Abdul Kader Mohiuddin, SKIN LIGHTENERS & HYPERPIGMENTATION MANAGEMENT, ASIO Journal of Pharmaceutical & Herbal Medicines Research (ASIO-JPHMR), Volume 5 (1); 2019; 01-42.
ARTICLE TYPE: Review
DOI Link :: http://doi-ds.org/doilink/10.2016-19146535/ ; doi link: http://doi-ds.org/doilink/07.2019-49234276/
Skin color, along with hair and eye color, is genetically determined by the amount of melanin found in the top layers of skin. Its varied presence – which accounts for different skin colors – is linked to a population's historic levels of sun exposure. Skin-lightening is just one of the multiple options for augmenting the skin’s surface appearance, including but not limited to tanning, scarification, makeup, tattooing, facelifts, nose jobs, botox, lip extensions, and piercings. Skin-bleaching practices, such as using skin creams and soaps to achieve a lighter skin tone, are common throughout the world and are triggered by cosmetic reasons that oftentimes have deep historical, economic, sociocultural, and psychosocial roots. The cosmetics industry has traditionally relied on convincing people that they are incomplete without a particular product. Yet, unlike makeup or fake tan, skin-whitening creams base beauty on a racial hierarchy, fueling intolerance and causing serious social harm. Lighter and fairer skin is something that everyone craves for, and celebrities play a massive part in paving the way. Just like ladies, men also aspire to get immaculate, glowing and healthy-looking skin to accentuate their personality and overall looks. It's for everyone to understand that men really feel shy to discuss the skincare routines as they feel it's all-girl stuff. But there is no denying that even boys need to uplift and improve their skin texture to feel good. Studies have documented the use of skin fairness products, sometimes referred to as “skin whitening products,” “skin bleaching products,” “depigmenting agents,” in Africa, Europe, North America, and Asia, with a prevalence of use ranging from 30 to 80% among various community samples. Skin fairness products include whitening and skin-lightening creams, face washes, deodorants, and lotions. These agents act in different ways to lighten skin but generally work by suppressing the production of melanin, the pigment which gives human skin its color. While traditionally a female practice, use has become more popular also among men in recent years. These agents selectively target hyperplastic melanocytes and inhibit key regulatory steps in melanin synthesis. Historically marketed to women, companies have recently expanded their offerings to include products designed and marketed specifically for men. Advertisements and packaging overtly claim that products will make consumers’ skin fairer and more even-toned, while product names and the use of well-known models and actors in advertisements imply that they will enhance consumers’ cultural capital via improvements in attractiveness, youthfulness, confidence, and success. The relevance of skin fairness products to public health is highlighted by the scope of the industry, the widespread use of these products, and the potential health risks associated with their use. Skin-whitening cosmetics are a multi-billion-dollar industry pushing the idea that beauty equates with white skin and that lightening dark skin is both achievable and preferable.
Keywords: Skin bleaching; whiteners; hyperpigmentation; fairness creams; melasma; tyrosinase inhibitors; dark skin; melanosomes.