The Dangers of Chemical Skin Bleaching—How to Avoid Chemicals and Even Your Skin Tone Naturally
Author: Jasmine M. ("Pending" blogger, till June/July 2020!)
Skin bleaching cream and skin bleaching soap are available at nearly every CVS and Walmart in America. If you have ever struggled with social beauty standards, (acne scars, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation) like me, it is totally normal to dream about having perfect skin—but what is the price of perfection? Research shows that many skin bleaching ingredients are linked to cancer and pose dangerous side effects. Is your skincare safe? Read more, and remember to click on the hyperlinks, to learn about the dangers of chemical skin bleaching. Discover a safe and natural alternative to chemical bleaching, which can help to even your skin tone, without the dangerous side effects.
STOP Why Do You Want to Lighten Your Skin?
Skin bleaching is a world-wide trend. However, the skin bleaching industry disproportionately targets people of color, and is known for having a huge grip on Asian, African, Caribbean, and Latin communities. This is visible in a whitening pills ad, made in Thailand, which depicts a woman sad, with blackface on, and happy, with white skin. The ad included the disturbing phrase “white helps you win.” Research shows that in 2009, Indian consumers spent over 430 million dollars on skin bleaching products, and globally, skin bleaching is an industry making over 23 billion dollars a year. People are often willing to do whatever it takes to achieve porcelain complexions. Behind the façade though, is an industry capitalizing off colorism—telling people that light skin is better.
As a brown girl in middle school, I believed this. I remember being so happy when someone gave me a skin bleaching cream as a gift, so that I could heal some of the acne scarring I had. But before long, I was using it all over my face, in a desire to feel more attractive. One day I looked in the mirror, and I was shocked! I had a huge light, patchy area around my mouth. I threw the cream away and never used it again—but I realized in that moment that even I was being affected by the idea that lighter skin was more beautiful. It took years of pushing against society’s brainwashing, but eventually I learned to love and appreciate my skin. Celebrities, who bleach their skin, or endorse bleaching, like Priyanka Chopra, and the famous late Michael Jackson, all represent a system that has brainwashed people to believe that dark skin is not beautiful. The documentary Cake Soap revealed that skin bleaching is especially popular in countries like Jamaica and India—all of which suffered years of false beauty standards under colonization. So, the first step is remembering that all skin tones are beautiful, including yours! If you’re feeling under the weather, try checking out the book Diverse Beauty, by photographer Alex Lubomirski. In it, he demonstrates that beauty comes in all shades. No one should have to risk their health- to meet social “beauty” standards.
Okay…But What About Dark Spots?
So, you are in love with your midnight, chocolate, vanilla, hazelnut, or caramel skin—amazing! But what do you do if you have dark spots or an uneven/patchy skin-tone? What if you suffer from acne scarring, melasma, or hyperpigmentation? The answer— focus on the ingredients! It is okay to want to even your skin tone, remove dark spots, and improve your complexion—but not all ingredients are created equal. When you are looking for skin lightening products, steer clear of quick fixes and cheap chemicals. Carefully read ingredient lists on your skincare products. Many products often contain dangerous toxins, with new names. Mercury is often called mercurous chloride for instance. Avoid the ingredients below at all costs!
Dangerous Chemicals In Bleaching Products
- Hydroquinone-linked to cancer in mice, can cause irregular pigmentation, thins the skin
- Octinoxate- disrupts the endocrine system, causes increases in estrogen linked to breast cancer, impacts the thyroid
- Mercury—causes kidney damage, scarring, discoloration, linked to cancer and highly toxic
There are dozens of natural alternatives to chemical skin bleaches. You can go with lemon, or apple cider vinegar, or chamomile…the list goes on and on! The Devoted Things Natural Skin Bleach contains all of the safe ingredients that I just mentioned, as well as many other soothing and powerful ingredients. These plant-based extracts can help you to heal and brighten your skin, and to remove scarring and dark spots. However, the use of these natural ingredients is aimed at helping you to achieve a naturally brightened and even complexion—not at risking your health for dangerous social standards of “beauty”. Since I began using this product, along with the Devoted Things Facial Glow Daily Cleanser, I have noticed a huge improvement in my complexion. My dark spots are fading, hyperpigmented areas are evening out, and my pores are clearer. One particularly special ingredient in the Natural Skin Bleach is Licorice Extract. This powerful root helps to minimize the over-production of melanin, which causes hyperpigmentation, and is packed with antioxidants. It is also known to help aid in controlling oil production, and to reduce inflammation in the skin. Opting for products that contain ingredients like this, instead of dangerous ones like hydroquinone, is an amazing way to take care of your skin, while supporting your health instead of harming it.
I've been using the Natural Skin Bleach, and the Facial Glow Daily Cleanser for weeks now. I've noticed a big difference in the overall tone and evenness of my skin, so I definitely recommend both of these products. I will say that the results of the Skin Bleach did take about 2 weeks to really kick in, which might be the case for you, if you have lots of discoloration like I did. That said, I definitely notice a difference now. Because of the Facial Glow Cleanser, and the Detox Cleanser as well, I'm not breaking out anymore (so no new scars), and I'm seeing a huge improvement in my dark spots. One thing that I highly recommend, that I didn't really mention before, is sunscreen! SPF is a MUST if you're trying to lighten dark patches or dark spots. Incorporating a high quality, effective sunscreen into my routine has significantly helped to minimize discoloration for me, and has protected my skin as I lighten it. I use the Natural SPF Beauty Oil. I also find that doing super potent skincare masks a few times a week makes a massive difference. Currently, I'm using I tablespoon of bentonite clay, with about 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric. I let that sit on my face for 20 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how much time I have. Remember, healing skin discoloration takes time--but there's no need to rush your process! If you're patient, you'll be so happy that you stayed away from harsh, damaging chemicals in the long run. I certainly am! :)
Peace and Love,
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