“Mi proud ah mi bleaching cause mi cream it dare” sings Jamaican dancehall artiste, Lisa Hype, much to the disappointment of many. Bleaching has rapidly become the craze in the Caribbean, everyone does it including our own, Guyanese. But why? Many might argue that bleaching has to do with self improvement, having a low self esteem, self hatred or just plain ignorance. Whatever the cause, many girls and young women are falling prey to the cream.
Like with most things, there’s the good and then there’s the terrible. The latter we seldom take stock of. Many times we believe that because these products are sold in the open that they’re 100% safe for use. Not entirely true. The dangers of skin bleaching are numerous.
Some to note are as follows: Allergic reactions, mild to severe, these include reddening, stinging, itching, swelling, severe burning and unusual discolouration. Skin bleaching aggravates skin diseases, if you’re someone who suffers from acne or eczema, these diseases can be adversely affected by bleaching. The famous and VERY TRUE one we’ve probably all heard of before – sensitivity to the sun. Bleaching can definitely make the skin more vulnerable to dangerous ultraviolet rays of the sun. Uneven colouring, something we see often, often times the feature that gives people away. There are certain ingredients used in these products that worsen age spots or give a dark shade to your skin. The use of bleaching products can also impair you skin’s healing process. A simple scratch, bruise, cut or severe injury may take longer rather than sooner to heal. Sometimes combining products with different chemicals may also prove damaging to your skin.
Let’s try to not make vanity disastrous. Skin bleaching products are excellent for toning but when we try to confuse it with say Jergens or a Victoria Secret cream we run the risk of serious damage to our skin.
Back to that Lisa Hype song, dancehall music is something that is aggressively fueling this phenomenon. Not only in Jamaica, but throughout the Caribbean and in Guyana. Culture also plays an extremely important role in the perpetuation of skin bleaching. Let’s take a few minutes to reflect on this very insightful and arousing video about dancehall, culture and skin bleaching. Many of the issues are issues we can relate to right here in Guyana.