The white or Gora complex is a little bit of something left behind by the British as a post colonial present to our desi brown people. We had finally gotten our Independence and were free from years of oppressive rule. However we had big shoes to fill, great leaders to look up to but unfortunately we could never be as “Safaid” as our former British counterparts hence Que – the birth of the ‘i-want-to-be-gora-too’ Edition 1 a.k.a the white complex in the subcontinent ft. newly endorsed whitening creams.
The best thing to hit us after Zia Ul Haq and the British Rule, the ‘Gora Complex’ is something us desi people find a tad bit too difficult to shake off or leave behind. This concept is deeply rooted in the past where skins of color were somehow deemed inferior to those who were white or fair skinned.
A huge shout out to Rosa Parks & a jump forward some 60 years later we find ourselves, still smuggling whitening creams promising us ‘fair & lovely’ skin over the counter and into our bags. From there, they are to be hidden inside our night stands away from the prying eyes of taunting relatives and friends- only to be used in the confined lonely reclines of our homes.
Which raises the question. Why? Simply why are we pressured or felt into thinking that we as “who we are” are not enough? How would lightening my brown skin make me any better Internally or Intellectually from someone ‘fortunately’ more whiter than me?
When we hear the term ‘white’, words often linked with it are either Supremacists or Privileges suggesting that being white demands the respect or allegiance of all skins of color. Had it been the mid 1900’s, this still would have been the case. However thankfully over the years things have changed for the better and Racism in all its forms is publicly shamed.
Why lighten our skin?
Light skin is still something coveted by many. Despite efforts to limit this trend, skin lightening is a multi billion dollar industry which is essentially fueled by the ‘willing sellers’ selling to ‘willing buyers’ scenario.
Which begs the question what super powers does white skin even have? Is it more prepared to face the harsh UV rays of the sun? Or can it fight of a toxic gas? Maybe even stop global warming?
Ironically, brown skin can face the sun without being fried to a crisp much more heroically than white skin (which might suggest a shift in the status quo- turns out brown skin might be the one bearing all the super powers after all).
What determines our skin color?
Our skin color is basically determined by a chemical pigment known as Melanin. Melanin is a brown pigment produced by Melanocytes (cells found inside the epidermal layer of our skin).
How dark or light-skinned we are is directly related to the amount of melanin produced by our bodies. So comparatively, dark skin has more melanin production than light skin.
Why skin whitening creams are dangerous?
If darker skin tones have more melanin production in comparison to fair toned individuals, how do whitening creams work on their skins?
They simply limit the production of melanin in the skin and that’s about it. In other words once you stop using them you’ll go back to your original skin tone because these creams are temporary inhibitors not permanent treatments. Not to forget the high risk of skin cancer and toxicity promised by the continual use of these creams all in the quest of ‘Gorapan’.
What is Hydroquinone?
Hydroquinone is a very common yet dangerous ingredient used in skin lightening creams. It is famous for its abilities to reduce the production of melanin (a pigment produced by the epidermis of our skin to protect it from damage caused by harsh UV rays from the sun).
It is also important to note that Hydroquinone is made up of Benzene which is a carcinogen – a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue. Despite this fact, it is still being used as an effective skin lightening agent for the past 5 decades
What is Mercury?
Mercury is another substance used in the manufacturing of whitening creams. Continual use of such creams can cause liver and nervous system disorders. It can also lead to interference with mental growth in children as well as depression. Mercury Poisoning can also lead to death.
Results Of Using Whitening Creams
The consequences of using whitening creams clearly out weigh the benefits.
They can lead to a condition known as “ochronosis” which is permanent bluish/black darkening of the skin in certain areas.
Extreme case scenarios for the continual and long term use of whitening steroid creams can be extreme facial hair growth, Steroid Rosacea or thinning of the skin.
Any kind of skin whitening cream or medical treatment promising you “fairer skin” is something you should avoid at all costs simply because they are artificial and damaging in ways which permanently effect our skin.
Have you had any bad experiences with skin lightening? We’d love to hear and help you out! Make sure to give us your feedback in our comment section below.