What You Need To Know About Skin Whitening Creams

What You Need To Know About Skin Whitening Creams Products that whiten skin may be changing their names but they’re still selling whiteness through coded words and unchanged pharmaceutical formulas. (Shutterstock)

Corporations like Unilever, L’Oréal and Johnson & Johnson recently announced they will no longer sell products that mention “skin whitening.”

These companies will now adjust how they market their products, especially on social media. However, they will continue to promote creams and serums formulated for skin-whitening effects. These companies have already developed other terms besides “skin whitening” to promote their products.

 

Skin whitening has proven to be damaging, physically and mentally. But sales are booming. Experts predict the market will be worth US$31.2 billion by 2024.

The multi-billion-dollar market for skin whitening products is an enduring sign of commodity racism. Skin whitening is at once an old and emerging globalizing industry. Women (and some men) whiten their skin by using products that reduce or suppress melanin biosynthesis and function.

Products are also marketed to white women with the promise of making white women’s aging skin and faces appear smooth, wrinkle-free and younger looking. As an anti-aging care, skin whitening is formulated to bleach out visible signs of aging such as age spots.

So actually, skin-whitening products have already been marketed under different labels such as skin brighteners for at least the past 20 years.


 Get The Latest From InnerSelf


Transformation from whiteness to wellness

Medical sounding terms such as cosmeceutical and skinceutical have long been used to market skin-whitening products to white women to fight age spots, dull skin, hyperpigmentation, etc. These coded words widely promote the message that good skin is youthful looking and glowing.

In the marketing of skin-whitening products, lighter skin embodies whiteness not only as a sign of racial difference but also as a signifier of class privilege. The rebranding and niche marketing of skin-whitening products is made easier by the fact that these are often melanin-suppressing products with pharmaceutical properties.

What You Need To Know About Skin Whitening Creams An ad for a Vichy Laboratoire skincare product shows fairer skin as the desired result. (Amina Mire), Author provided

Increasingly, advertising for skin-whitening cosmetics uses terms that can be substituted with whiteness: glowing, radiant, translucent, bright and clear. These terms frame skin whitening as a source of recuperative wellness and youthful femininity.

Meanwhile, there is no clearly defined regulatory framework for these products. This makes it easier for endless rebranding and niche marketing of skin whitening products.

The banner of anti-aging

Skin whitening has been marketed as part of a fight against aging, which means it has also come to be seen as a legitimate way to take care of one’s skin. Women are told over and over that getting and keeping glowing skin at all ages is a standard requirement for femininity and beauty.

When corporations promote skin whitening under the banner of anti-aging wellness to aging middle class white women, the practice is often defended, both by consumers and the cosmetics industry, as a legitimate way of regenerating the aging white female body and shielding it from environmental deterioration, modern stress, air pollution and more. In this way, advertisements for anti-aging skin whiteners are supposedly formulated to promote wellness by restoring, regenerating and protecting white women’s skin from the harmful effects of sun damage and other environmentally induced signs of aging.

The idea that increased pigmentation represents an unhealthy process of premature aging has facilitated the promotion of skin whitening products to both white women and women of colour. The symbolic association of whiteness with youthful appearance and anti-aging wellness has driven the research and development and mass marketing of high technology-based skin whitening products with anti-aging claims.

As a result, the industry invites all women, regardless of ethnicity, race and or nationality, to seek smooth, radiant and youthful-looking skin, which is free from age spots and hyperpigmentation, by consuming skin-whitening products.

The misguided desire for whiteness

In the past two decades, skin-whitening products have been promoted in glossy magazines, online shops, upscale health spas, wellness boutiques, department stores and websites run by cosmetics firms. It is pertinent to stress that the globalization of skin whitening depends on more than a misguided desire for whiteness.

The cosmetics, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries will continue to invest in skin-whitening products by using terms which convey that a good skin is youthful looking — and white.

The leading cosmetics and pharmaceutical firms have declared that they will no longer mention skin whitening. Yet they will continue to promote products that produce skin-whitening effects. This lack of real change reveals how deeply the intersection of race, gender, femininity and ageism continues to shape the globalization, normalization and mainstreaming of the skin-whitening industry.The Conversation

About The Author

Amina Mire, Associate Professor of Critica Race Theory and women and Health, Carleton University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


Recommended Books: Health

Fresh Fruit CleanseFresh Fruit Cleanse: Detox, Lose Weight and Restore Your Health with Nature's Most Delicious Foods [Paperback] by Leanne Hall.
Lose weight and feel vibrantly healthy while clearing your body of toxins. Fresh Fruit Cleanse offers everything you need for an easy and powerful detox, including day-by-day programs, mouth-watering recipes, and advice for transitioning off the cleanse.
Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

Thrive FoodsThrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health [Paperback] by Brendan Brazier.
Building upon the stress-reducing, health-boosting nutritional philosophy introduced in his acclaimed vegan nutrition guide Thrive, professional Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier now turns his attention to your dinner plate (breakfast bowl and lunch tray too).
Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

Death by Medicine by Gary NullDeath by Medicine by Gary Null, Martin Feldman, Debora Rasio and Carolyn Dean
The medical environment has become a labyrinth of interlocking corporate, hospital, and governmental boards of directors, infiltrated by the drug companies. The most toxic substances are often approved first, while milder and more natural alternatives are ignored for financial reasons. It's death by medicine.
Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.


enafarzh-CNzh-TWnltlfifrdehiiditjakomsnofaptruessvtrvi

follow InnerSelf on

facebook-icontwitter-iconrss-icon

 Get The Latest By Email

{emailcloak=off}

FROM THE EDITORS

The Day Of Reckoning Has Come For The GOP
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
The Republican party is no longer a pro-America political party. It is an illegitimate pseudo-political party full of radicals and reactionaries whose stated goal is to disrupt, destabilize, and…
Why Donald Trump Could Be History's Biggest Loser
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
Updated July 2, 20020 - This whole coronavirus pandemic is costing a fortune, maybe 2 or 3 or 4 fortunes, all of unknown size. Oh yeah, and, hundreds of thousands, maybe a million, of people will die…
Blue-Eyes vs Brown Eyes: How Racism is Taught
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
In this 1992 Oprah Show episode, award-winning anti-racism activist and educator Jane Elliott taught the audience a tough lesson about racism by demonstrating just how easy it is to learn prejudice.
A Change Is Gonna Come...
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
(May 30, 2020) As I watch the news on the events in Philadephia and other cities in the country, my heart aches for what is transpiring. I know that this is part of the greater change that is taking…
A Song Can Uplift the Heart and Soul
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
I have several ways that I use to clear the darkness from my mind when I find it has crept in. One is gardening, or spending time in nature. The other is silence. Another way is reading. And one that…