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March 25, 2014

Beauty Talk: Hyperpigmentation lets talk about it

Not my usual kind of beauty blog post today, but I’m in one of those reflective moods, you know those moods where you just have way too many thoughts going on in your head, so I thought why not do one of the best things possible and lay those thoughts to paper or internet in this case…

I strongly advice you grab a cup of tea and settle in for the read :-)

Unless you have been living under a rock recently, I’m sure most of you have heard about the pop singer Dencia and her infamous new cream called whitenecious! This was followed by the beautiful speech Lupita did at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards ceremony, which completely brought me to tears and more recently followed up with the cringe worthy interview Dencia did on Channel Four!

But just in case you have missed it, here is the image and both videos that have sparked off the world to discuss issues surrounding shadism, bleaching, body confidence and which prompted my reflections for this post

Something many of you will know is that I struggle with my skin, with adult breakouts on both my face and back and that I have scars that I am trying to deal with, but what many of you don’t know is that those said scars have also left emotional scars on my confidence. 

I was having a conversation with a friend recently, part of what sparked this reflective post and I mentioned to her that I had, had enough of the scars and once and for all, I was going to do something about it.

She asked me what I was thinking of and I said I was still at the research stage but I would be looking into both treatments and ingredients to help fade away my scars and even out my skin tone. To which she replied quite strongly with  “oh so you want to make yourself lighter!!”

I’m so sure I stared at her with equal measures of shock and horror and then later with complete sadness as I stared at her perfect, never really had a spot, flawless, no need to apply makeup face! I explained that no I wasn’t trying to lighten my skin; I love my skin tone and would actually love to proudly show it off but find it hard to because of my breakouts and scarring.

On reflection I realise that for people who have never suffered with skin issues, who can leave the house without makeup and not feel like everyone is staring at them and who can wear the sexiest open back tops/ outfits. I don’t believe I have worn anything that doesn’t have a full back in at least 10 years, simply because I am so conscious of the fact that my back is a canvas of uneven skin tone and scars and I don’t have the confidence to venture out without being covered up or with makeup, even when it’s summer time. For these very people they can never fully understand, they can sympathise but they don’t really know.

That is why it is so easy to judge others who are trying to sort out their skin. I actually remember a girl who posted her journey to lighten her scars on You Tube using good old “natural’ lemon juice. She received so many hate comments from people who told her that she clearly hated her skin tone and wanted to be lighter, that she eventually took down the video and I just felt so sorry for her. The whole thing is such a delicate issue and one that should you dare talk about it or mention anything close to the fact that you want to fade away your scars can open up a whole can of worms, with every opinion known to man, and we all know the internet is a place for people to hide behind their screens and sprout out words not to be repeated!

Now don’t get me wrong, I am completely against bleaching your skin tone or wanting to be lighter simply because you believe that is the ideal of beauty in the world, and if that is what you feel, I say this with complete kindness, this highlights some deep rooted issues that you really need to deal with and address.

And don’t even get me started on Dencia’s cream. The name alone is deplorable! You can clearly see she has completely changed the colour of her skin. Not to mention the fact that a cream that can make you 3 shades lighter in 7 days, cannot possibly be safe for you to use on your skin in any way, as it probably contains some dangerous ingredients (although they list the ingredients as being all natural). I say absolute bs* excuse the French; I just couldn’t put my feelings across in a better way.  So please don’t even consider using it.

However I am not at all shocked that the cream sold out in the first 24 hours and she has not only sold thousands but she also has a huge back order. It highlights that so many people out there (and I’m not talking about those looking to lighten their skin) but those who are looking for something that will help them with their skin issues, be it scarring, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone etc.

These are some of the major skin issues that affect all people of colour. And sadly especially in the EU where regulations are tighter it is difficult to know what to do or to find the right products that help to deal with the skin issues in a safe way. I also think because it’s not an issue that affects a large number of the population who live here, this means that for many of the big skincare companies, it isn’t a priority to focus on producing those products.

Well I’m here, and so are many other people and we really need those safe but effective products. 

This wasn’t easy to share, it never is because you end up feeling so open and vulnerable but I started my blog not just to blog about the fun side of beauty, which I love, but also to talk about the deeper issues that beauty brings, and to have a voice. So as I said to my friend, I am determined to sort out my skin once and for all and will be sharing what I find out, the SAFE products and ingredients and my journey with you.

I’m sure you guys have many thoughts about this subject. Please do share what you think, if you have suffered with similar issues? How you resolved your skin issues? If so what did you use and what worked for you? What you think of Dencia’s product and Lupita’s speech?

Please do let me know what you think in the comments below and thanks for reading, my thoughts feel so much lighter now



Wonderlusting said...

