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CHECK THE LABEL: ​Beauty That’s Skin Deep

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Beauty That’s Skin Deep


When Michael Jackson’s hit, “Black or White,” was released in 1991, it made such a big impact because, for one, its music video used what was then state-of-the-art computer graphics where each face seamlessly morphed into another belonging to a different race or color. This was made even more controversial because of the rumors surrounding MJ at that time claiming that he willingly underwent procedures to alter his own face and the color of his skin to make him look more “white.” The Billboard hit was capped with the irony of its message that centered on equality regardless of one’s race or color.

The issue about one’s race and the color of one’s skin is as controversial as ever. We continue to hear stories of people being discriminated on because of the color of their skin. Social media is rife with photos of physical transformations of people we know, used to know, don’t know, and don’t know anymore (if you know what I’m saying). And more often than not, we become witnesses to personal testimonies of people wishing their noses were taller, their hair straighter, or their skin lighter. The reality of the situation is that some people still continue to change their appearances because of peer pressure and the desire to socially belong.

Take the practice of skin whitening for example. The cosmetic industry is full of lightening products that pose promises of fairer, whiter skin. Unfortunately, many global beauty companies do not reveal the whole truth that lies beneath the surface of their skin whitening products. One of the main ingredients in question is hydroquinone.

Hydroquinone is perhaps the most commonly used skin lightening chemical. It is often used to treat acne marks, sun spots, and melasma, which is a common skin problem that causes brown to gray-brown patches on the skin. However, hydroquinone has also been linked to a number of dangers and disadvantages.

According to some research, hydroquinone has shown carcinogenic effects. Some experts consider it cytotoxic (toxic to cells) and mutagenic. While it is often used to treat hyperpigmentation, or the darkening of skin, ironically, its long term use in fact damages pigment in cells and even increases the risk of acquiring hyperpigmentation. In some cases, hydroquinone has been found to turn skin bluish and black.

Other side effects of hydroquinone include contact dermatitis, skin irritation, mild burning, stinging, redness, and dryness of the skin, blistering, and skin cracking. It has even resulted to thick, leathery, bumpy skin in other cases. Hydroquinone also increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, leaving it vulnerable to increased exposure to UV radiation. Worse still, hydroquinone actually turns toxic when exposed to sunlight.

Some serious allergic reactions to hydroquinone include rashes, itching/swelling (especially of the face, tongue, and throat), severe dizziness, and trouble breathing. While very few still recommend the use of this harmful chemical, it is highly advised that if you are to use hydroquinone, you us it only as a last resort, and only with a doctor’s prescription!

It is unfortunate that even in this day and age some still believe in the superiority of their own race based on their skin color. While it has been said on many occasions over and over, I believe it is still worth repeating: Each one of us is beautiful inside and out. We are all uniquely and wonderfully made. The true measure of one’s worth is skin deep, so never let anyone tell you otherwise.


SOURCES:

http://www.skinacea.com/faq/treatments/t10-why-hydroquinone-is-bad.html#.Wf_H63Zx3IU

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-87530/hydroquinone-skin-bleaching-topical/details#side-effects


 

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