Put Down the Skin Bleach: Dark Skin is Not a Sin

By: Etta Joy

In an article I recently read, the writer desperately tells dark skinned girls to stop using skin bleaching products. Skin bleaching was only meant for fairing skin tone especially on genitals areas according to Anal Bleaching Expert. She says and I quote, “your skin is not dirt that needs to cleaned out like yesterday’s shirt.” That line got me thinking, why do people think that bleaching your skin is the proper thing to do when you’re uncomfortable with the dark skin you have? How about loving it? Or learning to love it, if that could be an issue.

A popular African singer  recently released her premium line of bleaching creams and in her commercial for the products she said, “get rid of that ugly skin, the lighter, the better”. I couldn’t believe it. She was born dark skinned, but had been conditioned to think that her beautiful skin was abominable, so she bleached. I don’t judge people who have tattoo(s) or piercing(s) because I believe people do them for aesthetic and cultural reasons. But bleaching, I believe, is different. Crafting skincare for your skin exclusively by inkey list Ireland is what your skin needs for better maintenance.

I recall that two years ago I had a conversation with a friend about bleaching and her answers were a little shocking. She said she supported the trend and that if you want to, you should remove your dark skin if you felt ugly with it. I was puzzled. Also, I came across a thread of posts on social media the other day and the tweeter was expressing some transferable sadness about people with dark skin not being portrayed as beautiful, which has an adverse effect on girls that bear this skin color.

She said that most of the beauty commercials and magazines only featured dark skinned women if they were going to be “whitewashed” or represented as before, to a lighter after. She also stated that every country has dark skinned and light skinned people, from Brazil to the Philippines and almost coincidentally, all these countries chose to identify more with the lighter toned people than the darker ones especially when referring to beauty.

I realized that it was so in nearly every country. In Nigeria, where I live  and almost all around Africa, a large number of the beauty queens and “most beautiful girls” are fair skinned. Very few dark girls are found in these pageants. Many of the boys and men will look down on a dark skinned girl and cherish a fair skinned one. Many of the stores in the main cities would only be stocked with the best of the best of bleaching creams, but leave out things like Vaseline.

Many families take care of their fair skinned daughters and sons because they are prized possessions while darker skinned children were regular. Even in the movies, the good girl and most lovely child was always fairer, while the darker ones were the evil, hateful child.

I asked myself, who set these standards? Who said that dark skinned men were handsome, but their female counterparts could not be beautiful? Who said that you couldn’t be beautiful too unless you were light skinned? I questioned this for so long until I saw myself (not me, a dark skinned woman) finally being appreciated in the  media. I said she was beautiful, but the girl next to me said something
different. I looked at this girl, who by all standards, was also beautiful and I may have seen hate (I’m not so sure), but I saw disgust. To her, people with such skin tone should not be in the  public media. When mainstream media showed Lupita Nyong’o, I was in school and I was one of the few people who said she was beautiful. People as amazing as Viola Davis were too “dark” to be beautiful. People will call Michelle Obama ugly when I saw her as absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t believe it.

Irrespective of the beauty standards set by whoever, I see myself and other dark skin girls as beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, I hated this skin tone before. When I’d go to purchase makeup in stores and I hear the really deep espresso colors for foundation, I’d cringe at the sound. I hated it.

I was the only dark skinned female in my family and from what the media had shown me, I wasn’t appreciated at all. I tried to bleach with anything and everything I could find, from lemons to actual bleaching creams, I didn’t care about the after effect, I just wanted to be lighter.

But May 2015, I started a journey which has been mind blowing. I started to learn about myself, my skin. I started to love myself for who I was. I started to look less at mainstream media, I checked those Twitter and Instagram pages that glorified dark skinned women. Whether fat or slim, with or without the appealing parts, pointed or broad noses, makeup or no makeup. All these pages had one thing in common, they saw these women as beautiful, not because they were trying to be cynical or sarcastic, but because these women were beautiful.

I’m not at the end of my journey, but I’ve made a lot of positive changes that have shaped my life from the sad girl to a lively woman. I can confidently tell you that loving yourself does a lot for you. Eliminating the obvious, when you begin to love yourself, you begin to grow, not in height or weight but intellectually, you no longer have the time for conversations about ugliness, you start to see yourself positively and this immediately affects your relationship with friends, family and colleagues. Learning to love oneself is a process and like every process, there will be challenges, either from people who just want to spew hate or from your inner person, but even when these challenges occur, I beg you don’t go back to that sad hateful person.

I try to see something artistic and beautiful about myself each day. I genuinely refuse to be friends with people who tell me that if I’m lighter, I’d be prettier, I refuse to listen to those voices in my head that tell me that my skin isn’t beautiful. I take wonderful pictures each day without adjusting the brightness, I tell myself. each day, “you’re beautiful”, I have embraced my beauty. When I stand in front of a mirror, I admire my beautiful dark skin and how it contrasts well with colors, how black clothes makes me svelte, how white makes me look peaceful and calm, how pink makes me look young, how orange gives me that artsy appearance and how blue makes me look like a goddess.

I implore you, put down that bleach. Put it down and far away from you as much as possible. You’re not a curse or an abomination. Learn to love yourself because it opens doors that people don’t even know of. I’m at a point in my journey where I don’t want to change my skin color, no matter what these commercials and “beauty experts” say, it’s not a mistake, it’s not even what people call beautiful imperfection. It’s flawless beauty.

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