fairness cream
Most fairness creams are packed with steroids. [Representational image]Creative Commons.

It's funny how we like to think that as a race, we have advanced in terms of beauty standards and acceptance within the society, yet there are still places where not being fair-skinned is looked down upon as a cardinal sin.

Discrimination on the basis of complexion is rampant in several parts on the planet, and that is where fairness creams jump in to establish their prominence. And while there's absolutely no need to treat them like the gospel, maybe the fact that these creams come loaded with steroids finally make them obsolete.

Dermatologists have finally revealed that misuse of topical fairness creams that are packed with steroids can actually give one fungal infection, and also make them resistant to anti-fungal treatments.

The conclusion was reached after more and more patients started seeking medical help due to rashes and skin-outbreaks that turned out to be clear signs of steroid-related side effects. This was followed by the Union Health Ministry of India restricting all fairness creams which contained steroids as components.

Dr. Rohit Batra, a dermatologist from New Delhi, India told Asian News International (ANI) agency: "There are some ointments and fairness creams sold in the market that have huge content of steroid. These products are easily available over-the-counter without any prescription. So, in case of any skin problem, it is essential to consult dermatologists having MD, Diploma and DNB qualifications."

face cream
Opt for natural de-tan remedies instead of drugstore fairness creams. [Representational image]Creative Commons.

Skincare specialists believe that these topical steroids and their combination products should be sold as 'prescription only', or what are classified as 'Schedule H' drugs.

Dr. Ramesh Bhat, president of the Indian Association of Dermatologists Venereologists & Leprologists (IADVL), which is the world's second largest Association of Dermatologists and India's largest official body of Dermatologists explained how these creams are harming the skin.

He told ANI: "Owing to several reasons like global warming, environmental changes and use of non-prescribed anti-fungal creams, there is a rapid increase in skin diseases. Since skin is the largest organ in our body, utmost care should be taken about it. Abuse and misuse of topical steroid creams are creating great problems."

Also, a research paper published in the BMJ journal, Shyam B Verma, a consultant dermatologist based in Gujarat, India, said, "The widespread misuse of skin creams and lotions that contain steroids in India is harmful and out of control."

It is safe to say that it's high time that all of these 'un'fairness creams should be bidden a firm goodbye. Still, if one wants to look a certain way and achieve a lighter complexion, what they could do is opt for one of the multiple natural de-tan products.

face packs
There are several natural remedies for de-tanning your skin. [Representational image]Creative Commons.

Here's a short list to choose from:

1. Squeeze a few fresh tomatoes and apply it as a pack. Let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing it off. Do it twice a week!

2. Mix some aloe vera gel with lemon juice and apply it as a pack. Let it sit for 15 minutes and clean it off with a wet cotton ball.

3. Mix some fresh yogurt with lemon juice. Apply the pack and let it sit for 30 minutes. Works best if you do it on a daily basis, right before a shower.

4. Blend some cucumber and add fresh milk to it. Apply the pack, letting it sit for 20 minutes. Do it regularly for best outcomes.

5. Blend some potato and add a little lemon juice to it. The pack needs to sit for 20 minutes. Do it daily, and voila!