Delusional Beauty: The Psychological Effects of Skin Bleaching

light skinned womanaBy Nahdya Ayele Kouevidjin

Despite the saying “beauty is skin deep,” women continuously significant amount of money on various cosmetics products such as make up, hair extensions and heels in order to perfect their imperfect exteriors. Some will indeed willingly put their health in perilous circumstances in the name of “beauty.” Skin bleaching for instance, which is commonly used amongst the black community, considerably, African women as well as Jamaicans is used to whiten or bleach the melanin, the crucial determining factor of the color of the skin.

The concept behind skin bleaching is to acquire a better, smoother and lighter skin complexion, however, studies have proven it to have a negative impact on the human psyche. In places such as Jamaica for instance, where the population is predominantly blacks, everyone, particularly women tend to compete to have a more polish, and lighter skin tone.

Danielle Richardson, a Jamaican native says “everyone wants to grab the next man and bleaching the skin is your bargain ticket to a happy marital home.”

To think that one is bound to endure a possible miserable life only because they do not fit society’s mentality and ideal beauty is very unsettling and heartbreaking. A woman is not her skin nor is she the expectations set for her by society, however, unlike some of us, these women have yet to grasp the reality as well as the truth behind these words and embrace themselves for whom they are and value their worth.

“Bleaching makes you feel as you look, rich, powerful and beautiful, I have never heard of any woman that wouldn’t give anything to experience those feelings.” Danielle says as she smiles. However, if that was the case, the percentage of women then why that is the percentage of women who partake in bleaching should be 100 percent, but it is not. Bleaching destroy the liver and makes the individual more prone to skin cancer. It also causes skin dislocations, so why do it?

Indeed, it comes from the lack of self esteem, and a woman’s need and wish to be desired. So how do we help solve it? Possibly, we should redefine beauty from a intellectual and psychological point of view, while encouraging more women to focus less on their physical appearance and hold themselves on a pedestal, where they are able to see and understand the importance of their inner beauty rather than what lies on the surface.