JUST like the ban on cigarette commercials since they motivate youngsters to smoke, skin-whitening cream commercials too should be banned as they motivate the desire for having white skin.
The desire for having white skin is also spreading like cancer amongst youngsters because of ever-increasing fairness cream commercials which provide them hope for success if their skin is white. As a result, fairness creams are sold like hot cakes.
What most of these advertisements claim is just manipulation and they cannot fulfil the promise of actually turning your skin white. The huge selling of one brand has tempted others to come up with greater promises. Now soaps have also joined the business of skin whitening after very successfully creating hysteria about germs on the skin, ignoring the role of skin as a first-line body defence.
Just imagine how much protection and beauty these types of soaps can provide if the skin is burnt accidentally. As a practising dermatologist, I have seen a significant increase in the demand of fairness treatment by my patients; media has played a role in the promotion of skin-whitening treatment by inviting dermatologists who unfairly call themselves cosmetologist and frequently recommend skin-whitening treatments.
Skin-whitening injections (glutathione) are a new addition. They are administered intravenously. Claims had been made that glutathione whitened the skin by deactivating the enzyme tyrosinase, which helps produce melanin, the pigment that gives human skin its colour.
But these claims have been widely disputed, as repeated injections of the drug could lead to kidney failure, blood poisoning and toxic epidermal necrolysis, in which a large portion of the skin peels off, exposing the human body to many infections.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suspects the drug glutathione is being injected in high doses as a skin-whitener. The changed colour of late pop star Michael Jackson was seen as the main reason for taking skin-whitening treatment. He was widely criticised for showing his back to his black ancestors. When the slanderous attacks became intolerable, Mr Jackson told Oprah Winfrey in a 1993 interview, “I am a black American. I am proud to be a black American. I am proud of my race, and I am proud of who I am. I have a lot of pride and dignity of who I am.”
Michael Jackson revealed that he had a skin disease leucoderma that turned his skin white. In 1994, Michael Jackson’s dermatologist, Dr Arnold Klein, testified that the pop-star had been diagnosed with vitiligo.
Even though we have got freedom from white rule but white skin is still ruling our minds. At least the media should show respect to our skin type and should not promote white skin as superior.
DR ASAD KAZIM Dr Ziauddin Hospital Karachi