Outline the reasons for using such products and discuss their effects in terms of health and society.
Give reasons for your answer and include relevant examples from your knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
In many countries, particularly in Asian nations, skin whitening creams and powders are incredibly popular and provide huge profits for the companies involved in their sale. Looking at this trend, one must analyse why these products are so popular and their effects on individuals and society’s well-being.
There are many reasons for the trend of adopting skin whitening cosmetics. In the past, the wealthy stayed indoors, whilst people of a lower status worked outside, exposed to the sun, usually on the farm or the war-front. As a result, those indoors had much lighter skin associated with their higher status than the hard-working people with dark skin. Additionally, in modern times, the Caucasian complexion has been established as supreme, a notion often perpetuated in the media, with adverts showing people with white skin as more successful and attractive. Brain-washed by these beliefs, masses in many parts of the world lose their self-worth and line up for fairness treatments.
Even though having whiter skin may improve a person’s self-esteem, these products can negatively affect the health of their users. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), people are harming their skin permanently as some whitening creams bought over the counter have prescription-strength ingredients like steroids or toxins, severely damaging the skin and other parts of the body. Moreover, social structures also face detrimental effects. Using fairness products perpetuates the belief that ‘white’ is better than ‘black’, and thus those with darker skin may experience discrimination. The recent ‘black lives matter’ movement in the USA underlines such division in human society.
In conclusion, people use whitening products because the media reinstates the historical bias towards black skin. However, we must break such perceptions as the drawbacks of this are clear, with potentially dangerous consequences for people’s future health and society.