It's good to share! I think the issue has got completely incorrectly tangled up with bleaching, probably the Michael Jackson effect. There are quite a few products out there for - generally anything labelled as dealing with "age spots" is basically relating to hyperpigmentation - but as not marketed as for Black skin, none of the "you must hate yourself" connotations. If you haven't already, I'd suggest you check out the hyper pigmentation series on www.thisthatbeauty.com - really good info. Also have a friend who had good results from skin peels. Good luck!

Segun Garuba said...

Thank you so much and love the reference to the "Michael Jackson effect" . I completely agree. It's also interesting that in the US dealing with your pigmentation is widely accepted without the hate yourself connotations that you mentioned unless of course you are taking it to extremes. I actually found the thisthatbeauty article a few days ago when I started my research. it's such a fantastic article packed with a lot of information. Oh great, what peels did she get done? xx

Segun Garuba said...

Aww thanks so much. There is a very big difference between bleaching your skin and dealing with scarring and hyperpigmentation and one that needs to be brought to the forefront. thanks again. xx

Wonderlusting said...

I'll check and let you know - it was somewhere in the City and expensive but very effective x

Ann Erh said...

I have never had any issue with my skin colour ( aside the regular getting darker during summer and my powder doesn't match my skin ). Rewind 2 to 3 year back when I went back to Niaja from England, I woke up one morning after eating peanut and it was as if the world was against my face. I thot okay maybe my body did not like the peanut. I got to work and every single person that saw me asked me what was wrong with my face and I felt like covering my face. It got so bad that people started bringing me all sorts of soaps at work to use, even men at work would say what is going on with your face. I would go into the bathroom and cry my eyes out, I prayed, I asked God to forgive me for my sins if this was by any means a form of punishment. Long story short I hated my face, I did not want to see any mirror, I refused to go out, I kept to myself, I felt like the ugliest girl in the world. If dencia's product was out then I am sure I would have used it just to get rid of the blemishes on my face. I don't have any problem with my skin colour, I just don't want any blemish on my skin. I cant even say what worked for me cos I tried everything including green tea and some soaps I know made me lighter a bit but as far as it cleared my spot at that time I was a happy girl.

Dencia's product is her hustle, I cant blame the girl for putting food on her table. The problem here are girls who misuse her product. The way I see it, we cant blame Benadryl for making Cough syrup if some people use it get high just the same way we cant blame Denica if girls are using her product to change their skin colour. Yes she is not lighter than she use to and that her choice.

I felt Lupita should have shared her story without calling Denicia's name .

KeenT said...

Very courageous of you to share so openly. I thought Lupita's speech was awesome. But the bareness of your write-up did blow me away. Well Done.

Segun Garuba said...

Sounds good, thank you. x

Segun Garuba said...

Thanks so much Ann for being so open and sharing with us, I can completely sympathise with what you went through. How is your skin now?

I agree that Dencia's product is her hustle and each to their own, but what I don't agree with is the false marketing. There is no product that can lighten you 3 shades in one week that doesn't contain harmful ingredients, but she is claiming it doesn't. Sadly I think some people will buy into that and it could end up harming their skin especially if they are not protecting it with SPF etc

I would rather she had sold it with full detail/ingredient disclosure, that way people can buy into it with the complete knowledge of what they are buying into.

Segun Garuba said...

That is such a lovely comment, thank you so so much. I really appreciate it. x

Tumi Odede said...

Thank you for sharing this Segun. I have scars on my legs as well and look forward to your recommendations!
Nicely written piece šŸ˜Š

Khadijat Ayodele said...

We should have a chat. I have a few recommendations I can make. If the issue is deep seated in the skin topical products will help, but very limited. Peels would be the best way forward to even out skin tone, brighten and deal with hyperpigmentation. Sadly, we tend to be very judgemental whenever one starts talking about skin tone and it's such a sensitive issue. Care really must be taken.

Dija x

Segun Garuba said...

Thanks so much Tumi, I will definitely keep you all posted. x

Black Fabulousity said...

I remember when a little girl (not up to 14) told me she hated being dark, i was totally speechless. Skin bleaching/lightening is a sensitive issue that should be addressed and tackled accordingly, not by scrutinizing, as females of all ages are battling with self love and acceptance of their skin tone.

I like the way you took on this issue, baring yourself and not condeming.

Lovely post.

Segun Garuba said...

I'm so sorry, I somehow missed seeing your comment. Thanks so much for your comment. I completely agree with your point about many women battling with self love and acceptance of their skin tone which is why they start trying to change their skin tone.

It's such a complex issue and one that needs to be addressed from many different angles to truly be able to help.

thanks again. xx

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