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 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.