Whitening Cream


Medical and pharmaceutical advances continue to change people’s lives and health for the better, and one of the areas of advancement is whitening cream to change skin tone. Some people simply want to look different, while others hope to enjoy a shift in how they are perceived and treated. Patterns of use around the world show that skin lightening practices are on the rise almost universally. The desire for fair skin is not restricted to any single small area; instead, it is being acted upon around the globe.

The following are samples of investigations into cultural perceptions and the use of whitening cream in several areas around the world.  The use of skin lightening cream is more prevalent than most people imagine, and largely driven by cultural influences. The concerning factor, in many of these cases, is the lack of medical regulation or sanitation. In short, the use of whitening cream is potentially more hazardous in some countries.

Whitening Cream in Africa

Statistics on skin whitening in Africa are hard to come by, and the issue itself pales in comparison to the more serious concerns like hunger, genocide, and HIV. Nevertheless, some researchers have felt enough concern about the topic to undertake some sociological studies in different areas of Africa.

The specific concerns that prompted the study had to do primarily with the lack of sanitary conditions, particularly with procedures like laser treatment of the skin. Whereas the same procedures might be almost entirely safe in a United States operating room, many of the women seeking similar treatment in Africa might not have access to high quality facilities.

In the areas of Africa where skin whitening was studied, researchers found that a stunning two-thirds of women were using some form of whitening cream. The fact that such a high percentage of women are trying to lighten their skin tone says a great deal about social pressures on women in this region.

The percentages are even higher among women with jobs and women who are married. There may or may not be a causative link between the lighter skin and the achievements of marriage and job. Either way, it is likely that other women who aspire to matrimony and a paycheck see the link (lighter skinned women with jobs and husbands) and assume that the light skin helped achieve those “prizes.”

Whitening Cream in Asian Cultures

Interestingly enough, the preferences within Asian cultures for white skin can be traced far back in time, even before the incursion of Europeans into Asian lands. Chinese women used to swallow powdered pearls in hopes of whitening their skin, and Indian women have bathed in turmeric for centuries. The Indian class and caste system recognizes fair skin as a desirable trait, and in fact, the words for “beauty” and “whiteness” are synonymous.

A recent research project examined the advertising images in Asian countries, and the meta-messages being pressed on women in Asian cultures. The researchers found that women’s consciousness has been bombarded with western standards of beauty, and that many companies even use Caucasian models and spokespeople in ads intended for the Orient. It should be no surprise that the sales of skin brightening cream have skyrocketed in Asia in recent decades.

Whitening Cream in the Caribbean

Health care workers in Jamaica have been alarmed in recent years by the upsurge of skin bleaching in the population at large. Once again, the tendency toward alarm stems from the particular conditions under which women are choosing to bleach their skin. They are using skin lightening products without knowing what ingredients are in the cream, without knowing how to use the products safely, and without even basic education of the risks, or the symptoms to watch out for.

As an example of the frightening results of this lack of education, one Jamaican clinic worker told of a woman who was using skin bleaching cream on her newborn baby. When the alarmed clinic worker tried to explain the serious health effects that might happen to the baby, the mother became annoyed and left the clinic altogether. From her perspective, she considered that she was giving her daughter a chance at a better life, in a culture where a lighter skinned girl will have better opportunities.

The reasons for skin lightening range from the merely whimsical to the dead seriousness of this mother trying to give her daughter a better life. It is to be hoped that the relevant education and health regulations will soon accompany the practice.


Whitening Cream in the United States

If you are considering the prospect of using whitening cream in the U.S. or another first-world Western nation, you will appreciate the additional safety and safeguards enacted and enforced there. The process of skin lightening is a cause for concern in many countries. If a patient opts for an invasive procedure like laser treatment or surgery, the sanitary nature of the operating room may be in doubt. In such cases a whitening cream might seem like a safer route to the same end, but there are unknown factors here as well.

When manufacturers of lightening creams are not required to disclose their ingredients, the consumer may be unknowingly covering herself with toxic mercury or other dangerous substances. This scenario is made all the more likely by the relatively inexpensive cost of mercury to the manufacturer. Their profit may be the greater from using cheap ingredients, regardless of the effect on the consumer.

In the United States, medicinal compounds must truthfully report their ingredients, and the Food and Drug Administration tests them to ensure the reporting is accurate. Finally, there is the advantage of the availability of expert advice. Even in cases where insurance doesn’t cover a whitening product, the initial consultation with your doctor or dermatologist should be covered.

Thoughtful and informed guidance from a specialist who knows you may be the most invaluable piece of the puzzle. When you are assured of knowing all the available options, risks and all, you will have the advantage of making a fully informed choice about your use of whitening cream.



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