For quite a while now, the beauty industry has bore the brunt of being a tarnished one with stories about how dangerous or negative its trends are to consumers.
People, mostly women, are constantly trying to make themselves more attractive, according to how the rest of the world defines beauty. It is no longer a trend because it keeps happening and continues onwards despite the various negative side-effects. The skin-lightening industry is only one part of it, but just how far is it going to go?
In the United Kingdom, the skin-lightening is reportedly a “multi-billion-pound global industry.” Creams, pills and even injections are available in the market, to be used for making skin appear lighter, or whiter.
A harmful chemical called hydroquinone is illegal within the E.U. but is commonly found in many products. It's used as a bleaching agent, but many are unaware that in actuality it removes the top layer of skin, resulting in the belief that it brightens skin.
Holland & Barret is one company that defends itself, saying that its creams are meant to be used for “blemishes” such as “age spots, liver spots, freckles, sun damaged skin and scars.”
Nonetheless, there are many other suppliers in the market, such as Nur76, which has more than 100,000 customers around the world. It makes use of a compound that inhibits the production of melanin - which is something that adds the color to our skin but also protects us from cancer and sun-burn.
Check out: All That Is Fair Is Not Lovely: People in Asia Slam Skin Color Stereotyping
On the other side of the market are the consumers – and they offer no less of a comforting thought.
A former model, Irene Major has been criticized for her skin which has drastically become lighter. In her defense, she said that she feels “prettier” that way. “It’s a taboo subject, and people get judgmental about it, but that’s how I feel. A skin-lightening regime has been part of my life practically since birth.”
The women wholl do anything to have whiter skin: Former model Irene Major is the wife of Canadian oil tycoon S... http://t.co/BczJNYXa1a— TULK MAGAZINE (@tulkmag) November 27, 2014
“Being lighter shows you belong to a different place on the social ladder. All the rich, successful black African men marry either a white or a very light-skinned girl because they too grew up thinking that the lighter is the most pretty. It doesn’t matter how dark a man is, of course — the pressure is all on women,” she added. She happens to be married to an oil tycoon, Sam Malin.
She makes a fair point. These market trends in this part of the beauty industry does indeed reflect a desire for socio-economic privilege – which is unfortunate because the many people who end up buying these products also end up reinforcing the mindset behind it. Frantz Fanon’s 1952 supposedly obscure book, Black Skin, White Masks comes to mind. It’s a sell-out either way.