A Whiter Shade of Sosa

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There’s a heartbreaking story in today’s New York Times. It concerns the serious side effects associated with the use of certain skin-lightening creams.

Dermatologists nationwide are seeing women of Hispanic and African descent, among others, with severe side effects…from the misuse of skin-lightening creams, many with prescription-strength ingredients, which are sold in beauty shops and bodegas and online.

I don’t understand — and I don’t want to judge, either — the motivation of anyone using these product. I’m not free from behavior that it’s not in my best interest. Usually the perceived benefits outweigh the possible “severe side effects.” It doesn’t seem that different to me than folks lying on a tanning bed or a sunny beach to alter their appearance at the risk of skin cancer. To each his/her own.

We’re all searching for acceptance and love. And some find it easier to be honest about the reasons for using the creams. From the same NY Times article:

For years, Allison Ross rubbed in skin-lightening creams with names like Hyprogel and Fair & White. She said she wanted to even out and brighten the tone of her face, neck and hands. Mrs. Ross, 45, who lives in Brooklyn, also said that she used the lightening creams “to be more accepted in society.”

Honesty that deserves respect — and empathy.

Others appear to be struggling with the truth, not to mention word definitions and their self-esteem. Damn, that sounds like a judgment, doesn’t it?

Sammy Sosa, the former baseball slugger…said a cream to “soften” his skin had bleached it, too. “I’m not a racist,” he said in the interview. “I live my life happily.”

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=sammy+sosa&iid=4780698″ src=”e/3/a/6/People_En_Espanols_da3b.jpg?adImageId=9099859&imageId=4780698″ width=”234″ height=”310″ /]

Before

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=sammy+sosa&iid=7054123″ src=”d/3/6/8/2009_Person_Of_f81e.jpg?adImageId=9099932&imageId=7054123″ width=”234″ height=”314″ /]

and after. May to November metamorphosis.

What would you change about yourself if you had the means? I could think of a couple of things…

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