By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
DESPITE its many known health risks, bleaching is unfortunately still a method many Bahamians use in a quest to achieve what they believe will be new and improved skin.
While many do it to lighten their skin colour, others do it because they want to obtain a more even toned and radiant looking skin.
However, for either purpose, the bleaching process often does much more harm than good, leaving scars and other unpleasant and lasting effects on the skin.
Local skin care professional Arron Pinder, the CEO of Perfec-Tone on Mount Royal Avenue, urges people to find better alternatives to bleaching.
He said bleaching is still very popular in the Bahamas amongst those who want to appear “brighter” or white by eliminating the melanin in their skin.
“It’s a trend as well as a misconception. They do it in hopes that it tones their skin and eliminates skin spots,” he told Tribune Health.
Many Bahamians, he noted, suffer with skin issues and want to change something about the look and feel of their skin.
“I believe people, especially women, love to feel and look good. Anytime we’re exposed to what the general public thinks beauty is, (we) see a white or Hispanic woman. For example, 95 percent of popular world media showcases and highlights persons with lighter skin. If it appears to be the trend, and the key to beauty, it will be practiced. Now, I have to say that some things are changing along the colour barrier or shade barrier, if you will, as far as advertisement, film, fashion, art and so forth,” he told Tribune Health.
There are many products available for bleaching skin, said Mr Pinder, but they are usually disguised as spot erasers, brightening serums/creams, and pigment controls.
Many clients who walk through the doors at Perfect-Tone come in to have problems related to bleaching corrected, he said.
“In almost all cases we’ve seen bleaching is harmful. (Perfect-Tone) is used for fixing the problems that arise from it. People come with deep black burns embedded into their now pale skin, marks that have gotten darker and more defined, or particular areas that have become darker, almost black, and hard. So we know immediately there is some restorative work needed there.
Many people seeking to whiten their skin often dangerously overuse products, he said.
“If you do use it, it should be lightly and for short terms, not until (you see) the desired effect, because that’s when it’s been burning away at your healthy cells and pigmentation for too long,” said Mr Pinder.
“We have created products to combat the effects of bleaching to restore your skin through products like the Perfec-Tone Resurfacing Crème. The difference is, this smart product removes damaged and dead skin cells and develops healthy glowing skin. Once there is only healthy skin, spots disappear from deep within the surface. People misperceive this as a bleaching product, because when dead and damaged skin is gone your skin is naturally brighter underneath, as we are in a tropical area and do get tanned even with melanin-rich skin. Customers tend only to get as bright as their natural skin colour (see your the upper, outer thigh for comparison) and return to their comfortable and tanned tone again after two weeks.”