Fairness scream: The new male obsession

  • By Team TDO

"Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who's the fairest one of all?" The words at once evoke images of the evil queen as she strikes a vain pose at the looking glass. However, these days one needs to be more accommodating and make way for a preening gent to put forth the above query.

All these days, fairness would be a quality an Indian male would look for in his wife. Just see the Fair & Lovely ads to know what we mean. But today, this very obsession has turned on itself. More and more men are being just as exacting about their own skin color, complexion and tone as their female counterparts.

Just take a look at all those TV commercials where celebrity endorsements dangle the bait of fairness creams, lotions and body wash specially designed for teenagers and young men seeking to take them to the promised land of social and sexual success.

But before you rush to buy that cream, here's what that fairness is all about

Fairness is skin cell deep

Fair, ruddy, dark or wheatish is all determined primarily by the melanin content in our skin cells. Some races like the Africans have a high melanin content thereby giving them a dark colour while Europeans are of a lighter skin colour due to low melanin content. So whether you use an expensive fairness cream or go in for beauty treatments at luxurious beauty spas, genetics will have a final say on the matter.

How fairness creams work…or do they?

Fairness creams contain chemicals which block the production of melanin in the skin and thus enable a lighter skin tone and a fairer complexion. Mostly melanin production in men is more than females, which is why women's fairness creams don't have so much of an effect on men. The cosmetic industry recognized this factor and thus developed products designed for the male skin. However, some of these "men’s only" fairness brands are glorified sunblock creams which block the harmful ultra violet radiation of the sun which blackens the skin.

The dark side of fair

Some of the beauty treatments and fairness creams contain chemicals like hydroquinone, mercury, and even steroids, which could do more harm than good. If you are obsessed about fairness, the least you could do is use a branded product (though that is no guarantee of its efficacy!). First sample it to check of it suits your skin. If a rash breaks out, consult a skin specialist immediately.

Finally, it is the health of the skin which is more important than colour. So exercise regularly or use natural skin treatments like orange peels, cucumber patches to enhance your skin tone.

Don't give in to peer pressure. The obsession for fairness can lead to low self-esteem and needless rivalry. Cosmetologists and marketers of fairness products are the only ones who will laugh their way to the bank at your cost. So, if you have a darker skin colour you don't have to go in for expensive remedies just because men in your age group find it cool. Self-acceptance is much better remedy than any beauty treatment in the world.

 

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