#AskBarbie: Is it okay to lighten your skin color?

By Barbie Salvador

Posted at Jun 24 2014 06:48 PM | Updated as of Jun 30 2014 06:10 AM

If you’ve been to the beach quite often the last few weeks, your skin must’ve changed to a shade or two darker. But now that the rainy season is here, should you still sport your summer tan? Or should you opt to have lighter skin?

There was a time I was rather defensive when it comes to talking about the natural Filipina color. I was born morena and growing up next to mestizas was a bit challenging because I saw first-hand how even teachers favoured those with lighter skin. While other brown-skinned girls hated their color, I embraced and loved my olive skin. And for a significant time, I hated those who yearn to lighten their beautiful brown skin. I felt responsible to protect the dignity of my fellow dark-skinned Filipinas.

But as we progress, I am beginning to think that it’s now okay to change your skin color. It’s like changing your hair color through hair dyes, or eye color by using contact lenses. Now we can opt to change our skin color. In the same way that Caucasians wish to get a tan, most Filipinas wish to lighten their skin. And to a certain extent, it is acceptable to do so; provided that we wish to change it simply to go with the season, and not because we are unhappy to be seen as a Filipina.

It is nice to know however that our notion of what is beautiful is increasingly becoming universal. Take our new beauty icons in the persons of Venus Raj, Mutya Datul and Janine Tugonon, for example. With their international success, they were able to show the world and fellow Pinays that dark skin is also beautiful.

But did you know that Ariella Arida actually has a much lighter skin? She went the other way around and got serious about tanning herself for the pageant to complement her beautifully toned and sexy body.

For those who want to end their summer tan, here are some tried and tested ways to safely lighten your skin color.

1. Papaya

For decades now, Pinays take to using papaya soap to naturally lighten their skin. An enzyme called Papain which is naturally found in papaya, breaks down the dead skin cells helping you bring out a younger lighter layer. Use papaya soap daily, and lightly exfoliate your skin with towel every after bath. Since it is natural, it is a safe choice. But make sure the brands you choose are BFAD-approved.

2. Glutathione

Glutathione is an antioxidant that helps slow down skin aging. At the same time, it also inhibits melanin synthesis, or the production of the substance that gives our skin color. It can be applied topically as a soap or lotion, or taken orally as a pill, or even injected intravenously.

A word of caution, if you are going to try this: seek approval from licensed dermatologists to make sure you are using this safely.

3. Calamansi extract

To even out your skin color, you might want to put extra attention on specific spots that are usually darker than the rest, like our knees and elbows. Simply squeeze out the juice from the fruit and apply on your knees and elbows prior to your daily shower. Expect gradual results in about two to three weeks.

4. Diamond peel

If you are sceptic about applying or taking in anything, try diamond peel or microdermabrasion. It is a pain-free cosmetic procedure wherein dead skin cells are lightly scraped off to bring out a much younger and glowing skin. Do this every two weeks and enjoy your lighter and even-colored skin.

Final note: In whichever shade you wish your skin to be, I only hope that it won’t dictate your idea of what is beautiful. I pray for the day that every Filipina can be comfortable in her own skin as that is the day one realizes her true beauty.

About the author: Filipina beauty queen, writer and media personality Barbie Salvador believes that fashion, fitness and lifestyle are vital life aspects that are not only fun and enjoyable, but are tools every Filipino needs to reach one’s peak potential.

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