Skin Bleaching Research Paper

1908 Words Feb 19th, 2013 8 Pages
Skin Bleaching Epidemic: Bleaching for Beauty

Introduction to Sociology, 1804 Dr. Max Orezzoli November 21, 2011

Skin Bleaching is defined as a practice of using chemical substances in attempt to lighten skin tone or provide an even skin complexion by lessening the concentration of melanin. There are several methods in which this can be achieved from the use of topical creams and gel, chemical peels and even skin whitening pills known as Glutathione. This practice is dated as far back as the 1200s rooted in Asia and Japan which is called the Asian Whitening and the Renaissance period between (1400s-1600s), all these people where already of Mongolian and European descent but where
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Skin Bleaching products work by stripping way the skin’s natural pigmentation and skin cells. Unfortunately, some of these consumers will endanger their own health in order to achieve a more desired skin tone. In fact, in some locations, skin bleaching is almost considered an epidemic problem due to the fact that potentially unsafe ingredients such as Hydroquinone are being used excessively and for extended durations of time. This is resulting in a variety of health problems such as kidney problems, skin cancer, asthma, leukemia, poisoning and many more. “Hydroquinone is a very powerful chemical that it used as the key ingredient in the photographic process of development, but is also used in the rubber industry as an antioxidant, and as an agent in hair dyes. Mercury is another product often used in some cosmetic products as a bleaching agent. Severely toxic, it can cause skin to go grey or blue black, rather than lighter, and in many cases has resulted in the user suffering from mercury poisoning” (Olade & McGuire, 2008). The medical and pharmaceutical industry has warned that the high level of steroids presented in these illegal imported products threatens not only their physical but mental and cultural well-being. But the question still remains, why do people go to this extent to change their skin color? It is because society presents the illusion that bleaching is a gateway to upward social mobility. And black skin is associated with social

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