Majority of us long for a fairer skin! Perhaps, both men and women wish for a lighter complexion.Many of us, in fact, believe that lighter skin tone is better so much so that a darker tone makes us feel inferior in public. Apparently, India is considered as one of the biggest markets for beauty products and a major product of choice is fairness creams. Sometimes, it is difficult to break this belief even for someone who is highly educated. 

The fact is, it is important to have a healthy and flawless skin whatever be the complexion.

Fair or unfair: melanin decides

Melanin is a pigment that gives color to your skin, hair and eyes. More the melanin, the darker you are. Functionally, it is a natural sunscreen protecting the skin against the cancerous UV sunrays. The amount of melanin in your skin is majorly decided by your genetic code. Besides,environmental factors, stress levels and diet also have certain effect on the quality and color of the skin.

What is in the cream?

  • Hydroquinone: It is a very popular whitening compound found in all fairness creams. It works by inhibiting certain elements that help the skin to produce melanin. Although effective, it can produce exactly reverse effects on skin by darkening it even more when used irrationally. An expert opinion is a must before using a face cream with this ingredient.
  • Kojic acid: Newly discovered vitamin C derivative, which is known to block some steps in melanin production.
  • Retinoic acid: It is a vitamin A derivative, which helps to shred off the dark upper layer of skin, making way for the lower ones that may be lighter.
  • Plant extracts: These are good adjuvants and harmless.

Fairness creams are recommended to lighten the skin tone by two shades. However,many dermatologists are against its usage. They warn against the adverse effects of these fairness creams. The steroids and heavy elements of these creams may cause 

  • thinning of face skin
  • rebound paradoxical pigmentation 
  • hypersensitivity to sun
  • acne
  • unwanted facial hair.

What is more important?

To have healthy skin, rather follow these simple steps:­ 

  • Clean your face thrice daily with fresh water.­ 
  • Apply moisturizer during day and at bedtime.­ 
  • Use sunscreen lotion and protect your skin against harmful UV rays.­ 
  • Hydrate yourself adequately; drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water daily.­ 
  • Have food rich in antioxidants and vitamin C.

Applying fairness creams is of little help and it's unchecked use has unpleasant effects on the natural skin. Underlying take-home message is that do not let the skin tone decide how you feel about yourself. Instead, be happy with whatever you have naturally and preserve it well. Ayurveda has natural tactics for skin care.