In western countries like the UK and US, tanning lotions and sunbeds are big business, but in the Middle East, the reverse trend is taking hold. Increasingly, women across the region are reaching for skin whitening products in a bid to enhance their beauty.
Many of those who are keen to make their skin paler may be emulating the looks of contemporary superstars like the Lebanese singers Haifa Wehbe and Nancy Ajram, who have a distinctly European look.
However, according to at least one expert, the desire to achieve paler skin is not an entirely new phenomenon in the region. Speaking to The Christian Science Monitor, feminist scholar Sonia Nimr from Bir Zeit University said: “For centuries there’s been an image that if you’re pale or whiter, it means you’re a lady.” She also suggested that the message can be found in old Arabic poetry and it even dates back to pre-Islamic times.
These days, it’s easy for eager consumers to get their hands on the skin whitening serum of their choice. A number of these products are available over the counter, and beauty salons also offer special treatments.
Of course, the use of skin whitening serums is not restricted to the Middle East. Lots of people around the world turn to these products for a variety of reasons, the main being to even out skin tone which is prone to discoloration or problems. In some cases, the treatments are intended to minimize the appearance of skin blemishes such as large freckles and acne scars.
In addition, the treatments can be sought out by sufferers of hyperpigmentation. This is an unusual darkening of patches of the skin that occurs when the body produces too much melanin. Liver spots are a form of hyperpigmentation and they are a sign of sun damage.
Beauty products of all kinds are big sellers in many countries around the world, so it is no surprise that consumers are turning to serums to help them change the tone of their skin. The precise type of treatments that people seek out depends on a range of factors. In many cases, consumers opt for mild products that can easily be picked up in shops or online. However, sometimes more powerful lighteners may be required and, to access these, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of dermatologists before trying out the stronger variations.