Whitening and Lightening - the debate on making dark skin colours paler

Posted on the 10 March 2011 at 10:26

It was reported in some newspapers this week that in recent pictures, the pop singer, Beyonce Knowles, was looking paler than she normally does. She has changed her hair colour, and some commentators wondered whether her skin colour had changed for the lighter too.
We all know that sun exposure increases the amount of pigment in the skin; this is what gives us a sun tan. Equally, when you aren’t exposed to the sun, the pigment in the skin is reduced and therefore you can look paler.
I couldn’t comment on whether Beyonce’s skin tone has changed, perhaps it was a trick of the light or the flash. However, what did catch my eye was one of the comments on one news website. Someone had remarked how people with pale skin always want to look more tanned, and people with darker skin often strive for lighter skin.
I have been asked by journalists before why I think an increasing number of Asian people are using skin whitening and lightening creams, and I think it has a lot to do with wanting what you don’t already have.
I have also been asked before whether these whitening creams work, and are safe to use. In my opinion, whitening creams should only be used to treat a specific pigmentation problem such as melasma and should certainly only be used under the supervision of an experienced medical professional. If used unsupervised and for a prolonged period of time, DIY creams can increase the chances of contracting skin cancer and may lead to a condition known as Ochronosis, which is a bluish, grey discolouration of the skin. 
Darker skin tones are more susceptible to other skin conditions because of the increased pigment in their skin. About 50% of the patients I see are of Asian descent and the majority of them come to see me because of pigmentation problems or scarring, such as acne scarring or keloid scarring, which are more common in people with black or Asian skin tones.
Because of this increased amount of pigment in the skin, black and Asian skin can also be more difficult to treat, which is why, whenever you are considering a cosmetic treatment, it is very important that you always seek out a medical professional who is experienced in treating your skin tone.

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Blog Comment(s) [2]

Thank you for your valuable post.

We have decided to share it with our global physician audience at PhysicianNexus.com: http://physiciannexus.com/forum/topics/whitening-and-lightening-the

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Ruby Osorio

Thank you Ruby - we appreicate you sharing this with your members.

Lorna Jackson | http://www.consultingroom.com