Dr Oz: Skin Lightening
Skin lightening products are a multi-billion dollar business worldwide and they’re making many people angry. The products are advertised as making your skin appear brighter, even insinuating through marketing that lighter skin is more beautiful. Skin lightening, according to critics, is driven by a culture that equates beauty with lighter skin. The products are primarily marketed toward African-American, Indian and Asian women. Products like creams, pills, and even injections are sold everywhere.
Thanks to high-profile celebrities like Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim, who are rumored to have lightened their skin, the popularity of the products continues to rise. Some skin lightening creams can be used safely to treat problems like dark spots, acne scars, and aging skin. But many lighteners contain high levels of mercury and toxic heavy metals, which, over time, can cause damage to kidneys and wreak havoc on the nervous system. Some of the products are manufactured overseas and sold illegally in the U.S., in stores or online, with no guarantee of the true ingredients.
Dr Oz: Products Claiming To Lighten Your Skin
Tia Brown then joined Dr Oz and explained that some women are willing to go to any length to make sure they appear as light as possible, believing it will make them look more beautiful. Dr Oz then wanted to first look at creams sold by cosmetic companies, labelled in ads as brightening creams or dark spot removers. Tia explained that the issues aren’t with the creams that contain less than 2% of the whitening ingredient, but instead the advertisements that portray the idea that lighter is better.
The real concern comes from the illegal products that are mostly coming from overseas. Those products are dangerous and contain more than 2% of the whitening ingredient, as well as heavy metals, arsenic, and lead.
Dr Oz: Products Sold Promising Lighter Skin
Tia went undercover to find out just how easy it is to obtain those lightening products. She visited beauty supply stores in Harlem and Chinatown, and noticed whole sections of skin discoloration, skin whitening, and tone and bleach creams. At both places, when she asked, she was also offered stronger products stored behind the counter.
Dr Oz: Skin Bleaching Facials
Tia also checked out a spa that offered a skin bleaching facial. It wasn’t listed as one of their services, but as soon as she asked one of the workers about it, she volunteered her services, saying she could bleach her skin to make it look lighter and more even. But as soon as Tia revealed that she was filming, the woman changed her story and said they had to come back another day and speak to a manager because she couldn’t do it.
Even scarier, is the products being sold online. You can find creams, injections, and even pills that allegedly lighten your skin. Although, medically speaking, there is no pill on the market proven to lighten your skin, which means those ads are making false promises.
Dr Oz: Woman Reveals Skin Bleaching Routine
A young Indian woman revealed her beauty routine that involved a chemical bleach she used for a half hour once a week to lighten her skin and the hair on her face. She also uses another product each night to lift the dirt off her skin, before using a night cream and an under-eye cream that contain small traces of bleach.
Leona has been bleaching her skin to appear lighter since she was just 14-years-old. Leona explained that in India, the fairer you are, the more beautiful you are. She grew up around women with skin that was fairer than her’s and she was always very envious of that. When she went to India, she went behind her parent’s back and got a chemical peel that took two layers of her skin off. She also put bleach on her skin to make herself more fair. Ten years later, her skin has lightened by 7-8 skin tones and she said she feels amazing.
Dr Oz: The True Risks Of Skin Bleaching
Leona argued that she feels beautiful now, while Dr Oz stated that she was beautiful at 14 when her skin was 7-8 shades darker. Leona is inspired by Kim Kardashian, and claims she’s done what she had to do. Dr Oz welcomed a dermatologist, Dr Jeanine Downie, who said as an African-American woman, a mom, and a doctor, it broke her heat to hear Leona’s thoughts about herself. Dr Downie added that as a culture, we shouldn’t believe that lighter is better, but instead should be all-encompassing.
As a doctor, Dr Downie was concerned because the products can damage your liver and kidneys, as well as cause bone damage and potentially skin cancer. “It’s not, not, not safe,” Dr Downie said.
Tia ended the segment by saying “Would you want your daughter to feel the way you did at 14? Do you know by bleaching your skin, what you’re telling her, is that she’s naturally not beautiful and that is continuing the cycle? That’s what we really have to do. We have to decide that we’re going to break the cycle.”