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Discussion Starter #1
I know a lot of people want lighter skin, for whatever reasons, and just like nobody ever questions why white people tan, I feel the same respect should be given to those of us who want to be lighter for our own personal reasons. So I am not going to explain why I have lightened my skin, but only that I am very happy with the results. I just hope I am not attacked here because of it, as I have seen this reaction from many people who do not believe in skin remodeling, plastic surgery or drastically changing the way you look.

I asked my dermatologist what would be the most effective way to do this, and she said that Hydroquinone 4% is very safe to use to lighten the skin, and it is only people who abuse it who get bad results that are reported on in the news and then scares everybody. She also told me that she recommends alternating the Hydroquinone 4% with Retin-A 0.1%, as she finds Retin-A 0.1% to be the most effective and dependable agent for skin exfoliation. In addition, she told me if I used Retin-A 0.1% whatever wrinkles I have would be greatly diminished due to the exfoliation process and the fact that Retin-A also stimulated new collagen formation. So with her blessing, I decided to try this formula of alternating with Hydroquinone 4% one day and Retin-A 0.1% the other.

I am a college student and I could not afford to get these items through her because I did my WHOLE body, not just my face and arms, because this is a big mistake many women make when they lighten up, they don't do the whole body which means you can't wear a bikini by the pool or shorts. So I did an internet search and found a seller that sells each of these products for $15.00 a tube. I have seen other people here get in trouble for giving direct links to sellers as this site considers that "advertising" which is not allowed, so to follow the rules here I won't post that info publicly. This was the cheapest price I could find for them so I gave it a try. Now I will describe what happened after I used them.

First off, please be prepared for an incredible amount of flaking from the Retin-A, I was truly shocked at this! My skin did not hurt, but the peeling effect was like getting a bad sunburn but without the pain. My skin did become a bit tender, but it was not anything too bad. Now I know why my dermatologist wanted me to use Retin-A with the Hydroquinone -it peels off all your old skin so the Hydroquinone can penetrate deeper to lighten your skin cells and prevent future dark skin. Once I got used to the peeling and slight redness I continued this routine. The first time I really noticed a difference was after one month. My friends thought I had switched to a lighter foundation..lol..but it was my new lighter skin. After four months, I was definitely much lighter, and people started asking me if I was Latin, although I am African-American. I continued with this regime for a year, and now I am finally at the color I want, which is the color of Mariah Carey. My original color resembled that of singer Lauryn Hill, and now it looks like Mariah Carey's color.

However, I do want to emphasize this took me a year total to do, and I now have to wear the highest SPF suncreen I can buy to avoid any darkening and regressing. But it is really worth it, because my dating life has never been better, and I feel much more confident and attractive now that my exterior color is what I want it to be. If any of you all need any help and advice on this, please feel free to message me, because I believe we all should look the way we want to look, and not be limited by our genes, our heredity or the judgmental opinions of others.
 

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Its such a shame that so many dark skinned women, like yourself, feel inferior to those with white skin. Racism is such a magnificently effective system for controlling the human psyche! You may now believe that you are more beautiful with your 'bleached out' skin but your actions are so damaging, not only to yourself (mentally and physically), but to the self esteem of so many other (especially young) non- white people.
However, while i find the misuse/abuse of skin bleaching techniques abhorent, as a qualified skin therapist, i believe they can be useful for treating hyper-pigmentation when applied to affected areas only.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Dragonlilly,

First of all, I love your picture, you are so beautiful! You remind me of that gorgeous singer Irena Cara, who sang "What a feeling" from Flashdance. As for Lauryn & Mariah, I think both women are beautiful and incredibly talented -no doubt about that. They are both equally gorgeous women, but I was only speaking of skin color, not their general beauty. I love both women and their music!

