HomeIndian AmericanDependence on skin whiteners grows amidst colorism

Dependence on skin whiteners grows amidst colorism

A CNN As Equals investigation into skin whiteners documents the side effects of these products and their widespread availability in India despite efforts to regulate them.

While the investigation focused on the South Asian country, the popularity of lightening products extends around the world, including the United States among Brown and Black communities.

CNN says the investigation aims to reveal the underlying cause of colorism, the huge profits that drive the industry, and the cost to the individuals and communities who buy into it.

Soma Banik has shared her story publicly about how she says she was hurt by the products and her struggle to kick herself of her dependence on them.

“Whenever I stop using it, my face starts itching and small blisters arise,” she wrote.

Banik used a skin-lightening cream that contained the steroid Betamethasone for over two years.

The steroid should only be used under a doctor’s prescription, but CNN found it could easily purchase the cream with no questions asked in India.

Dermatologists CNN spoke with confirmed the hair on Banik’s face, along with acne and itching, are all side effects of Topical Steroid Damaged/Dependent Face (TSDF), which can be blamed on over use of steroid creams.

While Betamethasone has its benefits, it should only be used for short durations under a doctor’s supervision. Medical experts says overuse can lead to hypopigmentation (lighter skin), hyperpigmentation (darker skin), or photosensitivity (reactions to sunlight).

The skin can become dependant on the cream. They say attempts to stop using it can cause an explosion of pimples, rash and redness, CNN reports.

“That’s why people go back to using it,” said Dr Rajetha Damisetty, chairman of the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists task force.

You can find the full CNN investigation at ‘Fairness mania’ is fueling a dangerous drug dependence in India.

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