This is a long overdue post. 2016 was the year of the color shifters. And as at the time of this posting some of my once dark friends are white as snow- well the ones that bleached right that is. The other are more like the rainbow. Nigerians have been one of the highest consumers of skin lightening products in past times, however with the advent of social media, hashtags like team lightskin and memes about the all so precious team light skin, and how the beauty of other complexions pale in comparison to theirs, the black is beautiful phrase has taken the back seat, and even when used is said with hesitation.
This post isn’t to put a particular skin tone on a pedestal but rather to objectively look at the skin bleaching trend that is spreading faster than the common cold. I hold nothing against the skin bleachers. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable in your skin tone and while I must say that’s sad, it’s okay. It’s the same way someone isn’t comfortable about being fat and decides to work out to lose weight. There is nothing wrong with making changes like this since, they give you a confidence boost (everybody knows how difficult it is to be in a state of real confidence these days, as everyone thinks their opinion is valid). The problem however, arises when you go to extreme lengths to achieve your goal, ergo bleaching pills and injections(like seriously?). That is where my problem with skin bleaching comes in. Most skin bleaching products are harmful as they use harsh chemicals to bleach the skin some cause inflammation and predispose people to skin burns and the daddy of all problems- cancer. Note I didn’t just say skin cancer. I typed cancer because apart from skin cancer one may also be predisposed to having other cancers such as liver cancer and renal cancer.
On asking the question “why is bleaching so popular?” an even bigger monster is revealed “COLORISM”. Colorism is the undue prejudice or discrimination against individuals based on their skin tone. We are in a world where our minds have been conditioned to think that everything dark is bad well for s fact darkness could be said to be bad when compared to light. Down to folklore and culture, black had been used to portray sinister characters and white to portray good characters. The devil for instance is portrayed in most plays as a man clad in black. Subtle inferences such as these give the general picture that black is evil. If you think you have to be light skinned to be pretty you’re wrong. The internet may suggest otherwise but beauty is only skin deep. The real ugly people are the ones that are ugly inside. Make up can’t fix an ugly attitude. I’ve seen people that are fair that aren’t so pretty and dark people that aren’t too. I encourage everyone to be true to themselves.
Okay so what if after all this, you still want to bleach your skin? I advice you to research the topic so you get the best solutions. There’s nothing worse than badly burnt skin with keloid and all sorts of skin reactions. The society needs to discourage comparing skin tones and preferential treatment based on skin color (I see you ushering agencies). Ultimately, it costs nothing to be a good person. Be the best version of yourself always. A warm heart will more often than not beat flawless skin. See people as what they are- people. Not black people, not brown people, not yellow people, just people. And so i’ll end this post with the quote black is beautiful, and so is brown, and yellow, and white, but if you must bleach, do it right ;).