Black is still beautiful even if you think white is right

Let’s talk about skin lighting and the pressure of being a yellow-bone as we call it. Wanting to be”yellow” seems to be the in thing nowadays.

Is it pressure from society in general that makes one want to bleach their skin? Is black no longer beautiful? Or maybe because celebrities are bleaching their skin, making dark-skinned complexion seem ugly and unacceptable.
I have always wondered what makes an individual take the decision of skin bleaching. Is it a lack of self-confidence or is it peer pressure that fuels the demand for skin lightening?

Is the media to blame as most of their adverts contain light-skinned woman? Music videos also contain mostly light-skinned “video girls”. So what does this say about dark-skinned complexions – are they unacceptable in society, is it ugly or is it not the “in” look? Oh well, let us first look at the products found in the market and the availability of them before I answer those questions.
Creams such as Caro light, Betasol cream, Rico complexion cream, Diproson and Lemonvate – just to name a few – are what people are using to lighten their complexion. Experts say the quest for lighter skin is fuelled by celebrities, the entertainment industry, peer pressure and social media.

All these products used to lighten skin complexions are easily found in small businesses including stalls at flea markets, spice shops and on the side of the road and they are very cheap. Why are they not sold at pharmacies, why are they not brought on doctors prescriptions? These are some of the questions that we should be asking ourselves before buying such products. The answer is simple. These products are hazardous to the skin as they contain substances which were banned by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) of South Africa. They have high in volumes of steroids, hydroquinone, mercury, and lead, which damage the skin.

The side effects of these products include thinning of the skin, acne, secondary pigmentation and unusual hair growth. Will you use these creams until God comes back?
Because once you stop bleaching the body it will return to its natural complexion. That is a fact.
I have a friend who has been bleaching her skin since college and that was ten years ago. I once had an honest conversation with her and asked her why is she doing this. She silenced me by saying she was always the “black” sheep in her family because all her siblings were lighter in complexion and because of this they were loved more by their relatives and friends. The same relatives who always called her “umnyamana’ (meaning blackie) and this killed her self-esteem as a child.

“My little sister who is way lighter than me always got more hugs and kisses from our parents”, these were the piercing words she concluded with. This saddened me because as a parent myself I don’t want my dark chocolate son to think I don’t love him cause of his complexion.

Skin bleaching is not only dominant in the black society, Indians and mixed-race societies also bleach their skin. I think its more noticeable in the black community because you grow up with a dark-skinned friend, then by the time you are in university their complexion is totally different, they are fair and “yellow-boned” which sometimes makes them a laughing stock in the community as everyone knows them as omnyama (dark in complexion).
So I guess this goes back to one not being able to accept your God-given complexion, allowing peer pressure to dictate the ‘acceptable’ skin complexion and succumbing. Well, I am black and I am beautiful. I will not let anyone tell me otherwise and this is the same mentality I am instilling in my kids.

A note to parents, let us love our kids abundantly no matter their complexion, body shape or jean size because the first place they learn about love is in our very own homes. If we don’t show them love and affection they will go outside and look for it and that is where they will be misled.

Enhancing your skin by bleaching will leave you with permanent skin damage in the long run. Black is still beautiful.

  AUTHOR
Fathima Zubane
Journalist

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