Have you ever wanted to change something about yourself, maybe your nose, wrinkles or the color of your hair? What about the color of your skin?
Right now, there's a trend impacting women and men that's revealing the dark side of beauty: skin bleaching.
We've seen the changing face of some celebrities whose skin appears to get lighter over time.
“So many of our favorite stars have lightened their skin,” says singer and actress Azealia Banks.
After criticism, Banks admits to skin bleaching.
“Shame on you for skin bleaching, and shame on you for doing this but it’s a very, very, very common thing. It’s all about doing it right and getting the right things, so you don't look like chalk,” says Banks. “I don't think me rubbing on some bleaching cream or cake soap is the end of the revolution, guys,” Banks says.
Others, like Kenyan Rapper Khaligraph Jones, deny it.
“I'm drinking clean water. I'm driving my own car. I'm not working out there in the sun getting burned,” says Jones.
YouTube is filled with claims of fast fixes for fairer skin. One man talks about using hydrogen peroxide. “It got my face super, super white.”
“People who are not light-skinned are now trying to change almost the appearance of a race they may be, which is disheartening,” says Dr. Seth Forman from Forman Dermatology.. "You should be proud of who you are, not trying to change who you are."
Forman says he typically prescribes a lightening cream to patients for things like scars or sun spots, but believes easy access to online products is taking skin bleaching to a dangerous level.
“I believe this is an extension of what's considered a body dysmorphic disorder, which is where people are continually trying to change their appearance,” says Forman. “Is there some kind of issue that they essentially don't like being in their own skin and why?”
Lighter skin's been perceived by some cultures as a symbol of status and privilege with laborers, who work outdoors, being darker.
Banks believes some of those stereotypes still exist.
“Whiteness is a mental illness, which I think everyone including myself is infected with,” Banks says.
Model Nyakim Gatwech hopes to be a better role model by speaking out about bleaching.
While artist Princess Latifah works to encourage women to embrace their color.
“Dark girls rise! Your dark skin is such a prize, when will you realize,” Latifah says.
Forman says once you start all-over skin bleaching, you'd have to keep doing it forever to maintain that color. He also warns that he won't prescribe a treatment with more than 4 percent Hydroquinone. He says, ironically, anything stronger that than can actually make skin darker.
It’s important to talk with a doctor before trying any treatment.
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