I have often wondered how you walk in with someone similarly clothed and groomed, yet people discriminate in their reactions even without you uttering a word. What makes the difference? Someone once said, “It is the glow of the skin”.

Azima summoned up courage and walked up to her Unit Manager during her lunch break, she had always admired Mrs. Tita Polycarp for her elegance, poise, comportment, and most of all – her glowing chocolate-coloured skin. Today, she decided to engage her in a conversation about the secret to her smooth even toned glowing skin. Azima had struggled for years with uneven skin tone and often wondered what she could do. She had considered the use of bleaching creams but remembered with pain that her mother had passed as a result of skin cancer that was precipitated by bleaching. As she asked if she could engage her at that time, she quickly blurted out “Mummy P, I can’t help admiring the glow to your skin and felt I can learn a thing or two from you, on how to improve my skin tone”.

Mummy P smiled and waved her to a seat. She then pointedly asked Azima, “What is your skincare routine”?

A clearly perplexed Azima responded with “Ma, I don’t understand the question. I bathe with soap morning and night, cream my body, and apply some make-up. That is all there is to it. Should it be different”?

In response, Mummy P explained “Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin and accepting who you are. By the way, that is a quote from Ellen DeGeneres. Mind you, the skin is the largest organ of the body and the one that is most visible, thereby influencing first impressions. It, therefore, requires needed attention to present it in the best applicable light. You should therefore develop a daily skincare routine using products that work with your skin. To bring out the best in your skin, you must do a minimum of five steps in caring for the skin, in addition to eating a balanced diet that enhances your overall well-being.  using a Cleanser, Toner, Hydrating Serum, Moisturiser and Sun Protection Factor (SPF) protection also referred to as Sunscreen. I realised that once I started the 5-step regimen described, my skin tone evened out and resulted in the skin that elicits your admiration today. Try it and you will savour the results.

Azima thanked mummy P for the information but had two areas that needed clarity. “Please ma, I have two questions stemming from your advice.

  1. I had always assumed that skin toning is a refined terminology for bleaching. Is there a difference and if yes, what is the difference?
  2. I always assumed also that Sunscreen is meant for fair/light-skinned persons who desire to suntan. Why do dark-skinned persons need it since our skin can better accommodate the sun and it is often said that we need the sun to produce vitamin D in our bodies”?

Mummy P highlighted the difference between skin toning and bleaching as follows: – “Skin toning helps clear dark spots and tackles skin discolouration and uneven pigmentation. It is a part of skincare and does not alter the natural colour of the skin. Bleaching, on the other hand, is the process of whitening or brightening the skin with chemicals. Bleaching predisposes the skin to cancer”.

She continued “While Vitamin D is released by the body when it receives ultraviolet rays from the sun, and forms a necessary requirement for us all, over-exposure to the ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun can have damaging effects by accelerating ageing, causing skin eruptions and in extreme cases, causing cancer. It is however true that dark skin requires greater exposure to the sun to enable the required access to generate Vitamin D, however, overexposure can cause sunburn and may result in cancer. It is therefore important to modulate exposure to the sun’s rays by staying in the shade and wearing protective clothing as well as wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses. Where exposure cannot be helped, a broad-spectrum sunscreen is advised with an SPF of 30 or above. It should be noted that the sunscreen should be applied liberally and evenly at least 30 minutes before venturing into the outdoors and reapplied after 2-3 hours”.

Azima thanked Mummy P and promised to put the advice to work with a promise of feedback after six months trial.




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