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To bleach means to become fairer than the original skin colour. Many people hide under the word “toning” instead of bleaching. Toning is still bleaching, either a dark person turning to “oyinbo” or a fair person trying to become fairer. Some people, due to insecurity tone or bleach to remove black spots on their skin or to look fresh and more appealing to the eyes of opposite sex. Both toning and bleaching processes change the skin cells producing “melanin” and also stops its production. This melanin pigment is derived from the amino acid tyrosine, which determines the skin and hair colour, it also helps prevents the skin from the sun rays. People with great amount of melanin pigment are dark in complexion. Bleaching creams contain hydroquinone, mercury and khojic acids which damage the skin colouration, causes skin scarring, and reduces the skin’s ability to protect the body from ultraviolet rays and thereby causing skin cancer.
Bleaching was not heard of in the olden days when the norms and values were the order of the days. Oils from plants were been used in form of creams. Due to the emergence of civilization, many things came in vogue. Science and technology brought the use of synthetic creams (body and hair) made of chemicals. The desire to look like the Whites also came with the European rule. Our exposure to other skin colours and the great importance attached to it has unconsciously affected our view and made us have a flair for lighter complexions. Since then, bleaching creams are being produced and imported to Nigeria.
Bleaching leads to multiple skin colour which most people refer to in nigeria as “coke and fanta”. That is, some skin parts will be light while some will be dark, especially the knees, ankles, fingers, knuckles and feet. It also leads to sun burns. Bleaching has different reactions depending on the cream composition, quality and the skin nature. Some might be lucky to bleach off every skin smoothly while some end up with multiple skin colours. The cream chemicals affect the skin in one way or the other no matter how effective it might be. The body gets wrinkled and people who bleach age more quickly than their counterparts. The melanin is being wiped off completely thus takes a longer time for wounds to heal up. The skin losses its rigidity and become more soft due to the alterations made on it either by bleaching or toning.
The physicians find it difficult to stitch bleached skins compared to other skins. A pregnant woman who undergoes caesarean section during child birth faces lots of challenges if she bleaches her skin. More caution is taken during the opening up and stitching of the skin. It takes longer time for the skin to heal up. Another thing amusing about bleaching is its addictive effect it has on people. Once you start using the bleaching cream, you continue so as to avoid the darkening of some parts. Some people even starve themselves of basic needs and prefer buying toning creams. Many venture into shady businesses like theft, robbery, engaging in dubious activities so as to raise the money needed to purchase these creams. People with artificial white skins are also prone to skin cancer. The chemicals used in making these creams are cancerous in nature. Other effects are acne, thinning and swelling of the skin, weight gain, cataract, kidney, liver damages to fetus, among others.
People bleach so as to become more beautiful, attractive and socially acceptable. Some innocently find themselves getting lighter due to their cream and might later find beauty in their new colour. Such people turn deaf ears to others by not changing the body cream. Some ladies are funny that they bleach to please their boyfriends. High level of indiscipline has led to the increase in bleaching act. This happens when they the partners cheat on them with light-skinned ladies. Some men/husbands advice and sometimes threaten their wives to bleach. Few guys with low esteem also change their skin colours to please women. Bleaching can be attributed to the lack of respect and fear for our creator. He who created us knows the best colour that suits us better. So, why alter the work of God? Why question his creation?.
Also, many people, on their quest of removing spots and acne on their faces end up bleaching their whole skin. Normally, the application of creams to make the face fresh and clean makes it lighter than the whole body. This can lead to problem as they will want to have a uniform colour or fall in love with their new skin and then get tempted to bleach their whole body. The society is also encouraging this act. More preference and attention are given to light-skinned ladies in terms of feminine jobs like in ushering, modeling, secretariat, air hostess and waitress. Unemployment, societal pressure and the criteria for feminine jobs have pushed many ladies into the toning/bleaching business.
To curb these insecurities, some measures can be taken. The first is by building our self esteem. We should be satisfied with our skin colour. Equal opportunities, sunshine, breathe, rain and all good things of life are given to everyone irrespective of the colour of the skin. Human beings by nature do not know the value of what we have until we lose it. Many people wished they never bleached.
Clothes that are long in length to cover the areas with spots should be worn instead of toning those parts. Fitted and nice long skirts, trousers, long sleeves are clothes that should be worn instead of the skimpy and short ones that will reveal the imperfect body parts. Sport removal creams, free of chemicals like hydroquinone and mercury. Fruits and healthy food should be eaten to enhance the glowing of the skin. Increase in water intake reduces dehydration which will be helpful for the skin. Dermatologists should be regularly visited for choice of cream. Facial treatments such as the application of the mixture lime, glycerin and flour on the face smoothens the face. Ladies should wash off their make-up before going to bed to reduce the effects of the chemicals on the skin. Regular visits to spas help a lot in maintaining the skin without the need to bleach or tone.
People have forgotten that black is beauty and that being dark in complexion has many advantages. People with dark skins need not to spend much cash on creams, soaps and lotions. They cope better with pimples and other skin infections than the light-skinned ones. Black skins regenerate quickly and make the body glow. Let us not bring more problems to ourselves by spending much on bleaching creams, skin treatment, cancer treatment and being scared of injuries or surgical blades. Being Yellow does not mean beauty.
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