We have a lot of feelings when it comes to skin bleaching.
But so does television host, actress, singer and radio personality Khanyi Mbau, who is completely transparent about her choice to lighten her skin. The 32-year-old recently posted on her Instagram a side-by-side photo of her transition to let her haters know exactly what she thought about their comments stating that they liked the "old Khanyi" better.
Often accused of bleaching, Khanyi expressed in an interview that she is not bleaching her skin, but has been on a "skin lightening journey" for over five years.
"I have always being intrigued by healthy skin and the science behind aesthetics, I have been on my skin journey for over five years and thus far it has brightened my skin," Khanyi told DRUM during a live video on VOOV South Africa.
According to Khanyi, her skin lightening process is weekly and takes about 20 minutes. "The admin is real," Khanyi said of skin lightening. "It's like bleaching your hair, where when the roots become black you have to bleach the hair again," she shares.
Aware of the dangers of bleaching, Khanyi wanted to make it clear during the interview that she does not participate in such extremes. Of course, we wanted to speak to a derm about what exactly the skin bleaching process entails.
"Skin bleaching can lead to many unwanted side effects when not performed correctly," explained Dr. Carlos A. Charles of Derma di Colore in New York City. "The most commonly used agent for skin bleaching is hydroquinone. Hydroquinone works by inhibiting a key step in the formation of melanin in the pigment cells called melanocytes. When used appropriately and under the guidance of a dermatologist, this agent can be both safe and effective," he explained.
"However, several issues can arise when certain tenets are not followed. Using high concentrations of hydroquinone for extended periods of time can cause an irritant contact skin reaction, and it can also lead to paradoxical darkening of the skin. This condition, called ochronoisis, is characterized by intensely dark brown, black or slate grey patches on the skin and is very difficult to treat once they develop," he continued.
"Others agents commonly used for skin bleaching are high concentration topical steroids. Excessive use of these products can lead to excessive cystic acne and thinning of the skin manifested by permanent stretch marks. As you can see, as tempting as it is to use over the counter products for skin bleaching, all of these agents must be used with the guidance of a dermatologist," Dr. Charles cautions.
Khanyi's thoughts on those accusing her of not loving the skin she's in? "I am not shy of being Black, I am very Black but I am the free Black. The liberated and free Black. The one who, if I want to do something, I do it regardless of what people say," Khanyi said via her video interview.
We strongly believe your Black is beautiful, but aren't here to judge anyone for how they define their version of beauty. What are your thoughts on Khanyi's skin lightening journey?
(Photos from left: City Press/Gallo Images/Getty Images, Frennie Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
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