During an interview recently on Croydon Radio, our Registered Manager, Christian, was asked a question about whether it is right to lighten your skin. This is a thorny issue and really put Christian on the spot. Click here to listen to the full report.
Rightly or wrongly for some reason fairness has come to be the hallmark of beauty. In some cultures, particularly black and Asian cultures, lighter skin is often perceived as being more beautiful and is purported to portray affluence and higher social status. In Indian societies Caste is often associated with lighter skin. Also some blood pressure medications will increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunburn, artificially darkening the skin. Indeed some antibiotics, contraceptives and diuretics also cause skin darkening, so it is perhaps understandable that some people may therefore want to return their skin to its original colour.
In the Asian pacific market alone the skin lightening market is reported to be worth US$ 13 Billion. There’s obviously a large market out there for these types of treatment and if an informed adult decides that they wish to lighten their skin, is it right to stop them if it is safe? Well in some instances the creams that are used are not safe. Mercury compounds used in many creams have been proven to be toxic and hydroquinone shouldn’t be used without advice from your doctor or dermatologist.
Other treatments that are reported to work include the use of lemon juice, turmeric, raw potatoes, Aloe Vera and coconut water. Other methods of lightening your skin include micro-dermal abrasion and skin peels. Refraining from smoking, using sunscreen on a regular basis, exfoliating your skin will also promote lighter skin, but these techniques are more about maintaining healthy skin through a sensible skin maintenance regime.
And this leads us to the crux of this issue; fair skin should not be associated with beauty. Bright healthy skin should be. Clearly dull grey skin is not a good indication of health. Indeed studies have shown that we are pre-programmed to assess peoples’ health through the health of their skin and studies have shown that the health of your skin is a good indication of your internal health. Using toxic products may indeed lighten your skin, but will not necessarily make you appear healthier and therefore attractive.
The point is that it is a false economy to strive for lighter skin in order to achieve greater beauty. It is only by striving to improve the health of your skin and your body that you will achieve this goal. To do this requires a holistic approach that incorporates:
- Good sun protection
- A good skin regime
- A good relationship with an experienced dermatologist
This last point is important. Your relationship with your dermatologist or aesthetic clinician must be one where they completely understand you and your skin. They need to understand your goals and how quickly you want to achieve them. As well as delivering these goals they also need to have an excellent understanding of the treatments and how to use them in combination to ensure you get the results your require. That includes discussing why you might want to achieve a specific objective and is it appropriate to do so; particularly if that objective is to simply lighten your skin.