Black Is Beautiful – Why Bleach?

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Byline: Peninah Asiimwe

Mar 12, 2013 (Rwanda Focus/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) — Whoever said a light complexion was tantamount to beauty must be held accountable for the many bleached skins in the world. Most ladies – and quite a few men too – have gone crazy applying skin lightening creams and swallowing pills which have had negative effects on their health. This is all in the name of beauty!

Most ladies will confess to having thought of bleaching at one point or the other. Some want to as a way of curing acne which leaves behind among other things dark spots and blemishes but this is minimal. Most ladies bleach to change their skin complexion from dark to light so as to look prettier.

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But some people blame women’s urge to bleach on racial stereotypes that used to elevate white skin above black. This created self-hate and low self-esteem because the blacks felt they couldn’t get the best treatment because of their color and so they tried by all means to change it. During Apartheid in South Africa, for instance, coloreds would receive better treatment like whites and yet they were actually not white.

However, some change their skin colour to seek attention. That is mainly the case with stars like models, musicians, actors and actresses in their bid to stand out from the crowd.

So should you bleach?

Dermatologists agree it is not advisable for one to bleach their skin regardless of the reasons. The major content in all cosmetic bleaching creams is hydroquinone and mercury, which are very dangerous and toxic to one’s health. According to question-and-answer website Askville, hydroquinone is an agent that bleaches the skin. It blocks enzyme reactions that occur in the skin cells and slows down the creation of melanin from which the colour of the skin is derived.

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According to experts, these substances are capable of leading to kidney failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and even death. If something goes wrong in the process of lightening the skin, the side effects are dangerous. One’s skin could get permanent freckle-like dark spots for good. They could look burnt and dark usually after painfully turning red.

In fact some countries in Europe and the USA have banned the usage of hydroquinone. Uganda and Tanzania did likewise and have regularly confiscated products containing this dangerous substance that illegally make their way into the country through unscrupulous businessmen.

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