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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

From fairness to darkness

With fairness market booming with men too now wanting to become 'fair and lovely', wonder if anyone stopped to think of its side-effects!

First it was Shah Rukh Khan who created a buzz with his Lux soap commercial and now it's Shahid Kapoor who's hit the headlines for promoting Vaseline men's face whitening lotion. This recent advertisement has shocked one and all. While fairness creams had remained the domain of women, we have men who have taken them up rather seriously. These advertisements are just a way to increase the prejudices against brown skin.

According to most dermatologists, achieving fairness up to 20% is possible, but not more than that. But what is the cost of achieving this fairness? The main ingredient of these fairness lotions is bleach (such as hydroquinone, a strong inhibitor of melanin) that makes the skin appear light. And it is just that, that causes all the harm. The obvious side-effect is thinning of the skin. Daily use of these creams leads to the skin losing its tightness and becoming thinner in return. Growth of acne is another harm that these creams cause to the skin.

Most fairness cream consumers are unaware of the photosensitive reaction which these creams cause. Due to this the more exposed one is to the sun, worse one's skin condition becomes. This would mean anything from getting pink and red rashes – the degree of which would vary from person to person to sun burns, blisters, itchiness to burning sensation, each time the person steps out in the sun. Such a skin, that has become photosensitive, could also lead to one having problems if he went in for any kind of packs or massage treatments, for those oils or packs could further react on the skin.

Some may ask - "How much time do these reactions take to show up?" It varies. For someone, it could react immediately, for another it could take months to show signs of a deteriorating skin.

It is important to remember that 70% of Indians are dark and we can't create a psychosis that fair skin is better. The term 'fairness creams' is bad in itself as it is racist. How can you take one part of the body and isolate it? Right now, all you are being reminded is that there is another part of your body that you might want fairer. 

Next time you pick a fairness product, question it and it's necessity. Anything that is used by you or comes in contact with you changes and formulates your personality. If you are applying a cream to your face because it boosts your confidence, it is all right, but you should question if you are comfortable in your natural skin color.

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