Changing Skin Colour - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

“The Good”

What is good about enhancing/changing your skin colour? From what I have observed, I would probably get some of the responses below:

“I feel and look Beautiful”.

“People respond nicely to me”.

“I get lots of attention from the opposite sex”.

“People give me a second look”.

“I feel good within myself” etc. etc.

Alek Wek - Super Model

There is a proverb that says “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”.

The Europeans, want to have darker skin and as a result regularly lie on sun beds, have spray tans or wear fake tan

The African/Americans prefer to lighten their skin as they feel it looks better. Alek Wek is a Sudanese Super model – a natural beauty but most African/American ladies do not like this complexion. Too dark!

Korean Model (Lee Young - Ae)

Asians – Some Asians prefer to whiten their skin. Example, What is considered more beautiful in Korea are pale faces. In Japan and the Philippines, whitening salons are not uncommon. In India, 60% of skin care sales account to skin whitening. The Korean Model on the right was disfigured by Skin Whitening.

Its nice to look beautiful and enhance one’s beauty but sometimes it’s at a cost. So, lets see the Bad in it - below.

The Bad


Sun Beds - Ultraviolet rays from tanning lamps actually increase the risk of melanoma of skin and eye. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun also cause skin cancer. Energy from the sun is a form of radiation, consisting of visible light and other rays that we can't see. It causes sun tan/sunburn. People who do this tend to age quicker.

Lightening the Skin

There are two chemicals found in skin lightening products, Hydroquinone, a severely toxic and very powerful chemical used in photo processing, the manufacture of rubber and is an active agent in hair dyes.
Mercury, a toxic substance that can only be purchased via pharmacies.

Skin Lightening can cause Blotchy Patches

The Ugly

I am not implying that these people are Ugly (as I believe that God didn’t create anyone ugly). I am just showing the Ugly effects of some of these products.

Its not my place to ask people not to Tan themselves or not to use skin-lightening creams. It does enhance beauty, but just do it in moderation and beware of the effects. E.g some people start using Tanning beds in their teens and do so every week into their 30s. Some African Americans’ use very strong creams and end up looking literally white overnight and men - be careful how you use them too.

Dangers of Tanning

Dangers of Skin Lightening

These will cause the skin to lighten by stopping production of melanin whereby, no brown pigmentation will be visible. Long term effects can cause premature ageing, skin cancer and mercury poisoning.

I have lived in Africa for a few years and noticed that on using these lightening creams, the skin gets very light but because people have to go out in the very hot sun, they then get burnt and its not a good sight. There are also situations where by the face looks so light and the legs look so dark – you begin to wonder if you are looking at the same person.

If you do use these products or plan on evening out your skin tone for a short period, please check the ingredients and ensure they do not have harmful substances. Some are even banned in some African Countries. There is a very big market for these products.


Burnt through Skin Lightening

Sun Burnt

Alek Wek - A Beauty

More by this Author

Comments 47 comments

Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 7 years ago from Georgia, USA

Good Hub Good Advice, my wife taught me your skins is the largest organ of your body, you have to take care of it. Great Job!

Pete Maida profile image

Pete Maida 7 years ago

That was good information well presented. I don't understand the need to change skin color one way or another. Women of all shades are beautiful. I have never been one to lie in the sun too long. It always seemed to be a waste of time.

Waren E profile image

Waren E 7 years ago from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............

Wow,the things some do for love from the world!:(

jdove-miller 7 years ago

With all the work schools do to boost self-esteem in children, you would think this issue would be decreasing. Unfortunately, it appears to be increasing. Sad. profile image 7 years ago

People respond nicely to me”.

“I get lots of attention from the opposite sex”.

“People give me a second look"

Europeans wanting to be darker and African-Americans wanting to be lighter. It must be what is inside the esteem of the person that is creating the want but is the assumption nice things will happen if I change my skin color correct then?

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 7 years ago from London, UK Author

** Hmrjmr - Your wife gave you very good advice. Thanks for your comments.

** Thanks Pete - I think its a mental or self esteem issue.

** I know Waren. Everyone wants to look good. Some ladies look beautiful but if you tell them they are, they don't believe it.

** Hi Jdove-Miller - Well the seed has been sown. It might not sink in now but as they grow older they might change their attitude.

** Psychidog - You are right. It reminds me of perfect ladies with good sized boobs (excuse me) saying if they could just have them bigger, they would feel happier within themselves. That thought just sticks.

Thanks everyone. :)

june688 profile image

june688 7 years ago

I don't understand the need to change skin color one way or another. Women of all shades are beautiful.