MTL,

I guess you didn't read the beginning of my post where I stated I was hoping not to be attacked or insulted for my choice -thank you for ignoring that and doing that anyways. I am an educated black woman, and my parent's raised me right, and instilled in me a sense of pride and self-love so that nobody could ever step on me -and if they did step on me, I would take their leg off getting back up! I went to a highly regarded Medical Doctor for advice on doing this (not a "skin therapist", which does not require a medical license nor years of medical school training nor can prescribe medications -with all due respect), and they stated this was fine and perfectly safe if Done Properly -anything can harm you if you don't do it properly. So please save the insults that as a black woman I felt so inferior about my skin color I had to "bleach" it. I don't know if you are also black, but if your not, you have no business telling me about how I feel as a black person. We black women have been getting that "you feel inferior to white women" insult for years anytime we try to beautify ourselves beyond slathering Cocoa Butter on our skins. For your information, women not only in Africa but in other parts of the world have been lightening their skin for aesthetic reasons way before the white man ever showed up on their countries doorstep. Now hold on to your judgmental horses, but guess what? In Africa, way before the white man showed up to enslave us and brings us back to America to pick cotton, both the men and women had a history of lightening their skin with herbal compounds, lightening, curling and straightening their hair with herbs and minerals, and wearing tons of makeup made out of clays, herbs, and insects with high color pigments, which were ground up and used on both the skin and hair. In Japan and other Asian countries, way before the white man showed up, their is a long history of white skin being considered the "aesthetic ideal", and this tradition continues today. Japanese women to this day still apply the nightingale droppings (yes, bird poop that has been sterilized) to their faces because it bleaches the skin. This is why the Geisha wears white makeup -she is the ideal of Japanese beauty, and she was this way BEFORE the white man ever showed up. So, are you now going to tell me that Japanese women also felt inferior to something? Since they were this way before the white man showed up, what were they feeling inferior to? A ghost? lol...

We black women (or dark skinned women of any race) are tired of getting this racist attitude that everything we do is because we feel inferior and want to be white -this in itself is very racist in case you haven't noticed. I bet you would never go up to white people tanning on the beach and say "Why do you white people feel so inferior to black people you feel the need to darken your skin by tanning?!" YET, you have the nerve to say to me here "you feel inferior" and that is why I lightened my skin -just who do you think you are by insulting me like this? I lightened my skin for purely aesthetic reasons, just like millions of black women straighten and color their hair for purely aesthetic reasons. Most of us ladies change our appearance before we head out the door every day, by coloring, curling or straightening our hair, using tons of hair products, skin products, makeup, and fashion accessories. We don't do this because we feel inferior, we do it because we all have our own ideals of beauty and ways to achieve it.

I normally wouldn't answer an ignorant post like yours, but this time, I felt it was time a black woman educated you on popular misconceptions white people have about why we do things the way we do. And I apologize to everyone else who has been respectful of my original post for this rant. Have a great day everyone.
 

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DL - I vote for Lauryn too!

These are chemicals, not cosmetics, which could prove to be damaging over the long run. They are intended to minimize the scarring from acne and other skin problems, not to change the color of one's skin. Even if the doctor says they are "safe", that is based on what we know today. Things that were thought to be safe in the past are now being called harmful and people are suffering the consequences.

This is a discussion board - and people are invited and encouraged to express their opinion. This is mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Mireckca,

You are incorrect that these chemicals were not meant to change the color of skin. When people lighten liver spots, they are changing the color of their skin, which is what the chemical was intended to do, same goes for people who use it for Vitiligo like Michael Jackson to lighten all over.

Our world is full of chemicals, and simply to assume they are all damaging is incredibly ignorant. And to say if doctors say something is safe today, may not mean it will be safe tomorrow, is like living in a fantasy world. We might as well all live in a bubble and not do anything because it might hurt us. Crossing the street might kill you. So can swimming. Does this mean we stop crossing the street or swimming? I don't think so!

This thread was not created so that I would have to defend what I did. It was created for other people like myself to share their thoughts and ideas on skin lightening. I very respectfully asked that people not attack me for this and it seems nobody is respecting that. Yes, this is a discussion board, however, this THREAD was not meant to discuss the pro's and con's of skin lightening, but was meant for people who wanted to lighten their skin to discuss the ways of doing it. So please do not continue posting on this thread if all you are going to do is attack me or question me for lightening my skin. Show some respect, and if you really want to discuss THAT, then go start your darn thread. Thank you.
 

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Dear La Donna. I too am using a similar method & I am getting good results. I was not as dark as Lauren hill but a touch darker than Whitney Houston. I am in the mid point of my 4th week of treatment & I am happy with the results. I am using the 4% HQ & 10% glycolic acid cream and Avon Anew Regenerating peeling pads. I had heard about the resultd from the tretinoin but I was not able to locate a source where I could get it at a reasonable price. I am going to PM you to get the info.

