Is Black really beautiful?
by Amaka Obi
The cosmetic section of every supermarket you enter in recent time is packed to capacity with creams labelled ‘whitening’ or ‘brightening’ or ‘toning’. It’s so difficult to get a body cream/lotion these days that does not have an ingredient in it that brightens one’s complexion.
When we were little, we were told that Black was Beautiful. Is that in the past now? Has black become outdated? Is white the new beauty or has it always been so and we are just choosing to accept it now?
It’s true that a fair lady is more eye – catchy than a dark lady. So is all the bleaching these days done so that one can be eye catchy or is this another pathetic case of ‘follow follow’. Joining the band wagon. Doing what others are doing. A WHO study has shown that 77% of Nigerians use ‘bleaching’ body cream/lotions
Any one older than 18 has a right to make whatever decision pleases the person as long as that decision does not hurt anyone else. But when that decision that hurts the person taking it, what then?
Here below are the different ingredients used in today’s ‘brightening ‘ creams so you can make an informed decision on whether you really need to be on that band wagon
Active Ingredients in most bleaching creams
- Hydroquinone (2% is safe but should not be used for extended periods)
- Glucocorticoids (Steriods)
Side Effects of these ingredients
|Ingredient||Potential Side Effects|
|Hydroquinone||Can potentially, cause skin cancer when used for an extended period of time because it depletes the skin melanin|
|Steriods||Thins out the skin
Softens the bones
Could cause cataracts and diabetes
Causes stretch marks
Could cause liver and kidney damage as it gets absorbed into the body
|Mercury||Causes nerve toxicity
Can bring about depression
Can cause numbness in the fingers
Can permeate a pregnant woman’s body to cause abnormalities and defects in the foetus
Avoid creams with the above ingredients
Safer Alternatives to Skin Lightening
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) – Eg Lactic acids, Salicylic acids, Glycolic Acid
- Kojic Acid, Licorice, Bearberry
- The oligopeptids (Very expensive form of skinlightening)
Natural alternatives – Honey, Lemon
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