Journal – Essay Example
Journal: Skin Bleaching One of the more popular beauty products on the market today is actually a range of products all designed to do the same thing. They are designed to lighten the color of a black person’s skin. Depending on the product and the natural skin tone of the individual, these products can lighten the skin to a tint similar to or even paler than the natural skin tone of a white person. The popularity of these types of products is concerning not only because of the physical health risks they represent, but also because of the psychological damage they reflect out of the past and perpetuate into the future.
Skin bleachers pose a variety of real health risks to their users. The most common ingredient used in these products is designed to stop the skin’s production of melanin, which is the skin’s natural pigment. The problem with this is that melanin is also the skin’s way of protecting itself from the damaging environmental elements it encounters every day. By destroying the melanin, people who use these products make themselves much more susceptible to disease and increase their chances for skin cancer. Because some of the products can also contain steroids that can get into the bloodstream, they can cause birth defects and other unexpected internal problems. The damage to the skin also includes thinning of the skin which can lead to increased bruising and tearing at the same time that the skin becomes less able to heal over wounds. Unexpected results also include irreversible stretch marks and even many cases of hyperpigmentation where the skin becomes even darker than it was before.
Beyond the physical health risks, the psychological implications of these products are frightening. Most black people continue to use the products even after being informed of the risk because of the real social benefit they enjoy from the use. Black skin is considered, at least by those within the black community, as ugly. The darker your skin tone, the less desirable your appearance is considered to be. It is presumed that these impressions are a result of centuries past in which black people were relegated to the bottom of society and only light-skinned women were able to rise to higher levels. By attempting to bleach the black away, messages are also being sent to future generations that black is bad and white is good.