Beta chai mat peena kaali ho jaogi! (Do not drink tea your skin may become dark)
Pregnancy ke time pe kesar ka doodh peene se bacche gore hote he! (Drink saffron milk during pregnancy for fair-skinned baby)
Kaali ladki he toh dahej zyada dena padega, koi ladka shadi nahi karega (If your girl is dark-skinned then no guy will want to marry her even if you offer loads of dowry)
Ye cream roz lagane se chera gora ho jaata he. (If you apply this fairness cream every day, your skin will become fair)
So on and so forth….
These are just some of the most common myths and expectations related to fair skin. And believe me almost every one of us might have come across these tall claims at least once in our lifetime. Moreover, these lines clearly state the obsession that Indians have with fair complexion. This is the reason why fairness creams are still popular across all the age groups right from teenagers to office-goers. So here we have tried to shed light on some of the common myths and expectations about fair complexion.
Myths and Expectations: Fair complexion
If you are planning to invest in a fairness cream or are planning to get a skin whitening treatment for fair skin, here are a few things you need to know about.
Myth/expectation: Applying a fairness cream can turn dark skin into a fairer one
Our skin contains melanin, a natural pigment that gives skin its color. Dark-skinned people have more melanin than light-skinned people. In simple terms, the quantity of melanin controls your skin complexion. There are several factors which can increase the production of melanin such as hormonal changes, exposure to the sun, hyperpigmentation and skin disorders.
So just applying a cream, which is claimed to make you fairer over the face, may not cause your complexion to change from dark to fair. Moreover, there are no fairness creams in the market which guarantee you the results or provide the results within a stipulated time frame. So do not go by false claims but talk to your doctor or dermatologist to know how to improve your skin tone and make it look healthy and glowing.
Myth/expectation: Undergoing a skin treatment can make my skin look like a Caucasian (white).
The first and foremost thing that everyone needs to know irrespective of whether they are planning to undergo a skin whitening/brightening or lightening treatment or not is that these treatments can make your skin tone one or two tones lighter which may not make your skin tone a drastically different one as compared to the current one. But remember for these treatments to work you need to go to a good dermatologist and follow a dedicated approach. Also, these treatments may not make your skin tone lighter overnight.
So if you are planning to undergo a skin whitening treatment then it is important to know about all the treatment options. There are various skin whitening procedures available right from bleaching to laser treatment and microdermabrasion. But to know the one that fits your bill and suits your skin can only be advised by an expert.
So book an appointment with a dermatologist who upon screening your skin and performing physical examination can let you know what is the best treatment plan suiting your skin and your requirement. Also, look for a qualified dermatologist who is certified and experienced for best results. Remember these techniques can show improvement if you follow your doctor’s advice without fail and are consistent in your approach.
Myth/expectation: Applying home remedies like tomato juice or aloe vera can do the trick
Let get the facts clear. Home remedies can only help you to improve skin texture and glow and that too to a certain extent. For example, these remedies can help you treat suntan, make your skin glow, help you deal with uneven skin, aid in treating acne or pimples at home. Home remedies can help you to make your skin glow and get clear and flawless skin but not skin whitening.
So if you want to get rid of sun tan, then using home remedies can help to a certain extent. In fact, most people tend to use tomato paste/juice to deal with sun tan naturally. And it is known to provide good results if done on a regular basis. However, if you are planning to get herbal products online then do look for the ingredients carefully. Also, most of the home remedies available in the market such as multani mitti or sandalwood powder are adulterated and contain impurities, so the chances of getting the desired result is very less. Moreover, the chances of skin damage is also high. So choose these products wisely.
Myth/expectation: Eating loads of orange-colored, white-colored and green-colored foods will make my skin fair.
Diet plays a key role in improving your overall health including that of your skin. So it goes without saying that eating a diet rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients can help you to keep the skin healthy and glowing. However, there are no research studies or reports that claim to eat a particular color or type of food can help improve your skin complexion and make you look fairer. However, there are numerous sites online which claim eating foods can make your skin fair. Do not fall prey to these false claims but eat healthy for healthy skin.
Myth/Expectation: Use a fairness based sunscreen to get fair skin
Firstly, one must be aware of the fact that there is no sunscreen which can help you get a fair skin. And even though, you need to use one irrespective of the time of the year to protect your skin from the harmful sun rays. Yes, sunscreen blocks the UV-A and UV-B radiation from entering the skin, thereby preventing the risk of skin damage. UV-A radiation can cause skin pigmentation whereas UV-B rays are known to cause skin cancer. Moreover, excessive exposure to sun rays can also cause premature ageing of the skin. And surprisingly, people who have a fair skin are more prone to get skin cancer due to these rays as compared to those with a dark skin tone. In fact, sun tan is good for the skin as it prevents the sun rays from causing skin damage and also lower your risk of cancer.
Also, there is no specific sunscreen for fair skin or dark skin but it is based on the skin type which is dry, normal, combination and oily skin. So using sunscreen is a good idea irrespective of your skin tone to keep it healthy. Additionally, use of hats, umbrellas and scarves is recommended to stay protected from sun damage. Also, wear loose, cotton clothes and long sleeves to cover all the exposed parts of the body as skin care doesn’t ONLY mean taking care of the face but the entire body.
Myth/Expectation: Glutathione tablets can make my skin fairer
Glutathione, also known as GSH capsules, are widely popular for their skin whitening benefits. Glutathione is nothing but an antioxidant which consists of 3 amino acids namely cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid. This is the reason why it is known to fight free radicals and keep your skin healthy. It prevents skin pigmentation, dark spots and blemishes, thereby helping you to improve your skin tone. It is one of the commonly used over the counter medication to get fair skin and is available in the form of pills, lotions, creams and injections. It not only promotes a lighter complexion but also improves skin health.
Although treatment with glutathione can make the skin tone a shade or two lighter but in the long term are known to affect the skin health. It can lead to a condition known as ochronosis which causes bluish black coloration of the skin. Also, use of steroid-based creams can make your skin thin which in turn can make you more prone to acne in the long run. Hence, these treatments should only be tried for a short period of time and as recommended by your dermatologist. Remember, never extend the course of these medications without consulting a dermatologist as long term use can cause severe health complications.
These are some of the common myths and expectations about fair complexion. But what all of us need to know is we have a different climate which is the key reason for having a darker skin tone. Also, different people have different skin tone and color and it is not dependent on any external factors but the amount of melanin produced by the body. So do not judge anyone based on the color nor try out treatments or remedies which claim to provide fair complexion in a day or month.
Remember that YOU are more than your skin color. It is your achievements and moral values that speak for you and make you stand out in a crowd. Never ever let your skin color decide your goals and future but make your future shine which is in your hands.
Embrace the true beauty within yourself because it is not your skin tone or your fairness that will help you in the long run. It is NOT the skin tone but how healthy your skin is that matters. If you start practising healthy skin care routine (mind you it is not just the face but the entire body) from today, you can reap the benefits even in your old age. Your beauty will enhance with age only with a dedicated skin care ritual, staying hydrated and having a healthy diet and not by falling prey to tall, false claims or spending millions on various skin care treatment. Because at the end of the day, the fairness of the skin doesn’t count because it is just the colour you are born with not your identity nor your inner beauty/self. Stay happy, stay wise!
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Anuj Saini, Manager, Data Science)