When I wrote a thread about how there was a difference in how some people were treating me, I received some flak too. Please do not get offended or take it personally. Skin lightening is a sensitive topic with many social/cultural implications for people. I chose to explain my viewpoint & people were pleasantly receptive although we might not always agree. I do not think I want to go as light as Mariah Carey; with my features, I'd look completely Caucasian & I do not want to do that. This is not an indictment against those who may want to 'change races'; it is up to each person to decide what they want to look like. So long as the individual is comfortable with their reasons & is not someone suffering from a mental illness that is skewing their ability to make sound choices, who am I to tell them what they should or should not be doing?

In my case, the decidedly brown skin was beautiful in & of itself & many people complimented me on it. I have a large % of Native Canadian ancestry & it lent an distinctive hue to my colouring. That being said, I also inherited completely French facial features from my French ancestors (my mother is a metis French/Mi'qmak woman from Nova Scotia). Mt small features & very thin nose disappeared on my face. The colour does not 'work' with my features. French people would say that I look like a French girl who lay out in the sun too long. Black people think I am from India (as do people from India). On my father's side, I AM part Indian from India too but, ironically, I do not look like those relatives at all.

I have gone from using Maybeline Dream Matte Mousse in dark 2 to using dark 0 in 3 1/2 weeks flat! I am hoping to have that deep golden Hispanic tan colour (similar to Salma Hayek) Yes...I know her ancestry id Arabic; not Mexican but whatever it may be, she is a stunning colour. Please share more about your experiences & the stages of change you went through. thank you for sharing your experience & welcome to the forum!
 

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I am a college student and I could not afford to get these items through her because I did my WHOLE body
This is a discussion board and everyone is entitled to their opinion. And you are going to get opinions both ways and not everyone is going to agree with you. When a young person wants to change the color of their whole body, and not just correct uneven patches on their face or whatever, well that just doesn't sound right to me. As I said, these are chemicals not cosmetics - and this is a fact and not an opinion. All the best to you. I'll stay out of this thread now.
 

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LaDonna, WoW, my comments obviously hit a raw nerve to evoke such a rant! You feel offended...this was not my intention. In hindsight, maybe my political views on your skin bleaching activities were surplus to requirements. However, as an 'educated woman' i'm sure you can grasp the concept that various viewpoints are required to create a forum! Also, in order for people to be able to make informed choices/decisions about procedures they may be considering, they need to be aware of the pros and the cons.
I am well aware of the varying ideologies surrounding the concept of beauty across different cultures, and of the historical contexts within which these ideologies were developed (my dissertation subject area when reading for my degree). I am also familiar with the history of cosmetics, its usage and the reasons behind its usage cross-culturally. So please don't presume i'm ignorant to that subject matter!
The preparations you are using to bleach out your skin colour are not cosmetics... They are pharmaceuticals/chemicals.
The way in which you have been advised to use them has been considered as highly unsafe by professionals in many countries.
The fact is, if you continue to misuse these chemicals as you are doing, you run the risk of seriously damaging your skin. your skins ability to perform its primary functions of protection and defense will be seriously impaired.
However LaDonna, if your pursuit of whiter skin and more dates (?!) is more important to you than maintaining a healthy skin, theres nothing more for me to say to you!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi Ondine,

Thank you for your very lovely welcome to this forum, I do appreciate it! I will make sure and private you if you want to share info.

I thank everyone for their opinions here, but I am not going to respond anymore to criticism or defend my position on skin lightening -I did not come here to do that so please excuse me for my long winded responses. I broke my own rule by doing that, as I had intended on simply discussing what I am doing and how I am doing it, and not defending why I am doing it. So if you want to criticize me go ahead, but I will no longer respond.

If anyone needs help with this but is afraid to ask publicly here due to the criticism, please feel free to send me a private message. Have a great day all!
 

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The replies you called long-winded were an interesting read. Those who find them too long need only scroll by. Please continue to share your knowledge for the benefit of others here.
 

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the tretinoin is Retin-A. It speeds exfoliation so you might get some flaking. The same thing happens to many people following a microdermabrasion treatment. Your skin doesn't literally flake off of your body like skinning a fish! It is the results of faster dead skin-cell turn-over. Anyone who gets redness, irritation & rash-like flaking is just sensitive to the product & must not use it. As with anything from water to pollen, someone out there is having a terrible reaction to it. People need to exercise common sense! This is where the damage gets done: people try a product (or abuse it), get a bad reaction to it & then KEEP USING IT! Anything that irritates my skin in the least, I discontinue using it immediately. It is a good rule that has served me well & I have the healthy skin to prove it.
 

