A young woman appears in a TikTok video playing with the following audio: “She tells me ‘oh, she left you and stayed with me.’ And she answered: ‘yes, but I have white armpits,’” she concludes, showing her white, shaved armpit. Below, there are a lot of comments. The first says in English: “I hope I have tried everything.”
So, yes, it seems that now, in addition to the thousand aesthetic mandates of life, there is one that is… new? Well, actually, not so much. By now we know that beauty standards are capricious impositions that have been given the veneer of false objectivity and that, as an artificial construction, have a contextual character. It’s just one more anti-human torment.
Anti-human, yes, because expecting the skin, the largest organ of the body, to be free of pimples, spots, scars or hair, after a certain age, no matter how short one has lived, is an impossible undertaking or costs money.
And hair and spots sometimes go hand in hand, since skin irritation caused by recurrent hair removal is one of the causes of hyperpigmentation, which can also appear in other areas. However, it is not the only reason; Hyperpigmentation can also appear as a result of diabetes or insulin resistance. The esthetician Andrés F. Córdoba Gómez points out that dark skin is also prone to hyperpigmentation in friction areas, which can be aggravated by metabolic diseases.
Therefore, before starting any treatment, whether at home or not, it is always best to see a doctor to determine what is causing it. That’s exactly what Afro-Colombian digital content creator Cirle Tatis Arzuza, known in social media circles as Cirlepelobueno, recommends. Accompanied by dermatologist Sindy Rentería, she opened a can of worms on her Instagram profile when she decided to touch on this topic and linked it to the racist thinking that exists in her country: there are those who believe that black women darken because dirt has penetrated. the skin of her and is embedded in her.
Beyond bleach advertisements, the identification between white and clean and black with lack of hygiene has a long tradition. Take, for example, these verses from the 17th century Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo:
“They finished eating
and a Guinean minister entered,
to give them a jug of water
with a coconut and a cauldron. For a towel he brought over her shoulder.
the canvases of a funeral.
They washed and the water remained
dirty an entire kingdom.”
black wedding [Black Wedding] is the name of the poem to which the excerpt belongs; It is from the famous Spanish Golden Age. There has been a lot of water under the bridge since those days, but nevertheless, deep-rooted prejudices still persist not only associated with the armpits, but also with other parts of the body that tend to have a darker tone, such as the groin, elbows and knees, cause of the hyperpigmentation to which Dr. Córdoba alluded.
The thing is that what seemed like just another post went viral and presented an excellent opportunity for many black women who for years have not taken off their long sleeves or gone to the pool or the beach, regardless of the weather, because of shame. feel when others see their hyperpigmented armpits. In fact, Cirle herself admits that she used to wear very long extensions or braids to cover them up so they wouldn’t be noticeable in photos of her.
His video had sequels, there was a second, a third and even a fourth installment and they all worked very well online. In the last one, he revealed some of the tricks that have helped him lighten his own armpits: shaving less frequently and using scissors instead of wax or razors, reducing or eliminating the use of deodorants with aluminum and alcohol and sprays from his routines, and opt for other types of alternatives. Finally, he advised his followers to be patient because no remedy works immediately. She admits that it has taken her four years.
Dr. Córdoba regrets that social networks are altering the perception of hair, weight and skin through the use of filters that show completely unrealistic models. She points out that she prefers not to treat cases like the one at hand because, although laser treatment could be a depigmentation option, the risk of post-treatment irritation exists and there is no guarantee of achieving the desired results. In her opinion, it is better to take precautions by avoiding mechanical or chemical hair removal, as they can cause post-inflammatory pigmentation, especially in dark skin.
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