I was 9 when I received my first–and last–skin-lightening product. An aunt visiting from the Philippines gave me a bar of soap in black. It claimed to exfoliate my skin, lighten my skin and fade away any dark spots. “You’re so dark,” she said. “This will help.” Although I was confused, as an Asian child who respects her elders and smiles back, I Beauty Cream accepted her apology. My aunt visited me and I discovered the soap in my bathroom. I took this as a hint to use it. The soap was black in color and smelled nice. However, no matter how hard I scrubbed it, I couldn’t get lighter.
Claire Chang MD, a board certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology explains that skin bleaching refers to the use of substances to lower the melanin content in the skin to lighten it. This ancient procedure can be traced back to the 1500s. It continues to be a profitable business that uses beauty and the beast lyrics Cream, pills and injectables. A recent WHO report found that half of the people in Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines use some form of skin lightening treatment. It’s even more common in India (60%), and African countries like Nigeria (77%). This is also more common than most people realize in the U.S., where bleaching agents like hydroquinone are commonly used in products to treat hyperpigmentation and discoloration. The skin whitening market is expected to reach $24 billion by 2027. Chang warns that skin whitening is a risky business. “Skin bleaching treatments remain largely unregulated.” There are many’skin-whitening’ products on the market, but there is not much medical evidence. Many of these products have been shown to be very dangerous. Many countries have banned the use bleaching agents, including Australia, Ghana, Japan, Australia and Rwanda. Despite ongoing reports about cancer and blood poisoning, many still use these products.
Entiere founder Melissa K. Levin, MD says that there is a huge demand in Asia for skin-lightening agents. She also notes that other pigmentary conditions like melasma and lentigines and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation are increasing the demand. Refinery29 recently revealed that a group made up of Filipino women used everything from oral medication to get their skin lighter. Joanne L. Rondilla, assistant dove beauty cream professor of Asian American Studies at San Jose State University, explains that skin color is not purely about vanity. It’s also about social standing. She writes that having light skin meant one was of high social standing, education and leisure. A woman’s skin was light, which meant that she didn’t need to work outside to earn a living.
I have shared the skin-whitening soap story with friends without thinking about how shocking it might seem. Non-white friends understood and even shared their stories about skin bleaching. My white friends couldn’t understand why lightening soaps exist. They have not experienced the systemic racism that has been created in ethnic communities, colorism. Rondilla defines colourism as discrimination against people of the same ethnic or racial heritage. She says that colorism can differ between ethnic groups for different reasons. It really boils down to colonial history and how each community understands power and privilege.
Rondilla, in a podcast episode on This Filipino American Life, explains how Filipino colorism is different from other communities. She cites the various layers of colonialism that the Spanish, Americans and, temporarily, the Beauty Cream Japanese have imposed upon it during World War II. She says that all would liken the native Filipinos to the whiter-skinned Chinese businessmen, as the Chinese have more money and capital.
She tells the podcast hosts that she sees this in her own family when people look longingly at white skinned relatives. They’re mestiza-mixed with either European or Chinese blood. “Our perception of colorism doesn’t depend on whether it’s black or white. It’s influenced by historical events.”
My dark skin was a concern to my extended family, but my white friends celebrated it. One friend said, “I envy your tan.” Another friend said, “You’re lucky that you’re not as pale” They would also misunderstand my family’s concern that having darker skin tones makes it more difficult for me to live a normal life.
Rondilla says, “This is where white people fall short: Skin isn’t just skin.” “Skin can have social, racial and historical, political, as well as sociological meanings.” If someone says that they love their skin, but don’t know the history trauma caused by it, and that privilege is responsible, then that person doesn’t get it.
Fenty beauty school dropout has been fine-tuning their formulas for women, and pushing inclusion to the forefront, but colorism still dictates how much we can celebrate our skin color.
Beauty Cream Diversity
She says, “Celebrating skin tones, Beauty Cream is great. But in the U.S., we’re at the point where we really need to not only celebrate Beauty Cream diversity but also incorporate equity and diversity into the larger conversation.” I see these moments of “celebrating skin tone” as just that, moments. They will hopefully become more lasting.”
Recently, I asked my mom about the whitening shampoo. Although she admitted that she should have thrown it out, she said that my aunt came from beauty works hair extensions Cream a good place. She said, “Your skin shouldn’t be a barrier. But you know what the situation is.” “Family will always do everything to level the playing field for everyone.”