AAAM Board Certified Consultant Cosmetic Dermatologist, Sri Lanka.
Title: The South- Asian Perspectives on Skin Colour and its Influence on Females
Dr. Lakmali Pathiraja is an eminent consultant dermatologist with special interests in aesthetic medicine,trichology and cosmetic procedures . She holds the unique honor of being the first AAAM (American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine) qualified consultant dermatologist in Sri Lanka. She has obtained her MD from the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and holds the distinction for winning the Award for the Best Performance at the MD. She has done a vast amount of research and is a popular guest speaker at both local and international conferences, symposia, and been the recipient of numerous international awards that exemplifies her academic stature and clinical finesse in dermatology. Currently, her clinical commitments include managing many patients and providing clinical training to doctors, whilst earnestly pursuing her especial clinical interests, and research for the advancement of dermatology.
“Beauty is proportionate or equivalent to the fairness of the skin” is an ancient adage in South-Asian countries. Light skin is preferred, appreciated, and much sought after, whilst dark skin in females is considered unattractive and negatively discriminated from birth to death. Colour of the skin adversely affects educational performance, social acceptance, career prospects, limits chances of marriage, and negatively impacts many other social and personal relationships in the lives of females. There are a large and considerable number of reported incidents wherein dark complexion has led to being bullied, depression and even lead to committing suicide. In this context, skin whitening products have a long history of use for over centuries in South- Asian countries and have now been even more enhanced with modern technology and made popular through high powered advertising via print, electronic and social media. These products contribute to a large proportion of financial gain to the pharmaceutical industry. However, inadequate knowledge, inferior quality of products and their rampant misuse and inability to deliver the brand promise have led to profound side effects, which are sadly irreversible in most cases.