It’s a known fact that we Indians have a fixation with fair skin. Though it shouldn’t really matter what skin tone your are born with, but still, even today, people like to “advertise” their fair skin tone on matrimonial sites and brands pay crores to celebrities, both male and female, for endorsing their fairness and “skin lightening” creams. And this “fairness revolution” is not restricted to tier II cities or small towns, there is a screaming demand for these fairness scream even in metro cities!
While there is not harm in trying these creams, but you must know what goes in to them and how do these creams work. Recently I read somewhere that skin-lightening creams contain mercury, which has an adverse effect on kidneys and the nervous system. Hence it becomes all the more important that you dig deep before using a fairness cream because you may not be aware of all the ingredients that go into these creams and the effect they have on skin. For instance, ingredients such as Licorice are quite harmless and safe to use, however, creams containing hydroquinone are to be used under the supervision of a dermatologist. Also, don’t overdo the usage of skin whitening products as they lead to hyper-pigmentation (further darkening of skin).
Technically speaking, skin colour is defined by our genetic constitution and so the fairness creams work only to an extent. It is proven scientifically that one can lighten one’s skin by up to 20%. Anything beyond that is unrealistic.
Most skin creams work in two ways. Firstly, they provide UV protection and prevent further tanning, and secondly they contain skin bleaching ingredients that help limit the production of melanocytes (melanin producing cells).
It is best to use herbal products with natural ingredients for skin lightening. Look for creams containing ingredients like Licorice, honey, grape seed oil, etc. Avoid applying harsh chemicals and creams containing steroids, mercury, hydroquinone, etc as it may lead to skin problems.
Never judge a cream by its cost. An expensive cream from a good brand may not necessarily mean it’s good for you. Be aware. Little bit of research never hurts. And always remember, good nutrition leads to healthy skin! So, get good sleep, eat right kind of food, basic things really help!