I had come across this advertisement several weeks ago. I tried to let it go, but it really riled me up. As a result, this post is part rant, part science, so bear with me!
Sometime in April an ad came out in India promoting Midas Care Clean and Dry Intimate Wash. You can watch the ad here.
It really shouldn’t surprise me that to this day such an ad can be thought of and executed, but it does, and it angers me. From India to Egypt to the USA, women have achieved a lot; we’ve become doctors, writers, actresses, we’ve gone to space, and we’ve won Nobel prizes!
But to this day, you will find people that have the kind of mentality that will execute such an advertisement. It is one thing for a women to feel bothered by a certain skin condition and want to have it fixed, but it’s a completely different thing when that skin condition is used as an excuse to make her feel any less beautiful, or treat her as if all her life achievements are moot because of that skin condition. You don’t see similar products for men, do you? No, you don’t.
If men get to be okay with their skin, then, as women, so do we! And if a woman does decide she wants to change anything about her appearance, it should be because she feels like it, not, as this ad suggests, because her relationship depends on it.
According to many articles that were written in response to this ad, and I tend to agree, this is just another in a long line of campaigns geared towards skin lightening. When will this obsession with whiter and fairer end? There is a long history behind it, of course, but isn’t it time we advance our minds in that regard? It amazes me that with all the knowledge and science we have today, we still find people thinking in terms of color. The ad even used a very “light” colored couple, which doesn’t really represent the wider demographic in India. This is not a campaign meant for women to relate to; it is a campaign meant to make women feel less desirable because of their skin color and reinforce the ill-conceived idea that “whiter is cleaner.”
Now, I was hoping after letting off steam to look up the list of ingredients in the Clean and Dry Intimate Wash to see if it even lives up to its promise, but that list is impossible to find online, which makes me quite wary of this product. If anyone is able to get their hands on it, we’d love a list of ingredients or simply a picture of the back of the package where the list is! That way we can always add an update to this post with a breakdown of the ingredients later on. However, at this point, I think it would be safe to say that in terms of achieving any kind of fairness, this product will most likely not deliver.
Now, the interesting part is, Midas care did contact the media to state that the product is intended to clean rather than lighten. Of course, saying that in one or two articles that will be read by a very limited number of people, after securing the market for fairness seekers with an ad that was aired in prime time TV for millions to view, is very clever of Midas Care.
In any case, I would advise caution when using ANY product that promises fairness in the genital area. The skin in this area is sensitive, and, added to that, the friction and closeness of thighs to each other causes more absorption of products which makes these products more likely to be irritating. Dark skin can be a result of friction, infection or insulin resistance seen in obesity. It is best to visit your dermatologist for proper diagnosis and management.
Update Oct 14, 2012: Thank you Suhan, one of our readers, for providing a list of ingredients:
Aqua, sodium lauryl ether sulphate, coco amidopropyl betaine, glycerin, fragrance, triethanolamine, aloe vera gel, carbopol, niacinamide,menthol,EDTA,methylchloroisothiazolinone, methyl isothiozolinone.
From the looks of things, these ingredients are commonly found in many intimate washes, though I would be wary of a few that might not be a good idea to use in sensitive areas, especially the last two ingredients, as well as cocoamidopropyl betaine, which was named Allergen of the Year in 2004. As for the whitening claims, niacinamide seems to be the only ingredient that would work towards that goal, but as its position in the list suggests, its concentration might not be high enough, so I have my doubts that any whitening can be achieved. The menthol and fragrance might provide that “freshness” feel.
I would love to hear the thoughts of those who have tried this product out.
Thanks for reading! Remember, stop by my blog (elbashra.com) or tell your friends if interested in reading about skin care in Arabic!
Sources (they make for a good read too!)
YA. Blay. Skin Bleaching and Global White Supremacy: By Way of Introduction. The Journal of Pan African Studies 2011; 4 (4): 4-46.
R. Parameswaran, K. Cardoza. Melanin on the Margins: Advertising and the Cultural Politics of Fair/Light/White Beauty in India. Journalism and Communication Monographs 2009; 11: 213-74.