- Monday | 17 Oct, 2016
- Mahmood A. Khwaja, S. Waqar Ali
- Research Reports,Project Publications
S. Waqar Ali and Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja
The use of mercury (3rd most hazardous chemical) in various cosmetic products, particularly for its skin whitening effects, has been in practice since the nineteenth century and such products continue to be easily accessible in open markets and are most commonly used all around the world including many developing countries. The obsession for fair skin in the subcontinent is believed to have emerged with the introduction of the cast system according to which fair complexion was considered as the domain of the upper ruling class, whereas dark complexion was associated with the lower working class. It is also suggested that the migration of Aryans who were much fairer than the local population may also have influenced the dark skinned population’s desire for fair complexion. Living under the regime of various colonial legacies for more than two centuries could have further influenced the local population to perceive white skin as a sign of power and superiority. Presently, preference for a fair skin has also been intensified by the fairness cream industries through extensive electronic & print media campaigns. The most unfortunate exaggerations in some advertisements can even reach to the extent that they project fair skin as an essential prerequisite for success in both professional and personal matters.