I was watching a Youtube video about black people bleaching their skin with whitening products (btw it’s gauche to call it bleaching – people say “toning”). The largest percentage of women and men who whiten their skin are in Nigeria for some reason. There’s a huge market for bleaching products in that country, as there now is worldwide. I didn’t know there was such a thing as skin whitening products until Michael Jackson turned that ghastly chalk-white. I didn’t believe for a minute that he had that skin disease, whereby the skin’s melanin deteriorates and patches of dark skin lose colour. How stupid are we Michael? He swore on Oprah Winfrey that “it’s a disease!” He certainly did have a disease. It was in his head.
One thing a lot of people don’t know about skin bleach is that the main ingredient is mercury. Uh-oh. Mercury is that stuff that used to drive hatters mad about a century ago. Lewis Carroll aka The Reverend Charles Dodgson, invented the character the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. Johnny Depp did a great Mad Hatter (I always put a plug in for Johnny wherever I can) in the 2010 release of the movie. Depp stated that playing the role “was a dream come true.” Personally I think Depp is a dream come true. Okay enough of that. Men who made hats once upon a time used mercury in the process. Over time it drove them insane (mad). They suffered from brain damage due to the mercury poison, merely by inhaling the fumes. Eventually the stuff killed them. In modern bleaching products, there isn’t enough mercury to cause brain damage, thank heaven, but there is enough to cause skin cancer and God only knows what other health consequences.
A woman in one of the documentaries I watched told the interviewer, “I want to look more beautiful. I got tired of being ugly. I don’t look beautiful when I’m dark.” I’m not sure who put the idea into her head that whiter was prettier. I suppose we can all point fingers at the media and blame it. There is a strong element of truth to this belief. I was surprised at the before and after pictures of Iman, Rihanna, J-Lo, Beyonce, Dencia and Mariah Carey. These are several beautiful women who have worked hard at becoming white. Their before pictures looked gorgeous to me. In fact, Carey looks much less attractive as a “white” woman. When used over a long period of time, skin whitening products can cause nasty blotches all over the face and body. Skin doesn’t always react the way a product claims. And different people’s skin will have different results. Copying a celebrity is usually quite foolish. No doubt a famous person has a dermatologist assisting a celebrity’s skin whitening. Celebrities also use products you’ll never find on a shelf anywhere and you’d never be able to afford anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised if laser surgery is the manner in which most celebrities whiten and brighten. Mind you, who knows how these people look when the makeup comes off? There could be horror stories underneath the light brown foundation.
Laser surgery on the surface of the skin is known to lighten brown spots and even out skin tone. Photo facials use a type of laser but the laser a dermatologist uses is much more intense and much more expensive. I suspect this is one of the only viable and safest ways to lighten skin if you are having the procedure done by a licensed, experienced medical doctor, but I don’t know that using it on the whole face is a good idea. For one thing, it burns. Sometimes a preparatory cooling gel will be used on the skin and some machines have a built-in coolant. I will admit i have a few brown spots, probably from sun exposure in my younger years, on the sides of my face that I would love to laser but this whole skin whitening thing sounds frightening to me. I would never bleach it. That is a terrifying thought. Greg Absten, executive director of The Laser Training Institute claimed, “It’s not that hard to learn. But whether the person is a doctor, a phD., or a tech, they have to take the time to learn, they have to care what they’re doing, and they have to have the ethics to know when not to treat something. Those are the safest people in the world because they stick to their limits.” I agree with Absten, with one possible exception. I would always go to a medical doctor for any type of surgery, including that involving light pulsation or a laser. In Ontario, all dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons have to be licensed with the Ontario College of Physicans and Surgeons in order to practice in Ontario. I have never read a single headline about botched IPL, which isn’t to say it hasn’t happened but my bet is that it’s relatively rare. One sensible piece of advice may be to “get a regular facial first before trusting them to give… an IPL treatment.”
