Want to know if something is huge business? Check out Google Ads.
You don’t need to read statistics or wordy reports, a quick way is to type in ‘Skin Whitening’ and viola, count the number of ads that appear. Where I am, there’re 11 ads on the first search results page. For the fun of it, try ‘Skin Bleaching’ and there’re 10 ads. One of which caught my eye – Anal and Vaginal Bleaching.
It’s real – women do bleach their vagina and there was an advertisement by an Indian cosmetic product Clean and Dry Intimate that caught the attention of website Jezebel in 2012. The video had been taken down but basically, if you have a fairer vagina, your husband will ignore you no longer.
Skin whitening is huge and controversial business everywhere. The latest controversy is Canada’s Toronto train coming under fire in Dec 2014 for displaying ads featuring lightening of african and asian women’s skin.
I don’t judge. Especially for so many women who risk severe side effects for fairer skin in developing nations, why do they do that? I couldn’t find a report with statistics on whether life after skin bleaching improves but whatever the motivation, it is driving over 70% of Nigerian women, 60% of Togo women, 60% of Indian women, over 30% of south african women to regularly use skin whitening product. In the black market, products are not regulated and even injected into the skin when it is to be applied topically.
Fairer skin is sought in developed nations too. Check out products in stores and many of them have some whitening element to it. Does fairer skin really give us better life? It is accepted that good looks get you further in life – this article ‘Do good looks get you further in life?’ on Courier Mail explores many facets of it. There’s a funny part that says productivity increases when you feel you look good or when you are around good looking people, so we can’t totally disqualify good looks from getting a pay premium.
My take is
1. Avoid direct sun, apply sunscreen – not just to be fair but for protection against skin cancer. Sunlight exposure ages skin too, so quit getting a sun tan then go looking for products to make you younger. Btw, on having to sun to get Vitamin D, you need no more than 15 minutes. After that, it’s sun burn all the way (whether you see it or not).
2. If bleaching your skin is to
a. Make you love yourself more
b. Make someone love you more
c. Make you more successful in life
these are likely voids that will not be filled even after your skin is fairer. Instead, apply Matthew 6:33 ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’ (I know I sound preachy, but I believe it.)
Finally, I can’t assume everyone reading this will take my word for it. So, if you still want to whiten your skin, avoid the following ingredients.
1. Mercury – it’s no brainer right? Since young, we are taught not to go anywhere near the broken mercury thermometer and you should never clean it up with bare hands. Mercury causes rash and psychiatric, neurological and kidney problems. It is banned.
2. Hydroquinone – Used to be very common but banned now or limited to 2%. It blocks the production of melanin, which gives the skin its color. However, its side effects are blue-darkening effect of skin, causing an untreatable skin discoloration Ochronosis. More here on DermNetNZ
3. Glucocorticosteroids – It doesn’t make sense that we are so steroid phobic when it comes to our kids but use skin whitening products with steroids. Steroids give the impression that skin has whitened as the blood vessels are constricted after use.
4. Topical retinoids – This causes skin thinning, sensitivity under sun and is a risk to pregnancy.
Hey, if fairer skin works to get your husband to love you, he’s not worth it at all.