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Skin Bleaching Made Popular by Celebrity Endorsements

In 2013, skin whitening, informally known as bleaching, has become the norm, writes Nadine White

The process involves the application of a chemical cream to one’s skin; inhibiting the production of melanin, which is the natural pigment that gives skin its colour.

Needless to say, this procedure is most common among black and Asian people. They say ‘pain is beauty’ and many undergo this sometimes uncomfortable procedure in order to have a lighter complexion.

In a world obsessed with beauty and outer appearance, skin whitening is a question of attractiveness and appeal. Recently, it has become more overt and socially accepted than ever, but where has this popularity come from?

As far as the black community goes, there are links to slavery. The inferiority complex which was associated with skin colour back then has transmitted into a case of internalized racism and self-denial in the now.

Bleaching is currently rife in Africa. According to the World Health Organization, 77 per cent of Nigerian women use the products on a regular basis. They are followed by Togo with 59 per cent; South Africa with 35 per cent; and Mali at 25 per cent.

Besides this, colour prejudices are still present in other parts of the world. For instance, in some areas of Jamaica (where there is currently a bleaching epidemic), lighter-skinned black people get better jobs!

However, to trace the more immediate influences, I’d say the mass media has a part to play. Most models and actors are of a lighter complexion, and we are generally taught that ‘light is the right direction’. Most mainstream make-up ranges don’t even cater for darker complexions.

In addition, the influence that celebrities possess has a lot to do with the growing acceptability of bleaching. The beloved stars are becoming more and more open about their decision to bleach, and the photos alone tend to speak volumes. Who saw the shocking image of hip-hop star Lil Kim (below), which surfaced recently?

Controversial dancehall Star Vybz Kartel, who famously bleached his skin a couple years ago, also justified the procedure saying: ‘People want a different look. It’s tantamount to white people getting a sun tan.’

What many people overlook when it comes to bleaching is just how badly it can ruin your physical health. A leading member of the British Skin Foundation has declared that: ‘Many skin-lightening creams contain illegal compounds that can damage your health.’

There are many physical side effects to skin whitening but the psychological implications of such a procedure are more deep rooted.

Its soaring popularity signifies a real social crisis; a shocking pandemic, which unfortunately will probably get worse before it gets better.

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Tags lil kim, Jamaica, vybz kartel, skin bleaching, nadine white, skin whitening, natural pigment, whitening, World Health Organization, British Skin Foundation
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COMMENTS (23) Add your comment
ciroc boi, 24/03/2013 19:24

the article make sense and sound good, lil kim look like stephanie from bride of chucky lool

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