Category Archives: Cosmetics

Skin Lightener Dangers

Webmatron, Sis. Nicole Lasher

Sis. Nicole Lasher, webmatron of ModernTraditional.com

However trendy light skin may be, it is not a very healthy thing to pursue.  Aside of the damage to your confidence, you may also do permanent damage to your skin.

We all know deep down that only weak or closeted homosexual men are overly concerned about the lightness or darkness of women’s skin.  The vast majority of masculine men don’t care because they don’t see social status and beauty as the same thing.  Yet far too many of  us cave in because sometimes the choice is between a weak or Gay man or no  man at all.  Some even reach for the lightening cream because they work in business or service professions, and it’s just part of “the game”.

Still, with the side effects involved, is lightening one’s skin really worth it?  First we’ll go into the damaging effects of skin lightening treatments, and then we’ll talk about some real alternatives.

Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone creams are the most popular over the counter option for skin  lightening.  The work by blocking enzymes that trigger the production of  melanin in the skin.  This is wonderful if one has small areas of hyperpigmentation from damage or age spots.  It is not supposed to be used on large areas of the face and body.

Regular use of hydroquinone creams, even at the relatively low concentration of 2%, the maximum over the counter in the U.S. can result in some areas of the skin becoming damaged to the point of a hyperpigmentation reaction, or extreme hypopigmentation.  So you can end up with dark patches, or ghostly pink patches where the skin can’t produce any melanin at all.  This kind of trauma to the skin can lead of course to skin cancers.

Those who don’t get the extreme side effects can at least look forward to the relatively mild ones, such as the drying out and cracking of the skin.

Botanical Skin Lighteners

Plant based “natural” skin lighteners are generally safer, but some are not much safer than hydroquinone.  The ones darker skinned women should beware of are those that, like hydroquinone, lead to photosensitivity, which is lower tolerance to light and heat.

Alpha hydroxy or other acids exfoliate the skin, and should be used with care.  Dark skinned women shouldn’t use them more than once a week, and should protect their skin from sunlight as much as possible, through conventional means.  Peeling makes your skin more sensitive to the ill effects of chemical sunscreens, so do your peeling at night before bed, and wear a hat with a brim or bonnet the next day.

Never use any such treatment around the eye area.  The skin around the eyes is already thin, and peeling will just make things worse.

Normally, peeling will not and should not lighten the skin.  What it will do however, is even the complexion because it gets rid of dead skin that has accumulated, clears the pores, and makes whatever your color is, glow in a healthy way.

You can do this with some lemon juice and a cotton swab, or a scrub with pulverized loofah in aloe vera gel.  You don’t need to spend a fortune on some “miracle gel”.

Other botanical skin lighteners block melanin, much like hydroquinone, but without as many bad side effects.  Be warned though, that just because something comes from a plant doesn’t mean that it is perfectly safe in high dosages.

Licorice and mulberry extract are two examples of botanical melanin blockers.  They aren’t sold as frequently because they are more expensive.  A big problem with these is photosensitivity, so if they’re in a cream at all, it should be a night cream.  By morning, most of it will have rubbed off.

Of botanical skin lighteners, an extract of oblipicha is the best.  It evens out the complexion and will fade dark spots within days.  However, it will stain the skin (and clothes) yellow if the pure oil is used, so most who use it are people of a warm complexion on whom it won’t be noticed.

Still, like any of these, it should only be used on small areas.  Too much of it can lead to irritation.

So you may be convinced by now that attempting to lighten your skin is a bad idea.  If you are, I’m glad.  If you’re not convinced, I hope that this article has at least made you aware of some things you can do to control the damage.

If you insist on using skin lighteners, it is best to have them mixed or recommended by a skin esthetician.  Other options may be less expensive, but they may not be right for your skin.

Another option is the temporary Geisha solution: makeup.  You will need to apply about 3 layers of makeup to accomplish a lighter skinned look.  This is a foundation primer, foundation, and powder.  When you look at yourself, you may feel like a clown, but the people who care so much about these things as to judge you for being darker, probably won’t notice.  They’re fake and think that fake looks better than natural.  So think of it as a costume.  It is.

Finally, there’s my favorite option: Be real.  All of the colors that people are available in, are beautiful.  The pale have their special beauty, and the sun kissed have ours.  What is trendy isn’t what’s really beautiful.  Nature gives each of us an eye for symmetry and variety, and it is a poor man who allows the television to steal his soul.  Love yourself as you are, because this means that you love the God or at least the nature who made you.

Pros and Cons of Mineral Oil for the Skin

Winter is here, and the battle against dry skin and the effects of close fitting clothing begins.  With all the new research and conflicting opinions, it can be difficult to decide what’s the best and safest way to moisturize one’s skin.  I hope in this article, to help you to figure out what choices are best for you as an individual.

Mineral Oil vs. Animal Oils vs. Vegetable Oils

The research came out a few years ago, that cosmetic grade mineral oil is relatively safe for skin.  Since then, there has been an intense debate between scientists, estheticians, and laypersons, about whether or not it is truly safe, or if the claims of safety are just propaganda.

I don’t personally know who is right about mineral oil, but I am certain that anything that is mass produced has some risk of contamination.  So the olive oil that you use in your salad, and actually ingest, may be more unsafe than your facial cream, since you eat the salad oil and don’t eat face cream.  If something isn’t causing you  problems, then there’s no reason other than personal preference to choose one thing over another.

Taking personal choice into account though, the more relevant question about mineral oil vs. others is what you need an oil to do for you.   Would your needs be better served by mineral oil or some other?  Superiority
is a more relevant question than safety.

Mineral oil is an emollient.  It basically creates a seal over your skin that helps to hold moisture in, and keep other things out. 

For people who live in climates that are colder and/or drier than they are naturally adapted to, mineral oil has been helpful in preventing cracking and flaking, as well as in keeping warm.  We also know that well moisturized skin is better protected against bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

…but is there something better?

Recently, it has been found that well refined sunflower oil is better than mineral oil at protecting the skin and preventing infection. 

Emu oil is also bacteriostatic, and shea butter even helps to kill bacteria while balancing the skin’s natural protective oil, sebum.  So why is anyone still using mineral oil, when there are so many alternatives?

Well, for one, it’s cheaper than some, and it tends not to aggravate allergies.  For a generally sold product, this is a good thing.  It also blends well with other oils and extracts, so if you mix them yourself, you can make a nice, smooth suspension in your own kitchen.

So mineral oil might not be the evil that proponents of “natural” cosmetics made it out to be, but it’s certainly not the best choice either.  It’s also not an either-or choice.  You can use a mixture, and get the benefits of many oils at once.  Just whatever you do, don’t do it blindly.  Try different things and see which is right for you.

Ah…what’s right…

Well, there is another thing to consider before choosing whether or not to use mineral oil or others.  That is the contribution, albeit very small, to the fossil fuels industry.  Mineral oil is a petroleum product, and regardless of which political side you’re on, we can all agree that there are a few people getting rich on the backs of the poor. 

Big oil companies are so ingrained in the world’s infrastructure that almost nobody can completely avoid any use of any products in their chain, but if everyone did what little they could, it would still make a difference.

Even when you use a plant oil, those plants were harvested and processed using machines that are directly or indirectly powered by fossil fuels.  However, plant and animal derived oils support farmers more than they support
oil fields.  If you live in the right area, you may even be boosting your local economy by choosing the non mineral option.

So if you’re the type of person who doesn’t drive, or drives a hybrid car to reduce your environmental impact and contributions to big oil, then you should be using a plant oil whenever you can.  In the long run, this is better for your skin and your world.