Philipo profile image

Philipo 7 years ago from Nigeria

Nice hub. This goes to confirm God's word in Genesis when Adam was asked not to eat the forbidden fruit. Eventually he ate it, just to be like God. Lucifer was driven down from heaven just because he wanted to be like God. So many examples abound to confirm that it did not start today. People will always like to be wanted others are. The truth is that the way you are, the way you are created is just perfect and in God's image. Any attempt to deviate from it could be dangerous. Apart from the skin, ladies (especially) indulge in one act or the other just to look better in their imagination. This including taking pills to reduce/enlarge their body size, breasts size, hip size, etc.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 7 years ago from London, UK Author

Thanks June. I like the way you put it "women of all shades are beautiful". Nice to hear from you. :)

True Philipo - everyone should just be happy the way they are other wise they will have health problems and then wish they had never changed their bodies. Nice to read from you too. :)

Reena Daruwalla profile image

Reena Daruwalla 7 years ago from INDIA

Such a pity we keep hankering for something that nature did not intend for us to have. Nature intended for us to variously hued, and beautiful! This obsession exists in ridiculous proportions in India as well ( )

andromida profile image

andromida 7 years ago

I think the intention of changing skin color comes by observing different ethnic people.If all the people were white, then no whites would think of getting dark skin.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 7 years ago from London, UK Author

Hi Reena. Lol, it seems me and you think alike. This is another topic I've written about that you have also touched on.

Thanks for you comments. :)

Hi Andromida. You hit the nail on the head, if we were all one colour, no one would think differently. Regards, E.

Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA

Excellent advice and I believe if one has good self-esteem then their skin color would not matter. We have an old saying too, “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”

“Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” Oscar Wilde

ladyeagle_cdc profile image

ladyeagle_cdc 7 years ago from San Juan City, Philippines

Some people long for the things they dont have, can't appreciate how lovely God fashioned them.Great hub!


bingskee profile image

bingskee 7 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

will choose to have a facial spa without the whitening product.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 7 years ago from London, UK Author

** Cheers Nancy, Maybe "Self Esteem" should be included in school curriculums...:)

** I agree Ladyeagle - "We are fearfully and wonderfully made". :)

** Cheers Bingskee, Facial spa's are good. Exfoliating scrubs also make skin look clear and soft - like the skin of a baby. :)

kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 7 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

This is important because people have a tendency to want what they don't have - many years ago I baked in the sun and went to tanning salons to get dark. Being fair skinned, I was warned about the dangers of skin cancer (my brother developed lots of small skin cancers over the years from living in Hawaii!). I quit and accepted my pale shade! Now, I have less skin damage than many people I know who refused to give up tanning! We have to realize we are beautiful with what nature gave us!

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 7 years ago from London, UK Author

Hi Kartika

You are right. We should be content with who we are. I hope your brother is okay now. Its lovely to read from you. Thanks. E

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

I remember seeing Geisha makeup - stark white. Beautiful but odd.

I was as white as snow as a child, not going out of doors much. As ana dult, when I began exercising with a group out of doors ...I started freckling and this is still odd to me.

DaniellaWood profile image

DaniellaWood 7 years ago from England

I never knew African/Americans & Asians lightened their skin (except for Geishas), that's really interesting. See, I'm a very pale skinned person naturally and everyone tries to pressure me into fake-tanning, but I don't want to and so never have because everyone's skin is unique and beautiful in its own way! You're absolutely right: one man's meat is another man's poison. Wise words.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 7 years ago from London, UK Author

Thanks for your comments Patty. :)

Thanks Daniella - I like what you wrote "everyone's skin is unique and beautiful". :)

jks._hagk 6 years ago a teenager nd i notice all of this...women and male shouldn't care about skin color may or may not affect society as much as positive speaking!!!BEAUTY is not only skin deep...people should understand people react to the way people look at themselves...stay strong...EVERYONE is B-E-A-U-TIFUL!!!!

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK Author

Hi Jks. I'm glad to read your interesting comments. Deep and encouraging. Thanks for stopping.:)

Phillyfreeze69 profile image

Phillyfreeze69 6 years ago

Very informative, educational and eye opening hub. When reading I thought about the skin transformation that Michael Jackson went through and the effect it had on his physical health and psyche. African Americans did not go out and purchase whitening creams en masse despite his global I think it is an individual decision no matter the culture or ethnic orgin.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK Author

** Thanks for your comments. I heard MJ had a skin disorder but I sincerely believe he bleached his skin completely. It's done in Africa and if you are rich, you can maintain it. (From dark, to extreme light). It's all in the mind. His father's words made him insecure about his looks, but as you noted "African Americans did not go out and purchase whitening creams en masse".

Best wishes.