A photo facial or photo rejuvenation, uses light-based technology. Photo facial supposedly tone and lighten blotchier parts of skin that seem to arise with aging. It also treats broken capillaries (spider veins). This procedure is not a skin whitening process per se. One type of photo facial is called Intense Pulsating Light, or IPL and it uses short blasts of polychromatic, high-intensity light to damage the melanin that causes “age spots.” Keep the word damage in mind. It darkens the skin spots and broken capillaries first. Then skin repairs the damage within 5 – 10 days and the overall skin tone becomes enhanced. We hope. IPL is touted as a way to boost collagen and elastin. As with every type of “advanced” beauty treatment, there is always a risk. Some spa centres are more interested in commissions than the safety of their clients’ skin. They pressure their technicians to speed up the process so they can treat as many clients as possible in a week, resulting in clients who develop serious skin damage. This is called the turn em’ & burn em’ effect. A discount spa or a college where students perform the treatment should be avoided unless a supervisor performs the procedure while students merely observe.
People with Asian or darker skin should be extra careful as IPL can cause hyper-pigmentation (darkening the skin spots).You can get severely burned if the operator is not careful during the treatment. The burns can be severe and cause permanent scarring, scabs andwelts. One woman had to apply a medical cream every 2 hours for three weeks and stay out of the sun after a technician severely burned her skin. The spa refused to apologize or offer her a refund. The director told her she was “overreacting.” Seriously. I say get a lawyer and go after them. We’ll see how the director “overreacts.” The idea however is NOT to experience this type of damage to your skin. You’ve only got one skin. You need to make very careful decisions about it. Before you proceed with a laser treatment it might be helpful to look at your spots and spiders and compare them with the type of photographs embedded above. On the other hand, the photograph below is how skin looks with an experienced, ethical technician. The problem with skin whitening is it’s hit or miss. And when they “miss”, it’s devastating. “What they have done to me is criminal,” one permanently scarred woman in her 50s stated. “I feel like an idiot.”
A Personal Account
Nature usually knows what it’s doing when it gives a person a certain skin, eye or hair colour. It is our changing perception of what beauty is as we leave childhood and grow into youth and young adulthood that effects how we perceive ourselves. Another woman in the documentary I watched stated, “I started [skin bleaching] when I was in 10th grade. I went to a more predominantly white school and so being dark wasn’t really popular. The darker you were, the more mystery you got. So I just started bleaching my skin to get it lighter.” Certainly there is and always will be prejudice against black people of any nation and race. I got that. But popularity also depends a lot on one’s social skills. I remember a young black man in my high school circle of predominantly white friends and everyone loved him. He had great social skills. He was intelligent. No one commented on the fact that he was black and no one cared. My best friend (a gorgeous blonde, as it were) dated a young Filipino man. We didn’t care in our group. It didn’t even occur to me that he wasn’t white. So what? He was fun, pleasant, and reasonably intelligent. I’m sure you’ve known white girls in high school and college who were hated because of their nastiness. People like to blame the media only, and blame society’s prejudices against their lack of acceptance and popularity and there certainly is that. I’m inclined to agree with that in many, but not all, situations.
Dencia is a piece of work. She should be no one’s role model on earth or in hell. She has 44 EE breast implants (or so it looks). She wears 6 inch glittering, chunky, platform shoes. She wears stretch one-piece cat suits with psychedelic patterns. Dencia (a fitting name – the root word rather sounds like dense), looks like a pop star from Neptune. She is a caricature rather than a person. She promotes a skin bleaching cream called Whitenicious. She claims looking whiter doesn’t mean looking better. Right. She claims Whitenicious is a “dark spot” remover. Why she called it Whitenicious is a reference to “pure.” “White means pure,” she claimed. “A lot of people don’t feel clean with dark spots…everybody needs Whitenicious.” She argued endlessly with an interviewer that the product is strictly for dark spots. Onstage for this interview, Dencia wore brown face makeup. It looked ghastly, very fake. I’m certain that underneath that makeup is a much whiter face. Do you remember when Black Face was an insult? How times change. Guess Dencia has a lot of dark spots. I mean aside from the ones on her character. There’s no cream anywhere that can erase that kind of dark.
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