As a growing child, the phrase, 'black is beautiful' was nothing new to me. As far as I was concerned, it was a statement of fact. I also remembered taking pride in the fact that I was black as well. And why wouldn't I? If black is beautiful, then, I was officially a beautiful girl. Such were the kind of thoughts I harboured in my innocent mind back then. I never really gave much thought about the issue of ladies bleaching their skins because it wasn't even much of an issue then. It was either that there were no bleaching creams back then or that ladies of the good old days valued their natural looks more than the ladies of today. Painfully, some men actually bleach their skins as well. Strange, but very true. Now, that is one thing I will never understand the reason why it happens. I only have one thing at the back of my mind each time I see those men, though. I regard them as what Urualla people call OFEKE or what the Anambra people call EFULEFU. And my question remains, why do people bleach their skins?
Perhaps I should explain at this point, what skin bleaching really means. When you bleach your skin, the process of making it look lighter or fairer is a very disastrous act because of the long term effect it has on your body. What happens during that process is that it reduces the pigment called melanin in the skin. For the interest of those that do not know what melani is, it is simply the pigment that gives colour to the hair, eyes and the skin. Dark skinned people have more melanin in the skin than light skinned people. It also tans the skin when it is exposed to the sunlight. Let me also be fair to certain people who apply certain ointments that lighten the skin for the treatment of skin problems like freckles, age spots or even acne scars. They innocently use these creams but end up having their skins getting lighter. So, when you apply bleaching creams, you can imagine the kind of damage it does to your skin.
Again, why would anyone decide to bleach their skin? Why would anyone decide to change from being dark in complexion to being fair in complexion? Is it true that being fair in complexion makes one automatically beautiful? Is being fair a guarantee that you will stand out as the most beautiful in any crowd? I really wish I had the answers to these questions. Maybe then, I'll begin to understand the reason why women especially, have gone gaga in the very act of bleaching their skins. I can understand that of the late king of Pop Music, Michael Jackson. He was a top celebrity and had all the resources to take care of all the complications that came with his skin being bleached. Yet, even at that, it got to a point where he so badly damaged his skin that certain parts of his body almost 'melted' like rotten meat until he went in for a couple of surgeries to get them straight again. One of those parts, for the purpose of clarity is his nose. So, if Michael Jackson in all his glory wanted to change his looks for any reason, I would probably understand because I know that there is this thing about money that is evil. Excessive money makes people intoxicated to a fault. Jackson got carried away with the kind of money he saw in his bank account and probably at the way he was loved by his fans all over the world and decided to change the way God created him to the way he felt he ought to be created. He then became a white man overnight. Just trying to imagine how bad God must have felt back then. Again, if I understand the stupidity or senselessness of the late Jackson, how can I ever understand that of the woman who is a trader in Main Market or Ose Okwuodu or Eke Awka market who stands in the sun almost all day? Or one that sits in her shed sweating and walking from one end of the market to the other, trying to get customers to buy from her? How can I ever understand that of our young girls who still leave with their parents or guardians and ask for pocket money for feeding or for their general upkeep in school? They hardly ever have enough money to take care of their needs, but they still squeeze out the one for buying bleaching creams. How can I ever understand that of young girls or even married women with grown up kids who are already fair in complexion naturally and yet, go ahead to bleach their skins? What do you want to look like? A white ghost? Please, I wish someone will make me understand the reason for bleaching by this last category of women.
The funny thing is that these bleaching creams cause irreparable damages to the skins of these senseless women and yet, more and more people go into it. I know of a woman who so bleached her skin that the complexion she has presently is more like green. She has these patches of colours on her already destroyed face that I hardly look her in the face when we exchange peasantries. Her face is scary. She rubs layers of Mary Kay powder on her face to cover it up but to no avail. Her face is horrible and I can't stop wondering what she was trying to prove when she embarked on the journey of skin bleaching.
These girls or women that bleach are a terrible lot to sit close to because these creams have a pungent smell. When they sweat, it's even worse. Ladies, do you know that no man wants to have anything to do with a lady that smells? If you don't know, your bleaching creams have a horrible scent. Stop bleaching! Do you know that when a man looks at you and the colour of your face is different from the colour of your legs, it puts him off? The one that irritates them most is the green veins showing on your skin. No man wants to get into all that mess. Please, bleaching never makes anyone beautiful. Stop bleaching!!
Do you know that when you bleach your skin, it becomes a very big problem if you are to give birth through the Caesarean Section. Stitching your skin is a serious challenge for doctors because you have used your bleaching cream to wash off some layers of your skin. Most of you realize at some point that even the caesarean scar finds it hard to heal on time. Instead of relaxing in the comfort of your home to enjoy your confinement with the baby, you'll be going to the doctor almost every day to dress a scar that would have naturally healed on his own. Stop bleaching!!!
Perhaps I should mention just a few of the dangers associated with bleaching your skin. Bleaching makes your skin thin. God knows why he created you and every part of your body has a purpose which it serves. So thinning of your skin poses a great danger for you. Woe betide you if sustain injuries on your body. It hardly heals. Secondly, when your skin thins, the next effect it has is that the blood vessels in your skin become visible. If only you ladies know what an eyesore it is to behold those blood vessels on your skin. Thirdly, bleaching causes damages to your kidneys, nerves and even liver. As you know, there are pores in your skin and these creams penetrate your skin through these pores. Have you ever tried to find out the contents of these terrible chemicals you call bleaching creams? Maybe you should try and read the contents the next time you want to buy them. If you knew, you would stay away from these creams. The fourth damage is that it actually darkens your skin and not the other way round. Let me explain. When you begin to apply these creams, you tend to become fairer. That is only temporary. After a while, you realize that you are either turning black or green or even both. So, what have you gained? Nothing except a worse look than you had. So, please, step up your game and do the needful. Stop bleaching. Please stop bleaching. Finally, when you are pregnant and apply bleaching creams, your baby is bound to have abnormalities when you give birth to them. Remember I mentioned that beaching cream penetrates your skin. There is no crime greater than harming a defenceless baby in your womb. Please, for the sake of that baby, put away your bleaching creams and be yourself. Forget yourself for the moment and think of your baby and the future. Bleaching is bad. Stop it.
I don't know why people think that being fair means being beautiful. That's so not true. Black is actually very beautiful. I am dark and I am so proud of being dark. I am beautiful and I am so sure that when I begin to age, I will age gracefully. Yes. When I have reasons to be over exposed to sunlight, I will still be my black and beautiful self without any fear of turning to another colour. I don't need to go to any trader in Main Market or Eke Awka to 'mix' all sorts of dangerous chemicals for me to use in order to 'bring out my real colour' as they claim because I know that black beauty is not bought in market stalls. It is natural. It comes from God. Please, ladies, when you apply these bleaching creams they mix and sell to you, it appears to lighten your skin at first but oxidation between the sun and chemicals will end up darkening your skin. When you get exposed to ultra violate rays, it will cause loss of skin elasticity, premature aging and cancer. The bad news here is that one it damages the skin, it is irreversible.
So, please, stop mistaking beauty for fairness. Take pride in your colour, whether fair or black. True beauty comes from within. It radiates from the depths of your heart and soul. It is formed more by your character than your outward looks. Just stay natural, be good to your friends family and neighbours. Love your God and maintain a good relationship with Him. Pay your tithes. Give alms. Visit the sick. Respect your elders. Keep the ten commandments. Help the poor. Pay your debts promptly. Wear a smile always. Be kind. Be loyal to friendships. Keep secrets. Be dedicated to your job. That is true beauty! Love you all!!!