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LaDonna, as with anything in life, although this is the skin-lightening forum, you will find those who criticize your choices. Please ignore them and continue to post. I enjoyed reading your experiences because each of us has individual reactions to various methods used to achieve our individual goals. Your experience may serve to help someone else contemplating the same goal. Myself, I tried Lucederm but had no results. I am now on week one of monobenzone and have already begun to see results. I am well aware of the risks involved, but made this choice for myself because I am the only one who has to live my life. Stay strong.
 

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khari1157, are you certain that you are truly aware of the risks of what you are doing? Monobenzone (sold as a cream named Benoquin: the one Jackson uses) is designed for people with extremely severe vitiligo; not for overall skin lightening. My older brother has vitiligo that has givne him white patches on his face, neck and hands. Even his case is not severe enough for this cream: he uses Dermablend to even his colour when he is going out. I know someone who did what you are doing. She used Ambi for a while but was disappointed with the minimal results. She began using Monoenzone. Like yourself, she had 'results' at first but then, she began getting these really weird unsightly white blotches that looked like large freckles. to make matters worse, the effect was permanent. she had to stop using the product as, she found out, it would NOT lead to even depigmentation, but to more overall blotching then rashes & liver/kidney damage. Please reconsider while your skin is still salvageable. Try my method or La Donna's (after giving your system some time to adjust from the monobenzone.

I am not trying to discourage you from lightening your skin for whatever reasons you desire, but from suffering the consequences of abusing this product. Unlike with other methods, EVERYONE who tries to use this product for all over lightening gets a similar terrible result after initial encouraging progress. I have suffered no damage whatsoever and my 4th week of treatment will end tomorrow. I just do not want to hear from you in a few weeks that you have done irreparable damage. Please. please STOP while you still can.
 

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Thank you for the concern, Ondine. I am a registered nurse and am very cognizant of the ramifications of using monobenzone. I suffer from what is commonly called "pinto spots" on my body (luckily it is under my clothing) and was offered this option by my physician. Due to the prescriptive cost and my desire to try something less drastic, I chose to try other methods. I did, they did not work, so now I am using what was originally offered (at a much less expensive rate). I am not sure if you are aware, but monobenzone is a derivative of HQ.

Please remember that each of us has our own burden to bear and not everyone may chose to disclose the reason for their choices.

Peace to all.
 

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You are correct about diclosure and personal choice. I merely was expressing concern for your skin; not demanding you disclose the reasons behind your personal choices. I have seen those spots to which you refer and I know Mono is one of the creams prescribed for those who have them. I am aware that HQ and mono share chemical similarities but that the 4% is much less strong and does not prermanemtly depigment in most cases: results will require a maintenance programme. The idea of permanent, irreversible complete depigmentation scares me. The white tint that is achieved is not a natural one.
 

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Once again, thank you for your concern my friend. This has not been an easy choice.

How is your progress going? Have not had a recent update.
 

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Thanks for asking, Khari1157 . I just posted my update in the I've Found Something That is Working For Me thread. How is yours coming along?

LaDonna: does your dermatologist believe that a dark person can depigment to a natural looking very light shade safely? As I have said, this is not my goal; I'm aiming for a golden brown shade, but I know that many people out there would like to do so.
 

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ladonna and those concerned:

Do it the right way! L'MAJ Beverly Hills has pills for people who just want to maintain even tone complexion and maintain it, and also have creams for those who want to permanently lighten their skin. If you want a permanent skin lighten they will help you acheive it by giving you a consultant to work with you. I used to take their pills until I finally decided to go permanently 4 shades lighter than my regular shade. But it very expensive. Lil' Kim, Rehinna, Tyra fake *** banks, and Bleachyonce are all clinetele. I'm not trying to sell anything. I'm gina michels and have opeing talked about my L'maj experience online. But this new discovery got me going crazy that I can't shut my mouth. Good bye to bleaching creams and definitely so long to pills. If you want permanent skin tone call them up. They don't sell the permanent skin lighten cream on their web site but you can call them up and ask for it. You have to be a member of the club. Yes a club. This is no BS. check it out yourself! the company's name is L'maj Beverly Hills. Google it.
 
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