t bleach your skin. People who go for brighter skin often look like the picture of health (it’s almost as though they have a halo around their face). Sometimes the skin does appear as though it’s lightened but even so, it’s only to the slightest degree.

What I love about skin brightening is that anyone can have brighter and more radiant skin regardless of skin type and colour. The use of Vitamin C on the skin gives the skin the clarity it needs making it smoother, firmer and healthier. Skin whitening products on the other hand often contain potentially dangerous agents like mercury and hydroquinone that can lead to all kinds of health issues. Mercury can cause skin rashes, discolouration, scarring and lead to kidney damage and psychosis.

 

I understand the desire for wanting to look fairer. Growing up in Malaysia, it’s common to hear mothers telling their daughters to stay away from the sun because you’ll get dark. Carry an umbrella when you go out because it’s sunny and you’ll get dark. The thought of the dangers of skin cancer isn’t as scary as “getting darker skin”. I have a friend whom I’ve known in my college days who wears sunscreen religiously not because she’s protecting herself from harmful UV rays but just because she’s afraid she’ll have dark skin and she simply cannot have that.

At what cost are we lusting after fair skin? My mum used a particular beauty product (apparently from Japan or Korea) for some time that lightened her hyperpigmentation tremendously and she couldn’t be happier about it. Many months passed before she found out that that product was actually banned in Malaysia because it contained mercury. Even though it was banned, the beauty salon she bought it from was still happily selling the product to their customers. I almost went berserk on the phone when she told me about it and that she had to get a full health check just to find out if the mercury had entered her bloodstream. Thank God, everything was okay but it could have been worse. I sure as hell am not about to lose my mother to dodgy skin whitening products just because society thinks it’s beautiful to have fair skin.


Expat Bostonians

I was originally going to do a review on a particular skin brightening serum I’ve been using when I wrote the first 2 paragraphs but decided to pull that review and talk about the dangers of skin whitening instead. If I have to shake you on the shoulders and plead you to stop using skin whitening agents on your skin, I will. Please check the ingredients properly before buying any “skin whitening/brightening” products. Google the ingredients to know what they are before you put them on your skin.

Before I end the post, here’s a bit of statistics I received from a Lancome beauty event I went to recently: Caucasian skin is the first to show the first signs of aging. Second is Asian skin. Third is African-American skin. Celebrate the skin colour you have, regardless of what it is.

And don’t even get me started on whitening the nether regions. That’s just … that’s just … I have no words.

Beautytips skincare cosmetics


What are your thoughts on skin whitening and society’s views that fairer skin is more beautiful? Honestly, I think it’s just bollocks.

Source:

Upstart

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FORBES

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AlJazeera

Note: The brands shown in the pictures above are just to show you what the advertisements are like. They do not necessarily mean the products are bad.

This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at www.beautyholicsanonymous.com

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