With the very prevalent European standard of beauty still in existence, many people still consider lighter skin prettier. Although it’s not as common anymore in the USA skin bleaching has been the cure for many black people trying to get a lighter shade. Now this has spread to other countries in the world, and doesn't stop with just people of African decent. Skin bleaching is also entwined in other cultures and races.
Extremes as severe as death just because society says dark skin is ugly. Mostly women resort to skin lightning crèmes and pills but these "cures" have dire consequences. Most of them cause cancer, if used excessively. A chemical present in most skin lightening creams is hydroquinone, may cause skin cancer and even brain damage if used immoderately. Hydroquinone whitens skin by killing skin pigment cells, and it strongly prohibits the production of melanin. Hydroquinone is broken down in the liver and is known to cause DNA damage and mutations. For this reason hydroquinone is linked to a number of cancers in humans, including leukemia.* The risk involved just to lighten skin isn't enough for most women to stop.
The company, Unilever, parent company of Fair and Lovely, one of the top skin lightening brands in India, is also the parent company of Dove.** Which messages and campaigns are a complete contradiction. In the USA they have a "Real Beauty “campaign, which encourages women in the US and Europe to "Love the skin they're in." Yet in India the campaign is "Guaranteed Fairness. Guaranteed Fame."It’s very unsettling to know that there is one company with contradictory promotion. This anti dark skin paradox needs to somehow come to an end, and hopefully with the spread of awareness can help stop these abhorrent and demeaning ways of thinking.
**Information received from Jezebel.com
By Naima Muhammad