K64FUNNY 6 years ago

fine article,Interesting

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK Author

Thanks K64Funny

Neverletitgo profile image

Neverletitgo 6 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

Lady_E, what they ladies need is to be pretty, but there is no common definition for beauty. So your writing is really close to the fact since white need to be caramel or little bit dark and Africans need to be lighter than they are. It is better to proud who you are and what you are. Thank you for sharing.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK Author

Very true - neverletitgo. We should just be proud of who we are and maintain our skin, instead of changing it.

Have a great weekend.

Brinafr3sh profile image

Brinafr3sh 5 years ago from West Coast, United States

Michael Jackson wanted so bad to be light skinned and whiter than any person he met. It became an addiction for him that he would even lie about his family having a skin condition. I liked Michael Jackson's appearance when he had his normal brown complexion. Very very interesting hub, thanks.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK Author

Hi Brina

It's a pity, Michael had that attitude as much as I love him. I never believed he had a skin problem. My suspicions were confirmed during the Conrad Murray Trial when it was revealed their were bleaching creams found in his house.

On a deeper note, I think it all began when his dad made him feel unsecure about his looks. If parents affirm to their kids they look beautiful or look good etc. They will have no need to feel inferior.

Ooops getting carried away with my comment. Thanks for stopping and for sharing your comments.

Happy Xmas.

meyanfien2k12 5 years ago

I'm Sudanese, I really like your hub on skin tone, I think people are just more into wanting something that the don't have. Kat Williams put it better, "How can someone make you feel bad or good, its called Self-esteem." His point was it't up to you make yourself feel good or bad. No one can tell you how to feel.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK Author

Hi Meyan

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I like that quote.

Best Wishes.


mphsglo profile image

mphsglo 4 years ago

Good information. I love my skin tone, but, there are dark areas that I would love to bring to the tone of my basic color. However, I can never remember to apply the cream. And I can imagine that the chemical are very toxic, since they can change skin color. I just wish it didn't take so long. :)

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 4 years ago from London, UK Author


Hi, there are so many creams on the market. It's best to ask the people in the shop and they will recommend a cream that will even out your skin tone and give you a nice complexion. That's what I did.

Ps. Are you on Triond? Your name looks familiar. :)

stars439 profile image

stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Wonderful hub dear heart, and my heart goes out to the poor souls in the pictures that have suffered the ills of skin lightening. God Bless them. And God Bless You for informing us of certain unfortunate conditions, and of how they have come about.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 4 years ago from London, UK Author


Thanks for your warm wishes to those people. I appreciate you stopping by. You have a good heart. :)

mio cid profile image

mio cid 4 years ago from Uruguay

I can understand wanting to have better looking skin, healthier skin, ,make your skin look better but , it is common sense to me that nothing good can come out from trying to change one's skin color.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 4 years ago from London, UK Author

@Mio Cid - So true. Better to look after it than to change it. I'm glad you stopped by. Thanks

oceansider 4 years ago

Interesting article.....I think every person is beautiful because God made them, and so I don't understand why people would want to change their skin color......My daughter's friend is Sudanese and has a very dark and lovely complexion.....she is very beautiful.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 4 years ago from London, UK Author

@Oceansider - So True. I think it's all in the head because I also have seen some very dark complexioned ladies who look stunning. Going lighter does enhance complexion but it's not too safe.... especially if it's a powerful Bleaching Cream. Thanks for stopping.

Tasha 2 years ago

Hey. Are home remedies bad for lightning in datk areas?

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 2 years ago from London, UK Author

~Hello Tasha

Not if used moderately. Lemon helps. Thanks for stopping.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 21 months ago

I have heard that in some Latin American countries they have the phrase: "money whitens". Meaning that in highly stratified or hierarchical societies wherein race or perceived race can be one of the tickets to privilege, one way to get around this cultural bias is by getting rich. And so wealthy athletes with dark skin and can still make it with the elites if they have the money or the success to do so.

I find the practice less understandable in the United States. For instance, one of the most successful people in my life time Michael Jackson, seemed to want to cut and color himself into oblivion. It was as though he did not like who he was even though millions and perhaps billions would have done anything to become him just as he was before all the changes.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 21 months ago from London, UK Author

@Poetryman It was such a pity about Michael but I put it down to his dad, who made him feel insecure about his looks. (his nose). If a parent makes a child confident about his/her look, they will have a good sense of self esteem.

What you noted is also the same in Africa, people believe light complexioned skin is more endearing to the eye and companies are making millions with Beauty Creams.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

LoveLife21 13 months ago

Very Informative

big E 12 months ago

I am a white man who wants to change his appearance to black.

black skin makes a man look stronger, more masculine, younger and is very good for protection. People are less likely to be rude to you.

black skin also gives you much more flexibility on what you can and can not say.

I think that black skin could be the white mans best friend moving forward.

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