What people see in the media directly affects how they perceive themselves and love their bodies, but a topic that I rarely see coverage on are bleaching products that make skin a shade lighter than what it naturally is. If that doesn't seem to ring a bell, maybe the following name can help you recall an instance of seeing this: Fair and Lovely. In a world where the skincare and makeup industries seem to have advanced past looking at skin color, it looks like Fair and Lovely hasn't budged. It's understandable, because their brand is based off products that lighten skin tones, but the fact that so many people still use their products is slightly saddening.
This brand is especially popular in India, where the idea is if you have fairer skin, you are a prettier person. This goes for both men and women! I will never forget the first time I was visiting family in India, and someone walked up to me and handed me a Fair and Lovely product. I was too young to realize that this was an insult to my skin tone because it didn't follow the popular trends there, but now that I think about it, it is so disturbing to be in a position where someone openly shows that they dislike your skin tone. I don't remember who it was exactly nor does it matter, but to think that it's that important to have lighter skin color in India breaks my heart. These types of skin products may claim to be safe to use on skin, but is it worth it in the end?
There's a bit of history behind why there's such a large fan base for Fair and Lovely, and this is because of once being ruled over by Great Britain. India became independent from Britain in 1947, but this set of beliefs in India stem from being under Britain's control for 200 years. One of the most notable shifts in traditions is that lighter skin is seen as more attractive. Of course, it's well known that there's a lot of popularity around loving your own skin, but it's interesting that people are so intent to lighten their skin.
In the end, I personally do not condone a brand with such a concept that discourages loving all skin tones. Every person is beautiful in his or her own skin, and attention should be directed at that positive concept rather than devoting time to changing how you look. I feel proud to be a person of color, and I hope that everyone in the world understands that the skin color that they were born in is beautiful, regardless of what the world may tell them. Stay true to yourselves, and don't let ignorant trends define who you should change yourself into.