A right step

July 28, 2019

Zartaj Gul, the minister of state for climate change’s announcement of an embargo on fairness creams that contain more than 1pc mercury is a right step. Many of these creams do not have all the ingredients listed, and most users are unaware of exactly what they are using on their skin. Over-the-counter creams contain topical steroids or parabens that are usually left unlisted. Not only do they lead to permanent scars and allergies, they can also permanently darken one’s skin with constant use. Bleaching agents such as the chemical hydroquinone, one that is now banned in Japan, Europe and Australia, can be particularly harmful, leading to the blackening of skin over time. With heavy marketing, celebrity endorsements and ads by leading actors, the fairness cream products promise to help users shine and succeed like the actors that endorse the brand. They quickly became a household name with middle and lower-middle class consumers. In our society there is a ridiculous perception of beauty. A fair complexion is considered to be an essential attribute, especially for a girl, to be perceived beautiful. This trend has been responsible for the growing market of fairness cosmetic products.  Our skin color is determined by our race and genetic lineage which in turn decides the amount and structure of melanin. Fairness creams can only work to a certain extent. As per dermatology studies, achieving fairness by up to 20 per cent is possible, but not more than that. The fairness creams only block sun rays and prevent secretion of melanin. Thus these help in reducing tan and restoring natural skin. Dermatologists warn that fairness solutions often come with ingredients that do more harm than good. In a country where people are infatuated with fairness, they will not leave the habit of using fairness cream products until and unless the concept of connecting beauty with fairness is not changed.  Our skin color is determined by our race and genetic lineage which in turn decides the amount and structure of melanin. Fairness creams can only work to a certain extent. As per dermatology studies, achieving fairness by up to 20 per cent is possible, but not more than that. The fairness creams only block sun rays and prevent secretion of melanin. Thus these help in reducing tan and restoring natural skin. Extreme use of fairness creams can lead to severe skin damage. Fairness creams usually contain harmful bleaching agent such as hydroquinone and metals like mercury, lead, nickel, chromium. Some creams may have high-levels of steroids that can cause the following problems: thinning of skin, discoloration of face, capillaries become prominently visible, severe acne, hypersensitivity to sun, rebound paradoxical pigmentation, facial hair growth, skin allergy and cancer.

Extreme use of fairness creams can lead to severe skin damage. Fairness creams usually contain harmful bleaching agent such as hydroquinone and metals like mercury, lead, nickel, chromium.