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Health and wellness

Whitening cream horror stories reveal the ugly side of beauty craze

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 August, 2018, 6:03am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 August, 2018, 6:02am

I am writing in response your article on skin-whitening horror stories from the streets of Bangkok, “You can look like a vampire” (August 27). Pearly white complexions highlighted in social media ads are making young women in Thailand fall for cheap creams, which claim to contain herbal ingredients but may be full of toxic mercury and can cause skin damage.

Earlier this month, I read a BBC report about how, though creams containing hydroquinone and mercury are banned from over-the-counter sales in the UK, as they can cause liver, nerve and fetal damage, the banned cosmetics were still being sold in the country.

Such a craving for whitening creams comes from social conditioning where beauty is equated with fair skin. In many Asian cultures, including in Thailand, it denotes “class and refinement”, as your article said. However, I think people should learn to accept and appreciate their original self rather than use whitening creams to change their skin tone and put their health at risk.

Also, we should not be swayed by social media influencers, and pay attention to the ingredients listed on the package. The government should also step up monitoring of such harmful beauty products and run publicity campaigns to create awareness of the risks.

Wincy Lau, Tseung Kwan O