Loving the skin, I’m in! This is the by far one of the most popular catch phrases on social media, often times hash-tagged to our edited selfies . But do we really know how deep this phrase is; or do we just use it loosely? This phrase may take on several definitions, but for me, it simply means, loving yourself no matter what. Lately, I’ve had the opportunity to see the debilitating effects of skin lightening creams, where individuals are literally dying to be the fairest of them all. I had to wonder aloud; “do people really love the skin that they’re in?”
Despite the real risk of acquiring skin cancer through the regular use of skin lightening products known to contain large amounts of hydroquinone, steroids and other harmful products, some people seem to care less. Not only are they used for cosmetic purposes, in some societies they are used by individuals “to be more accepted in society.” The belief in the power of light skin is common place all over the world and is not a simple beauty regime, but a remnant of classism and racial inequality from centuries of imperialism and social stratification. The widespread abuse of these products hold steadfast to the belief that those who are darker are members of the underclass and downtrodden
Nevertheless, let us try to demystify skin lighteners for a bit. They are sometimes used by individuals for skin discolorations such as freckles, age spots, and acne scars, as well as, recommended by Dermatologist for skin disorders. However, bleaching creates more health problems than it actually works and even if it works, putting your skin at risk is certainly not worth it. I wish I could tell the large number of men and women in my West-Indian neighborhood the perils of skin lightening abuse. I recently scoured the aisles of an ethnic beauty supply store on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn; there were dozens of skin lighteners for sale, all promising the perfect, light skin tone in 6-8 weeks. Some work, others may not; in reality the side effects are innumerable.
In light of this, the abuse of skin lightening agents need to stop. So how do we help solve it? Maybe, we should redefine beauty from an intellectual and psychological point of view. Maybe, we should remove that toxic mirror, that is, SOCIAL MEDIA. Maybe, we should continuously build our self esteem and love ourselves more than ever. Then, we can shout from the mountain top and say; I’m love-in, the skin, I’m in.