Many Americans want to lighten their skin.
Skin lightening, also called whitening or bleaching, a A multi-billion dollar industry With products that harm the skin and researchers say they send a dangerous message about beauty and social value. But users of these products — primarily aimed at women — rarely understand the health risks of using over-the-counter chemicals, Northwestern University researchers found in a recent study. International Journal of Women’s Dermatology.
The researchers surveyed hundreds of people, most of whom were black women. Most of the respondents reported using skin lightening products, and some admitted that they did not know that the products contained harmful ingredients. hydroquinoneIt can cause skin rash, swelling, discoloration and more.
Dr. Rupal Kundu, lead author and director of the study, said, “Most of the time, skin lightening is used for the purpose of treating dermatological or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Northwest Medicine Ethnic Skin and Hair Center. But sometimes it’s used to look for a lighter skin and beauty builds with a combination of light and dark skin.
“We’ve done other work in that space to understand why people use these products,” she continued. “Lighter skin is considered more beautiful or valuable among some communities. This has been happening for centuries, generations have been doing it.
Respondents who used skin lighteners reported experiencing color sensitivity in their lives. Color, or color discrimination, is a system of inequality. In this, lighter skin on non-whites is considered more beautiful, socially acceptable, and often a privilege reserved for people with darker skin. They are black men with light skin He realized that he has more education If they have dark skin, and Skin color plays a role Black skinned job applicants Compete with light skinned applicants.
Meanwhile, black people with dark skin He faces a heavy prison sentence. A study published by the University of Chicago shows that people with lighter skin. And a recent Northwestern study highlights health disparities for non-white and dark-skinned people.
Although colorism is prevalent among black Americans, such discrimination is a global issue and exists across races and ethnicities. He Continued in India Due to centuries of casteism and colonialism and by 2021 Pew Research Center Election Latinos said they face discrimination and barriers to upward mobility because of their dark skin. In Hollywood, Actor roles tend to go for light skin Actors Beyond Darkness.
In recent years, national discussions about colorism have been on the rise, as have actors Zoe Saldana And musicians love it Beyonce And Ice cream flavor Going back to the benefits of colorism in the entertainment industry.
“One common denominator I can point to is that we are all dominated by Euro-centric power structures,” said Ronald Hall, a professor at Michigan State University.Universal views on colorism“And”Historical globalization of colorism.”
“Whiteness has become idealized. People of color don’t think about that. They just buy into it to express those ideas,” he said.
Kundu and Hall both agree that, because whiteness is associated with social value and upward mobility, people are often willing to take more risks to achieve lighter skin. The skin lightening industry has been criticized for years, especially as in 2010 The US Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers Like last year about the dangers of illegally marketed over-the-counter decongestants. These products often contain toxic substances and can cause permanent damage if used for a long time, Kundu said. Still, these ingredients are widely available in products sold in stores, online, and on social media.
The first step to eliminate the hole color and the result is to adequately deal with the problem.
“This is an issue that every African American knows and knows about,” said Hall, who will deliver the nation’s inaugural address. The first virtual conference on color. But people don’t want to talk about it, they want to pretend it doesn’t exist. So, in effect, it actually supports it. Once you experience it, you can take action.
This article was originally published by NBCNews.com