Indians have always had a fascination with fairness. While in recent times more people have become aware of how wrong and potentially damaging this fascination is - for most Indians, fairness remains a mark of beauty and success. At Remedico, we reject this, and stand firmly against the idea that you need to be fairer to be look better.
What is less discussed, is the potentially harmful health effects of these fairness creams.
Why is some skin darker than others?
Indians usually fall in the skin type 3-4 category, and we have an innate desire to be fairer than what we are. One tends to tan (or go slightly darker), when out in the sun, and especially without proper photoprotection like sunscreens. Getting rid of a tan and restoring a person’s natural colour is definitely possible, and protecting yourself from harmful rays is something that we always encourage.
But making someone fairer than their actual shade isn’t possible with creams. Skin colour is a function of genetics, and it is the amount of pigment (called melanin) produced by your cells that give you your colour. The skin of the people descending from the tropics and closer to the equator (like Indians) has evolved to produce more melanin to protect itself from the sun, compared to the skin of the people whose ancestors lived further away from the equator. It’s as simple as that!
Why you shouldn’t use fairness creams
Promoting fairness through a tube is misleading, and can be dangerous – especially with over the counter (OTC) creams, whose contents are not mentioned. Below are some of issues that can arise:
- Some fairness creams have hydroquinone, which is a strong composition and ideally should only be used under strict guidance from a certified dermatologist. Overuse of this composition over a long period can cause ochronosis, which is a grey look to the skin, causing more pigmentation issues.
- Bleaching agents may be present which may give rise to skin irritation or hypopigmentation.
- Some OTC fairness creams can have steroids. Long-term and indiscriminate use of this is harmful for the skin. It can cause thinning of the skin and hypopigmentation if used for a long time.
How you can improve your skin tone – safely
There are, of course, certain medicated brightening and lightening creams (different from OTC fairness creams), which can help in removing excess tan and restoring an even, natural colour. But those products should only be taken if prescribed by a certified dermatologist, after assessing a patient’s condition and skin type.
Remember, there is much more to good skin than colour, and there is nothing about fairness that is either more healthy or more desirable. At Remedico, we believe you should strive for healthy, glowing skin that makes you feel great, no matter the shade or colour.
If you are experiencing excessive tanning, pigmentation, or just want clearer skin, consult a dermatologist online through Remedico from your phone in just 5 minutes. No appointments, no clinics - just easy!